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The Masculinity Masquerade: the Portrayal of Men in Modern Advertising

Description: The depiction of gender in advertising is a topic of continuous discussion and research. The present study adds to past findings with an updated look at how men are represented in U.S. advertising media and the real effects these portrayals have on the male population under the theoretical framework of hegemony and social cognitive theory. This research is triangulated with a textual analysis of the ads found in the March 2013 editions of four popular print publications and three focus group sessions separated by sex (two all-male, one all-female), each of which is composed of a racially diverse group of undergraduate journalism and communications students from a large Southwestern university. The results of the textual analysis reveal little ethnic or physical diversity among male figures in advertising and distinguish six main profiles of masculinity, the most frequent of which is described as the "sophisticated man." The focus groups identify depictions of extreme muscularity and stereotypical male incompetence as the most negative representations, while humorous and hyperbolic portrayals of sexual prowess and hyper-masculinity are viewed positively as effective means of marketing to men.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Harper, Savannah