Monday, June 8, 2009

More on hegemonic masculinity and popular culture

Media is one of the key institutions that perpetuates hegemony, influencing mass consumers to unconsciously accept notions of inequality. There must be thousands of commercials that illustrate patterns of hegemonic masculinity.

This Heineken commercial draws on notions of hegemonic masculinity by connecting manhood with excessive drinking, while also perpetuating notions of emphasized femininity - that women love to shop and are obsessed with beautifying themselves through the purchase of expensive accessories.

Then the Viagra commercial naturalizes manhood with fighting and sexual prowess. As part of the hegemonic masculine standard, violence and heterosexual sex are frequently connected, particularly so in sporting cultures.

The humorous nature of these commercials (I admit, I laughed) is what makes them all the more effective in perpetuating gendered patterns of behavior. Audiences watch them, laugh, and more easily accept that differences by way of sex (i.e., gender differences) are natural, rather than developed through socialization in the media, family, peers, schools, churches, and so on. In turn, resultant gender disparities are perpetuated and left unscrutinized.

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