Out in the Open

Writing about the 'male slut': The role of masculinity in Junot Diaz's work

The author delves into the stereotype of Caribbean male promiscuity
"One of my greatest themes is masculinity, especially of the kind I grew up with." - Junot Diaz

For the discussion of masculinity, Out in the Open host Piya Chattopadhyay read out a quote of something Diaz once said at a conference: "One of my greatest themes is masculinity, especially of the kind I grew up with."

The author said he has always been interested in the origins of male promiscuity and the "womanizer" image. He's described his latest book, This is How You Lose Her, as really "about the rise and fall of a Dominican male slut."

"There's a lot to be said of where does that come from, how does that speak to people's relationships to intimacy, people's relationship to sexual power," Junot told Piya. "If you're from the Caribbean, this archetype of the hypersexualized male and hypersexualized women is one that I think generates a lot of material when one wants to confront it in a critical way."

He said the fascination with the topic came from observing his father, whom he calls "in some ways a stereotypical cliche of a Caribbean male," and his success with women. Piya also asks Junot where he places himself in that image and about his own relationship to that type of masculinity.

"In other words, are you trying to say, am I a male slut?" he asked.

now