Men, Masculinity, and the Media


Edited by: Steve Craig

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  • Research on Men and Masculinities Series

    Series Editor:


    Contemporary research on men and masculinity, informed by recent feminist thought and intellectual breakthroughs of women's studies and the women's movement, treats masculinity not as a normative referent but as a problematic gender construct. This series of interdisciplinary, edited volumes attempts to understand men and masculinity through this lens, providing a comprehensive understanding of gender and gender relationships in the contemporary world. Published in cooperation with the Men's Studies Association, a Task Group of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism.

    Editorial Advisory Board

    Maxine Baca Zinn Robert Brannon Cynthia Cockburn Jeff Hearn Martin P. Levine William Marsiglio David Morgan Joseph H. Pleck

    • Maxine Baca Zinn
    • Robert Brannon
    • Cynthia Cockburn
    • Jeff Heam
    • Martin P. Levine
    • William Marsiglio
    • David Morgan
    • Joseph H. Pleck
    • Robert Staples
    • Bob Blauner
    • Harry Brod
    • R. W. Connell
    • Clyde Franklin II
    • Gregory Herek
    • Robert A. Lewis
    • Michael A. Messner

    Volumes in this Series

    • Steve Craig (ed.)


    • Peter M. Nardi (ed.)


    • Christine L. Williams (ed.)

      DOING WOMEN'S WORK: Men in Nontraditional Occupations

    • Jane C. Hood (ed.)


    • Harry Brod and Michael Kaufman (eds.)


    • Edward H. Thompson, Jr. (ed.)


    • William Marsiglio (ed.)


    • Donald Sabo and David Frederick Gordon (eds.)


    • Cliff Cheng (ed.)


    • Lee H. Bowker (ed.)



    View Copyright Page


    An anthology is, of course, a group effort, and many people had a hand in helping to produce the words that follow. On behalf of the contributors, I would like to thank all those who assisted the authors with the preparation of their chapters.

    In addition, special appreciation goes to Elizabeth George, who spent many tedious hours working to combine all the chapter bibliographies into a single list. Scholars who find the composite reference list a valuable source for their future research owe her their thanks.

    As series editor, Michael Kimmel made many suggestions and contributions that have served to strengthen the work. In addition, his theoretical perspectives on men's studies formed the essential framework necessary to unify scholars from different traditions and backgrounds under a central theme. His enthusiasm and encouragement were also much appreciated.

    At Sage, Mitch Allen was the guide who helped navigate the maze of seemingly endless details that must be attended to before a volume reaches the reader. I am grateful for his straightforward advice and assistance.

    Finally, thanks also go to the University of Maine, which supported this project in several important ways.


    This volume inaugurates the Sage Series on Men and Masculinity Research. The purpose of the series is to gather together the finest empirical research in the social sciences that focuses on the experiences of men in contemporary society.

    Following the pioneering research of feminist scholars over the past two decades, social scientists have come to recognize gender as one of the primary axes around which social life is organized. Gender is now seen as equally central as class and race, both at the macro, structural level of the allocation and distribution of rewards in a hierarchical society, and at the micro, psychological level of individual identity formation and interpersonal interaction.

    Social scientists distinguish gender from sex. Sex refers to biology, the biological dimorphic division of male and female; gender refers to the cultural meanings that are attributed to those biological differences. Although biological sex varies little, the cultural meanings of gender vary enormously. Thus we speak of gender as socially constructed; the definitions of masculinity and femininity as the products of the interplay among a variety of social forces. In particular, we understand gender to vary spatially (from one culture to another); temporally (within any one culture over historical time); and longitudinally (through any individual's life course). Finally, we understand that different groups within any culture may define masculinity and femininity differently, according to subcultural definition; race, ethnicity, age, class, sexuality, and region of the country all affect our different gender definition. Thus it is more accurate to speak of “masculinities” and “femininities” than to posit a monolithic gender construct. It is the goal of this series to explore the varieties of men's experiences, remaining mindful of specific differences among men, and also aware of the mechanisms of power that inform both men's relations with women and men's relations with other men.

    If masculinity is socially constructed, one of the primary elements in that construction is the representations of manhood that we see daily in the mass media. The media portray a wide variety of masculine images, informing us about the positive characteristics toward which we should aspire and warning against the negative facets of personality that we must avoid. Media representations tell us who we are, who we should be, and who we should avoid.

    Steve Craig's volume, Men, Masculinity, and the Media, gathers together articles that deal with a variety of topics and a variety of media. Empirical articles range from discussions of men's friendships on primetime television and in war movies, to images of men in comic books, beer commercials, and heavy metal music videos. Throughout, there is a concern with two dominant themes in the recent social science literature on masculinities: power and difference. Several articles underscore that media representations of ideal manhood serve to perpetuate gender inequality; others explore the intersection of gender inequality with other forms of inequality, such as race or ethnicity. Other authors note the variety of images of men, and the ways in which other features of social life are called into play in the service of the construction of representation of masculinity. Masculinities are constructed through media representation, these essays suggest; changing the definitions of manhood will require a serious confrontation with images of power as well as structural realities of power in social life.

    MichaelS.Kimmel Series Editor
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    Author Index

    About the Contributors

    Diane Barthel is Associate Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is the author of Putting on Appearances: Gender and Advertising and Amana: From Pietist Sect to American Community. Besides gender and the media, her interests include the cross-cultural study of architectural symbolism and historic preservation, at both the community and societal level.

