9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Gender Stereotypes: Representation of Gender in Mind and the Media Building II, C4.02

The visual representation of genders: one analysis through the male magazines

This paper presents the results of a research on the diversity of masculine representations through the analysis of different ways of visually representing the body (male & female) carried out in some of the male magazines circulating in Portugal. Special attention was dedicated to the male identity representation or following Goffman's approach, "hiper-ritualization" given by the media and publicity. For this purpose, magazines with a higher volume of paid numbers in circulation were selected: Maxmen, FHM, Men's Health and GQ; and the analysis was focused on advertisement images and the ones included in editorial contents.
The paper starts by presenting some data regarding the emergence and evolution of the market of male magazines in Portugal, as well as the reader's profile. Therefore, through the diversity of images of women and men that integrate these publications (offered in publicity or those ones that results of editorial choices) there will be a discussion on the different conceptions of gender implicated in the magazines.
This research supports the rejection of an essentialist and universal masculinity conception and underlines the importance of the sexual orientation in the construction of male identities. There were found significative differences between publicities and editorial contents: while the first displays more androgen models, the second sustains more conservative imaginaries and traditional gender roles. The images of women offered in the magazines promote a traditional picture of the gender relations, in which they represents a small range of roles, mainly related with erotic-pornographic contends.