Mascunality

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THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR-JOY as BETH HARMON in episode 107 of THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT Cr. PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX © 2020

The gradual reappearance of all the boys and men she had met along the way – the fact that they were supporting her, cheering her, praying for her – well, I was moved. I really enjoyed this model of masculinity, perhaps more ambitious than realistic, but nonetheless moving, two characters in particular showed me what real strength, kindness and masculinity look like – the champion of Shaggy, gray-haired Russia whose eyes sparkle and heart opens when he sees Beth regained her footing and going to beat him; and the dreaded, beautiful and ultra-disciplined Russian world champion who faces Beth in her final match. The way these two behave in the event of loss contrasts beautifully with how a certain top American currently manages his own. very public loss. In my opinion, these fictional Russians behave exactly as we should teach boys in real life to behave, whether it’s playing chess or ice hockey, sitting in a classroom, hanging out with someone, or anything else.In defeat, the Russian masters lay down their pride and self-esteem, open their hearts and smile at the supernova exploding in front of them. They take a step back and give all their gratitude and respect to the troubled girl who fathered her. They are moved by the beauty and power of his playing. They understand that he not only eclipses their own accomplishments, but illustrates, for a moment at least, the mysteries of the universe, the full expression of a exquisite spirit. They are honored to be part of its history

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