Men and Masculinity

In this section, you can find...

Despite the fact that men are the most frequent protagonists in all forms of media, we sometimes have trouble defining what exactly makes a man. In this section, we explore how masculinity and maleness are constructed by the media.

This section addresses the representation of men and masculinity in the media. It covers topics such as media stereotypes of masculinity, how children see masculinity portrayed in media, how various media contribute to stereotypes of masculinity, and male authority in media news coverage, and it addresses the role that the media play in shaping attitudes about masculinity.

Families, friends, teachers, and community leaders all play a role in helping boys define what it means to be a man. Mainstream media representations also play a role in reinforcing ideas about what it means to be a “real” man in our society. In most media portrayals, male characters are rewarded for self-control and the control of others, aggression and violence, financial independence, and physical desirability.

Various media analysts and researchers argue that media portrayals of male characters fall within a range of stereotypes.

In 1999, the research group Children Now asked boys between the ages of 10 and 17 about their perceptions of the male characters they saw on television, in music videos and in movies.

Sports media also contribute to the construction of masculinity in contemporary society.

In its study of masculinity and sports media, the research group Children Now found that most commercials directed to male viewers tend to air during sports programming. Women rarely appear in these commercials, and when they do, they’re generally portrayed in stereotypical ways.