Shifting Masculinities: Advertising, Male Bodies and the Male Gaze

ABSTRACT - The depiction of the female body in advertising has a long history and has received quite a degree of attention in the academic literature. In contrast there has been much less interest in the depiction of the male body in advertising. This paper seeks to underline the negotiated character of male identities by demonstrating the means by which lifestyle magazine advertising has caused men to gaze upon images of their own bodies and outlining the implications of this inversion of the male gaze. In dealing with these issues the paper begins by outlining the unfinished nature of the body and its role in identity projects. It then charts the emergence of men’s lifestyle magazines in the UK and their position in the representation of male bodies. Next, the paper outlines the traditional understanding of the male gaze and identifies how that gaze is being inverted by the advertising images contained in men’s lifestyle magazines. The paper then explains how men, like women, can adopt multiple subject positions in their consumption of such advertising and what the implications of this are for the negotiation of male identities. Finally, conclusions are drawn and recommendations made for further research.



Citation:

Maurice Patterson and Richard Elliott (2001) ,"Shifting Masculinities: Advertising, Male Bodies and the Male Gaze", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, eds. Andrea Groeppel-Klien and Frank-Rudolf Esch, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 167.

European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, 2001      Page 167

SHIFTING MASCULINITIES: ADVERTISING, MALE BODIES AND THE MALE GAZE

Maurice Patterson, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom

Richard Elliott, University of Exeter & Sand Business School, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT -

The depiction of the female body in advertising has a long history and has received quite a degree of attention in the academic literature. In contrast there has been much less interest in the depiction of the male body in advertising. This paper seeks to underline the negotiated character of male identities by demonstrating the means by which lifestyle magazine advertising has caused men to gaze upon images of their own bodies and outlining the implications of this inversion of the male gaze. In dealing with these issues the paper begins by outlining the unfinished nature of the body and its role in identity projects. It then charts the emergence of men’s lifestyle magazines in the UK and their position in the representation of male bodies. Next, the paper outlines the traditional understanding of the male gaze and identifies how that gaze is being inverted by the advertising images contained in men’s lifestyle magazines. The paper then explains how men, like women, can adopt multiple subject positions in their consumption of such advertising and what the implications of this are for the negotiation of male identities. Finally, conclusions are drawn and recommendations made for further research.

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Authors

Maurice Patterson, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
Richard Elliott, University of Exeter &amp Sand Business School, University of Oxford, United Kingdom



Volume

E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5 | 2001



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