Original Research

Tender like marrow: A gender-based reading of Boom van my lewe [Tree of my life] and Ad hominem

Louisemarié Combrink
Literator | Vol 33, No 1 | a24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v33i1.24 | © 2012 Louisemarié Combrink | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 July 2012 | Published: 13 November 2012

About the author(s)

Louisemarié Combrink, School of Communication Studies, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa


This article presents a reading of two artist’s books by male artists who participated in the practice-based research project Transgressions and boundaries of the page. The selected artists specifically address the notion of masculine vulnerability and injury, and in the process, they utilise a number of signifying strategies conventionally associated with masculine as well as feminine gender divisions. Schutte’s Boom van my lewe [Tree of my life] and Strydom and Burger’s Ad hominem were investigated. I argue that the use of media with a conventional feminine character together with themes associated with both masculine and feminine aspects assisted towards expressing the experience of masculine vulnerability and injury in such a manner that an unusual masculine subject position was suggested. This subject position offered a more nuanced view of masculinity that departs from masculinities proposed in discourses of conventional (heteronormative) or even so-called ‘new’ or alternative masculinities (transgender, homosexual and the like).


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