What is 'masculinity?' The title of a recent book on the subject, The Darker Continent, l suggests it may pose even more mysteries than the enigma of femininity immortalized by Freud as 'the dark continent'. Discussions of masculinity, which had begun to appear by the early 1980s, were written largely in reponse to issues raised by Laura Mulvey's 'Visual Pleasure' article. Committed to exploring these issues, Screen provided a forum for debates about masculinity: two of these pioneering articles appear in this part. A number of important issues were central to these early discussions: the conditions under which the male body could be eroticized and presented as an object of the voyeuristic female gaze; the male body as erotic object of another male gaze; male masochism; the male body as signifier of the phallus; the relationship between the representation of images of men and discourses of sexism and racism. The following two chapters explore all of these issues.