Masculinity, morality and hunting, c.1850-1950
The moral imperatives of hunting have long been associated with masculinity. In Britain's age of High Imperialism, hunting assumed greater importance as a 'right of passage' necessary for personal assertion and imperial stability. For proponents, killing wildlife for sport was a 'natural' process which illustrated the ethnocentric and cultural superiority of British upper class men over various "others". This 'pre-eminence' manifested itself through 'male' institutions including elite education, church, army and hunting clubs and found wider expression through hunting books and museums. Dissidents from this pleasing masculinity railed at the celebration of hunting as 'character' training, in particular, the 'objectification' of animals for 'sport'. The ubiquity of the hunting image in the age of High Imperialism, however, was evidence of hunting's popularity as a 'maker of men' despite the concerns of humanitarians.