Shame! And Masculinity

A book publication edited by Ernst van Alphen for the occasion of the programme SHAME! Exploring Masculinities

New Publication due on 23 October 2020

Shame! and Masculinity addresses the complexity and contradictions of male identities from both a male as female perspective. With provocative artists’ contributions, personal stories, historic and academic perspectives, short stories it is highly topical in these times of identity politics, and counterbalancing the effects of ‘toxic’ masculinity.


Since the MeToo movement, masculine exercise of power, and sexual abuse have been widely brought under close scrutiny. The focus on ‘toxic’ masculinity impacts our perception of male sexuality, which substantially influences the self-image and self-esteem of men. Men are being shamed by others for their transgressive and contemptuous attitudes; and they feel intrinsically ashamed of their own wrong-doings or of the virulent patterns and traditions of Western manhood. This book explores both positions. It looks at the representation of male sexuality, nudity, fatherhood, male violence, rape, fascism and virility, men and war. It shows works of art that deal with the intricacies and contradictions of these socio-cultural constructs and realities. Shame! and Masculinity is hybrid in terms of genre, combining scholarly essays with short stories, personal testimonies, and provocative and intimate artist’s contributions. It stimulates reflection on shame in collusion with masculinity, from male as well as female perspectives. Thus it encourages us to reimagine these issues that simultaneously play a role in society, in our own experience, in history, and in our own bodies and being.

Editor: Ernst van Alphen
Contributors: Ernst van Alphen, Lorenzo Benadusi, Jeannette Christensen, Marlene Dumas, Adeola Enigbokan, Tijs Goldschmidt, Arnoud Holleman, Hans Hovy, Natasja Kensmil, Wahbie Long, Nalini Malani, Maaike Meijer, Philip Miller, Andrea Petö, Lotte Schröder, Artur Żmijewski, Ina van Zyl

Design: Lotte Lara Schröder
Publisher: Valiz with H401 | paperback | 208 pp.| 23,5 x 17 cm (h x w) | English | ISBN 978-94-92095-92-3 | € 25,00

H401 will organize and host an exhibition ‘Shame!: Exploring Masculinities’, curated by Ernst van Alphen, and will organize workshops and other events, from 23 October 2020 to 31 January 2021.

Keywords: Masculinity, Sexuality, Nudity, Hubris, Power, Agression, Intimacy, Art and Imagination

This is the second volume in the PLURAL series. The PLURAL series focuses on how the intersections between identity, power, representation and emancipation play out in the arts and in cultural practices. The volumes in this series aim to do justice to the plurality of voices, experiences and perspectives in society and in the arts and to address the history and present and future meaning of these positions and their interrelations. PLURAL brings together new and critical insights from cultural and social researchers, theorists, artists, arts professionals and activists. Feminist Art Activisms and Artivisms (Valiz, 2020) is the first book in the PLURAL series.