    Venise T. Berry is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa. She received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin, with a major in Radio, Television, and Film and a minor in Ethnomusicology. Her research interests focus on black youth in several areas of concern, such as academic motivation, televised images, and cultural perceptions of the pop and/or rap music experience.

    Steve Craig is an Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Maine. He received his Ph.D. from Florida State University and has worked professionally in the broadcasting and print media. His research on military broadcasting, media law, and television criticism has appeared in several anthologies and journals. His current interest is in television and gender, and he recently completed a content analysis of gender images in television commercials.

    David Croteau is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Boston College. He has written and taught about the news media and is a member of Boston College's Media Research and Action Project. His current research is focused on the role of class in contemporary American political culture.

    Stan Denski is Director of Telecommunications and Assistant Professor of Communication and Theatre at Indiana University at Indianapolis. He teaches in the area of media theory and video production. He received his doctorate in mass communication from Ohio University. His articles have appeared in Popular Music A. Society and Tracking: Popular Music Studies. He is currently completing work on two books: Critical Media Pedagogy: Media Studies and the (Re)Production of Culture (with David Sholle) and Authenticity in Cultural Studies (coedited with Jenny Nelson and David Sholle).

    Ralph R. Donald is a Professor of Communication and Chairman of the Department of Communications at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, his B.A. and M.A. at California State University, Fullerton. A popular cultural critic, his research centers on themes, issues, and propaganda found in war films. Recent works include such topics as the “conversion” plot convention in war films, the “ugly American syndrome” in Vietnam war combat films, the inversion of American cultural myths in Vietnam war combat films, antiwar themes in narrative war pictures, and a historical reassessment of the symbiotic relationship between Hollywood and Washington during World War II.

    Fred J. Fejes received his Ph.D. in communication in 1982 from the Institute of Communication Research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has taught at Wayne State University, the University of Illinois-Chicago and is currently an Associate Professor at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. He is author of Imperialism, Media, and the Good Neighbor: New Deal Foreign Policy and United States Shortwave Broadcasting to Latin America and co-editor with Jennifer Slack of Ideology of the Information Age. His current research interests include the role of the media in the construction of gender and social class identity.

    Robert Hanke received his Ph.D. in 1987 from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Louisville, where he teaches courses in media studies. He has published articles in Communication and Critical Studies in Mass Communication, and his research interests include the social dimensions of media culture and cultural politics.

    Jeff Hearn is Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Studies, University of Bradford. His publications include The Gender of Oppression, “Sex” at “Work, ” The Sexuality of Organization, and Men, Masculinities and Social Theory. He is also Series Editor of Critical Studies on Men and Masculinities (HarperCollins) and Co-Convener of the Violence, Abuse and Gender Relations Research Unit, University of Bradford.

    William Hoynes is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Boston College and a member of the Boston College Media Research and Action Project. He is the Coordinator of the Communications and Media Studies Program at Tufts University, where he teaches about the news media. His current research examines the politics of public television in the United States.

    Sue Curry Jansen is Associate Professor and Head of Communications Studies at Muhlenberg College and Cooperative Professor of Communications at Cedar Crest College, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Her publications include Censorship: The Knot That Binds Power and Knowledge.

    Antonio Melechi studied Humanities at Manchester Polytechnic and graduated in Critical and Cultural Theory at the University of Wales, Cardiff. He is currently working at the Unit for Law and Popular Culture, Manchester Polytechnic, researching Anglo-Italian cultural relations. He has previously published in New Statesman and Society and Marxism Today.

    Norma Pecora is Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at Em-erson College, Boston. Her special interests are in the mass communi-cation and entertainment industry and its place in American culture. In that context, she studies the relationship of children to the media, gender socialization, and the structure of children's entertainment. Her current project is a book on the business of children's television.

    Donald Sabo is Associate Professor of Social Science at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York. His publications include Jock: Sports and Male Identity (with Ross Runfola) and Sport, Men and the Gender Order: Critical Feminist Perspectives (with Michael Messner).

    Diana Saco is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include social and political identity, popular culture, and international communications.

    David Sholle is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. His papers on media studies, popular culture, and critical pedagogy have appeared in Critical Studies in Mass Communication, the Journal of Urban and Cultural Studies, The Journal of Film and Video, and the Journal of Education. He is currently completing a book with Stan Denski on media education and critical pedagogy.

    Lynn C. Spangler is Assistant Professor in the Department of Commu-nication at the State University of New York, College at New Paltz. She received her doctoral degree in mass communication from Wayne State University in 1983. In addition to her research concerning fictional tele-vision relationships, she also writes and directs television documentaries.

    Clay Steinman received his Ph.D. from New York University in 1979. He is currently Professor of Communications at California State University, Bakersfield. A recovering journalist, his recent research has focused on gender, racism, and cultural theory. His work has appeared in anthologies and journals, including The Journal of Film and Video and The Nation and, with Mike Budd, in Communication Yearbook 15, Cultural Critique, Television Studies: Textual Analysis, Critical Studies in Mass Communication (also with Robert M. Entman), and The Journal of Communication (also with Steve Craig).

    Lance Strate is Assistant Professor of Communications at Fordham University, Bronx, New York. He is co-author with Neil Postman, Christine Nystrom, and Charles Weingartner of Myths, Men, & Beer: An Analysis of Beer Commercials on Broadcast Television, 1987, published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. He is currently working on a book on the relationship between media environments and concepts of the hero.

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