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Arguments that English fascination with operatic castrati indicates a crisis in gender relations assume that masculinity rests on a foundation (the "sexed body") equally available to all male-born individuals prior to the particular situations in which they encounter each other. How the castrati sounded to their audiences cannot be considered independently of the relations (spatial, political, economic, erotic) his voice could signify. Contemporary satires of castrati remark a struggle between the public representativeness of the courtly aristocracy and the emergent publicness of propertied, private men. "Gender" performs men's membership in a public sphere enabled by opposition to operatic effeminacy.