Initially, when considering the subject of hegemonic male embodiment, I anticipated discussing how normative and idealized standards of the masculine body—much like that of the feminine body—limit what is acceptable or normal presentations of the body and compel men to, for the most part, adhere to these standards; that is, I thought our discussion would largely center around how men, like women face pressure to conform to restrictive corporeal standards, and that these standards would basically focus on the presentation of the body.
In this way, I was pleasingly surprised to read Hamington’s piece and felt that his assertions are relevant beyond the scope of male embodiment. I agree with Hamington that societal norms have mostly prescribed mothers with the duty, or perhaps privilege, of demonstrating care towards their children, especially through the bodily means and touch. Moreover, I agree that touch is a powerful means of communicating care and one from which fathers are often precluded. From my own experiences with my father, I have experienced the power of love and care conveyed through touch and feeling. Although I am not able to spend much time with him, his uninhibited and spontaneous hugs and kisses on-the-cheek communicate unmatched feelings of care and love.
More broadly, I feel that Hamington’s position toward the capacity of touch can be extended to all relationships and helped me recognize the importance of touch in my own life. Specifically, I found the author’s associations between corporeal interaction and empathy to be especially compelling. Like Hamington, I feel that although we can never occupy another’s body or comprehensively understand another’s experience, touch provides us with an “inkling” of the other’s experience. For me, this phenomenon is very real, although almost beyond verbal expression. For instance, I work as a waitress at a restaurant with an exclusively female serving staff. I have recognized that I have the tendency to pat a shoulder or grasp a hand when one of the girls discloses a personal problem—however trivial it may be. I find that this physical contact elicits a sort of empathetic understanding and also feminine collectiveness that I find incomparably uplifting and comforting.