Lawrence’s “Cocksure Women and Hensure Men” and Lady Chatterley’s Lover both base their argument around gender essentialism. Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the debate surrounding the trial that led to its uncensored publication are rooted in a combination of sexual, gender, and class politics. Moreover, while Lady Chatterley’s Lover may look like a critique of individuality and industrialization, it is actually a critique of a hegemonic masculinity based on rationality. This paper will argue that one of the central conflicts of the novel is that surrounding early-twentieth-century hegemonic masculinity, by means of R.W. Connell’s theory. Through unravelling the complex gender politics in Lawrence’s work and placing them in their historical context, this paper argues that his work is more reactionary than subversive.
D.H. Lawrence, gender, masculinity