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The Representation of Masculinity in Men’s Magazines

Rob Miller | Friday February 24, 2012

Categories: A Level, AQA A Level, AQA A2, Key Concepts, Representation & Stereotyping, Hot Entries, Magazines, Image Analysis, Masculinity in Men's Magazines

Men’s Magazines, in their printed form developed in terms of publication and circulation in the 1980s. Many reasons were offered for this, particularly in light of the fact that Women’s Magazines have been around for hundreds of years. A manifest, obvious reason could explore changing cultural representations in reference to how masculinity was perceived and that the 1980s was just about the right time for men to finally embrace a magazine genre of their own that was previously, stereotypically associated with feminine culture. The hegemonic cultural stereotype of masculinity was slowly changing; New Romantic bands like Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet wore make up on Top of the Pops - surely this was now the time to make that gendered leap in the same way that 1990s and 2000 men struggled with idea of grooming products aimed at improving their appearance from hand cream to hair gel.

The contents of Men’s Magazines, however did not reflect this so called evolutionary, cultural change – quite the reverse in fact with advertising copy seeking to reassert traditional, masculine values devoting pages and column space to technology, watches and motorbikes in contrast to anything remotely designed to enhance the appearance. Without doubt, the 1980s ‘new man’ was here and this was reflected in other media at the time but the negotiated reading as to why Men’s Magazines originated in the 1980s is as a complete rejection of this representation of the manufactured construct of the new man circulated in other media, in preference for a text that grounded old fashioned masculine values once again but this time in print. Early Men’s Magazines focussed on stereotypical male pastimes like sport, bar room banter and womanising presenting their audience with a direct, inclusive mode of address that, like Women’s Magazines spoke to their audience and made men (the readers) feel that they were all part of an exclusive club, a collective...

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