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Notions of Masculinity Represented in Advertising

Notions of Masculinity Represented in Advertising

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction. 3
  2. Background Review.. 3

2.1.     Advertising and Gender 3

2.2.     Theory. 5

2.2.1.      Symbolic Interaction theory. 5

2.2.2.      Theories of Muscular ideal 6

2.2.3.      The New Man. 7

2.3.     Men and the Presence of Feminine Advertising. 8

  1. Conclusion. 8

Bibliography. 10

How are notions of masculinity represented in advertising?

1.      Introduction

The main objective of this paper is to assess the notions of masculinity in advertisements and more precisely the magazines as an example. Masculinity is in most cases overstated in regards to research since it is seen as a noticeable aspect. This paper is vital in the area of advertising since it is them that we are able to acquire details and values of the product used in relation to masculinity. It is vital to assess the impacts that the advertisement have on the intended viewers. Additionally, the media may be used to know the definition of a male and the notions that arise on masculinity. The symbolic images are created on the social platform hence showing the values the society has.

Prior to the research it is necessary to get a better understanding of masculinity. It is defined as an idealization of being male. It is attributed to constantly being under threat and the desire to get the best and excellence (Zayer, 2010). There is however conflict in the theory and practicality. The theory aspect does not encompass feminine traits like weakness and being passive. On the other practical sense the trends still are masculine and have altered with the cultural aspects, with the increase of traits like being vulnerable that are feminine. The paper will be focused on certain magazines and the manner that they attribute masculinity and its aspects.

2.      Background Review

2.1.   Advertising and Gender

Advertisement places images in the minds of the society. The images may be of something pleasant, and they show an aspect that will make it possible the change to the good life. Considering that advertising in most cases advances goods to be parts of us, we socially create them to state what is termed to be as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’. Man and women in advertisements are relevant since they show us not just the manner we act as male and female but as to how they are or desire to be, not just in connection to themselves as well as to themselves (James, 2005, 367). The work done by advisors and the community as a whole are similar; they have to change or the opaque things turn simpler to read.

Being male and female is a process that is constantly changing. The role gender plays in advertising are stated as attributes of a person in the advertisement and their connection to product and other attributes. A person as being muscular relays the aspect of power with no regard to the place. It is in this setting that being masculine is not stated as being beautiful and style, but with power of choice. Products have a connection with images of power; this stated that the product is a part of the owner.

The role played by the male in advertisement is placed into varied sections; a hero, an outdoorsman, the family man, the urban person, the erotic and breadwinner. The hero is attributed to be the person in sports and is popular, as well as politics or business (LAW, 1997, 27). The outdoorsman is the one controlling nature of the wild. The family person is one who is connected to the wife and children and is a father. The breadwinner is the one in charge of the family and controls them. Lastly, the urban is surrounded by luxuries and good life and the erotic is based on body aspects.

The media has been used to create human, and more so men, to see the mode that they are attributed to be and report the results. It is half-managed aspect of their identities. It is with this assumption that the man is created as an identity, the image that they see themselves and how they behave in the social setting. It is due to this that the male specie go for being the hegemonic of masculinity.

Masculinity hegemony is stated as being the culturally significant model of masculinity which is created in connection to the female aspect and subordinate masculinities like being gay. This is created from a person’s attribute and is affected by advertisement in the media (Kervin, 1990, 51). The notion ought not to be handled as one that is rigid. In the always changing social setting, the social aspect of masculinity is all the time changing in discussions.

For the male gender, the notion of masculinity, the culturally state of manhood portrays the basic creation of sexuality. It is through the comprehension of masculinity that we are able to create sexuality and it is through this that we approve the successful creation of gender identity. Sexuality is a part of masculinity that is applied so that it plays a role in the powerful creation of masculinity.

2.2.   Theory

2.2.1.      Symbolic Interaction theory

This theory is based on three aspects; the first one is man behaves on the grounds of meanings they connect to the items. They can be physical, other people or centers. The other one is acquired from the social connection that a person has with the community around him. While the last one is the meaning are managed in and altered by an interpretive procedure applied by the person handling the items they come across (Blumer, 1969, 2).

. The analysis of symbolic meaning is always rigid for re-analysis. Be it a friend’s restated notion or a different media portrayal; the two are able to change the symbolic attribution.

Importantly, the symbolic connection of theory states that a person behaves with regard to symbolic attributions they acquire in a precise situation. On the other hand, we create relations through connecting with the symbols. The symbols create a shared meaning which is formed with the help of connections. The manner a person behaves to an issue is with regard to the attribution they give, meanings that are always changing with social connection. The main connection is the identity a person sees as the social base with regard to others. People apply other people and the media to keep and verify the present identities.

Considering that social interactionism has no probabilities with regard to tendencies and not minding of the abstract form, it does not offer a common awareness of symbols that are close to us. The relevance of the symbols is vital in advertising, where all of the things are symbolic (LAW, 1997, 23). The Nike’s athletes are modeled to symbolize all athletes; and the men in the advertisement shows what men ought to be.

