Mediated Portrayals of Masculinities

Heather L. Hundley


The focus of this chapter is specifically on how researchers have studied and written about the portrayal of masculinities in US media. The chapter opens by tracing the evolution of academic study of masculinities in US media beginning with stereotypical representations that led into identifying three key types: hegemonic masculinity, hypermasculinity, and metrosexual masculinity. The chapter then reviews how scholars have written about the portrayals of masculinities in specific US media such as film, television, and print. While this literature review is by no means exhaustive, it demonstrates the range of research in the past four decades, illustrating media's increased portrayals of masculinities over time, and offers suggestions for future directions.

Early feminist media studies research laid the foundation and sparked interest in the study of male characters. In fact, research on “masculinity studies in communication was scarce prior to the late 1980s” (Mazzarella, 2008, p. 69). To understand the development of examining masculinity in the media, one must understand the development of feminist media studies.

On the heels of second-wave feminism, many scholars in the late 1960s and early 1970s began examining the number of female characters in film and television. Initially scholars typically used content analysis to count the number of female characters and compare it to the number of male characters. ...

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