Breadth of representations of men

Despite the availability of new man and metrosexual masculinities, heterosexual masculinity is still represented in ways which are wary of intimacy with other men and where women are considered largely as objects of sexual desire. For example, the recent wave of ‘bromance’ movies[202] suggest that despite having, and desiring, close friendships with other men, the heterosexual male protagonists often end up choosing a sexual relationship with an attractive women – with whom they have little in common – over their friendships.

Research with men about how they see themselves in relation to media finds that some project a stereotypical hard, strong, ‘real man’ persona while others draw on a kind of ‘everyday bloke’, nothing special, masculinity, akin to Homer Simpson[203]. Others present themselves as more alternative, for example being comfortable enough in their masculinity to show their feelings or paint their nails[204]. Whilst challenging hegemonic masculinity in some respects, these ‘alternatives’ still retain the notion that this is the norm, as well as suggesting that men are free agents who are able to make independent choices, whereas women are often depicted as more dependent on the relationships in their lives for their identities.

Sexism in media aimed at men

202. Alberti, J. (2013). ‘I Love You, Man’: Bromances, the Construction of Masculinity, and the Continuing Evolution of the Romantic Comedy. Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 30(2), 159-172.
204. Wetherell, M., & Edley, N. (1999). Negotiating hegemonic masculinity: Imagery positions and psycho-discursive practices. Feminism & Psychology, 9(3): 335-356.

Sexism in media aimed at men