2.2.2.      Theories of Muscular ideal

Due to the attribution of masculinity and muscularity, there are a number of theories that are discussed to bring more light on the muscular aspect. There are evolutionary theories and cultural theories.

The evolutionary theory of masculinity which states that masculinity is connected to biology and evolution. The broad chest in men shows strength and durability. Taking to fact that masculinity was not connected with health and advanced muscle advancement in men helped to show strength and potential to safeguard to and create goods (Gray & Ginsberg, 2007, 17). Additionally, men that are powerful are connected to greater reproductive value.

There are number of cultural theories that look into the masculinity aspect, with crisis in masculinity and media being greater. The crisis is focused on the inconsistency that considering the desire for muscular ability in men going down, the cultural focus aspect on muscularity is on the high. A woman’s coming to power has formed a crisis in masculinity. More so in cultures that traditional male was the head of the family and safeguarding ability has gone down and machines have come in place of muscle, the desire for muscularity has is one of the limited ways for men to show their muscles (Li, 2010). Hence men have grown muscles for display of masculinity.

The media theory sees the muscular as a rigid role in elevating muscularity in men. It adds that the media through advertisement sends messages that there is just a single body that is relied on in terms of gender; slim for women and muscular for men.

2.2.3.      The New Man

The new man advances the historical transformation in terms of masculinity. The initial version states that masculinity in men was serious and did not give regard to family duties. There however came a crisis; the industrial revolution injured the male ego sue to the body was not needed any more for difficult duties (Zayer, 2010). The brawn that described man was now reliant on muscles to state the male duty was left in disarray. Since men and women were not bisected into job anymore, another intense desire had to be acquired so as to keep a masculine, rugged picture. This brought about the rise of strong man period in the 1800s till 1920s. This period led to the change in desire that brought about the muscles, however the aesthetic were heading to the front. The new men rose from the 1940s to be the playboy while in the 1960s he was to make love and not fight. The 1990s led to men who played duties done by women. The rise of men in advertising in the past is stated in regards of economy. After the industrial age, advertisers looked out for new options (Kervin, 1990, 53). Hence the sexualized male was meant to appeal to the free women and new male. This made it possible for women to take most of their money on what they are appealed to and make male valid the men and beauty to the emerging male client.

The change that took place in the male person goes on in the current life of advertising with high size of images of men attribute. They show an aspect of image that is coded in a manner that is allowed for them to be seen and wanted by the male and female.

2.3.   Men and the Presence of Feminine Advertising

The definition male is the lack of female. The feminine has been allowed as an aspect of masculinity. It is vital in advertising to show the female in a manner that man is not snatched of their masculinity. In an advertisement that is based on the male, if the man is displayed with the wife, they are attributed to be well dressed and not advancing the products (Li, 2010). The man keeps the ability by not accepting the woman to acquire it. If the man is seen with a woman, they are maybe advancing insurance; the man is seen as a protector. Lastly if the man is seen with a beautiful woman, the woman is seen as provocative and devoted to the man; the result when one uses the product.

3.      Conclusion

Masculinity has been used in advertisement so as to portray varied meanings. According to the historical basis, the man is known to be the aspect of authority and protector as well as provider. However as time goes by, this has gone on to change and has incorporated the woman as an aspect of masculinity. This is the prevailing aspect that most of the advertisement are seen to use. Advertisements like the Gillette is shown as appealing to men to use it leading to them getting beautiful woman. Though most may be deceiving, they are appealing to clients all over. The paper has been able to look at the historical theories connected to masculinity and the trends they have taken in the past. Masculinity is hence a vital aspect that has changed from portrayal of muscles to other new things.


Blumer, H. 1969. Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Berkeley: University of   California Press.

Gray & Ginsberg. 2007. Muscle Dissatisfaction: An Overview of Psychological and

Cultural Research and Theory. In Thompson, J. Kevin & Cafri, Guy. (Eds.), The

   Muscular Ideal: Psychological, Social, and Medical Perspectives (pp. 15-39).

Washington DC: American.

James, R. 2005. “Genki” Energy Drinks and the Marketing of Masculine Ideology in Japan.       Men and Masculinities, 7(4), 365-384 .

Kervin, D. 1990. Advertising Masculinity: The Representation of Males in Esquire Advertisements, 14 (1), 51-70

LAW, R. 1997. Masculinity, Place, and Beer Advertising in New Zealand: The Southern Man   Campaign. New Zealand Geographer, 53: 22–28. doi: 10.1111/j.1745- 7939.1997.tb00495.x

Li, M. 2010. Journal of China Women’s University. The Construction of Masculinity in          Advertisement for Man Skincare Products—In the Case of Advertisement of L’Oreal Skin       Supplies for Men, 1, 1.

Zayer, L. 2010. A Typology of Men’s Conceptualizations of Ideal Masculinity in Advertising.     Project MUSE, 11(1). Acquired from:


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