Social Construction of Masculinity

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Societal perspectives have categorized men and women as either masculine or feminine. In society, the masculinity of a man is determined by his ability to remain strong and emotionless. Unfortunately, cultural and social understandings have remained adamant and thus recorded a constant trend of this representation. Fortunately, social media has worked towards changing these perspectives with men taking up constructed masculinity and delving into the consumerism branding role that was previously dominated by women. Nonetheless, most of the topics concerning men are still embedded with promiscuity and violence. As a result, this standard approach towards masculinity has hindered society from truly developing because they refuse to embrace the capabilities of all genders.

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In modern society, however, manhood has taken a different angle with lifestyle magazines targeting their readers by displaying splashing images of attractive men who act as brand representatives. Men magazines gained momentum in the early 1990 and despite lots of challenges; they have made it in the commercial world. An example of mens magazines is the Mens Health Magazine that is embedded with images of masculine men in stylish hard bodies. Magazines are using the image of constructed masculinity purposely to sell their products. However, this picture goes beyond selling brands because most men are shaped by the way in which these images portray them (Sloan, Gough, & Conner, 2010, 790). Consequently, because of cultural transformations, gender roles and identities are simultaneously changing. In the past men were mostly accrued to the production sector but with the growth in the social media platform, their role at enticing consumers has become eminent in almost all brands. Masculinity has always been constructed by being real men, success, status, wealth, fame, confidence, manliness, self-reliance, violence, and aggression. Mens Health magazine's primary focus is on health, fashion and lifestyle. Therefore, in a bid to analyze how this magazine has constructed masculinity several areas will be scrutinized including the front cover, stories, and features, its cover stories, and advertisements.

The front cover is an essential part of a magazine, and it has two core purposes. First, covers serve as selective framers of both personal perceptions of ideal masculinity and what to find in the magazine. Secondly, covers are the publisher advertisement tools to increase the number of their sales (Phillip et al., 2012). Mens health cover image reflects the same effects to a particular group of men. Their cover images which are splashed with white men models present masculinity but not particularly the bodybuilding types. They are well-toned but are not overly muscled like in bodybuilding magazines. The front cover image of this magazine is meant to attract the viewer only by suggesting that men are both physically powerful and emotionally caring.

Moreover, the smile and direct eye contact with these models translate to trust as a partner, husband, or friend depending on the readers perception. Moreover, the cover is splashed with snippets that indicate the need for men to build and maintain a hard body. The Mens Health magazine cover acts as a catch to its readers who are enticed by the construction of masculinity from watching their diets (Phillip et al., 2012). Nonetheless, the primary purpose of building and maintain a hard body is not concerned with the problems related to unhealthy eating or using an alternative method of body hardening like steroids. Moreover, the snippets containing sex and its importance in constructing a hard body are eminent in the whole issue. Besides, the cover magazine translates that hard bodies should be well attired thus emphasize the style.

The cover stories and contents, on the other hand, are arranged according to topics ranging from nutrition, health, fitness, sex and relationships. Their topics are articulately arranged to fit into the lifestyle of different people including those in busy professionals. The magazine has ensured that a foldout exercise sheet has been included for the reader to follow. However, despite the guidance on how to apply and live a healthy lifestyle The Mens Health magazine has used its influence to advertise on the steps that an individual should take to build a home gym. Moreover, each gadget that is needed has been attached to a budget, the price and the contact of the supplier. Also, there are other lessons entailed like how to charm ladies and people emphasizing that by so doing men can make colleagues more cooperative, less determined rivals and clerks and make a woman more willing to have sex with them (Phillip et al., 2012). Notably, the content of this magazine emphasizes that if the men are reading their article apply them they can display qualities like persistence, usefulness, truthfulness, being in control of attention, anger and desires, and loving people. In conclusion, the features and cover stories in this magazine act as an advertising platform emphasizing that a man should use their recommended consumer products for them to become real men.

In every issue of the Mens Health magazine several features of constructing masculinity are portrayed which include a letter to the editor, male grams, Ask Mens Health, to do list, Where to buy, and health bulletin. Ask Mens Health is, however, the primary constructor of masculinity. By so doing, the magazine solicits questions from their readers about fitness, health, grooming, work, sex, travel, and other relevant subjects (Phillip et al., 2012). A panel of experts answered these questions and screened by editors before being published. Although these issues are filtered before publishing revealing that men have concerns about their roles and their identities. By being able to ask questions in this column, there is an indication that men are shifting from being Sturdy Oaks to becoming self-aware and vulnerable in the constructed modern masculinity.

As it is expected, every magazine has advertisements and, in this case, Mens Health poses an opposite pattern from what the cover images perceive. Automobiles and designer clothes mainly dominate publications. These advertisements are taken from backgrounds that suggest that masculinity is linked to money and culture. With the kind of advertisements being made the constructed masculinity by Mens Health targets men in both the upper middle to the elite levels of income (Phillip et al., 2012). Therefore, ads in this magazine translate that men in hardened bodies should serve as agents of masculine socialization. Men are used as walking billboards for brand names, and, unfortunately, this magazine ensures that this gets encrypted in the mind of men. Lifestyle magazines and acts have constructed branded masculinity in the shape of mens identity and how they understand each other.

With the change in the societal perspective of masculinity from heterogenic to branded masculinity, men have been transformed to understanding their roles and identities in the consumer sector. The Mens Health magazine has managed to influence their audiences perspectives of a real man by constructing men with a fashion sense, a well-toned body, and a sense that financial success is the essential product of all middle-class men today. With this kind of security in their constructed masculinity, the modern man is experiencing reduced anxiety in men and, as a result, structured a consumer-based society that is being branded by men. Moreover, men have managed to put together all the constructed masculinity traits in men magazines, and they can now work with different styles thus exhibiting multiple masculinities.


Sloan, C., Gough, B. and Conner, M., 2010. Healthy Masculinities? How ostensibly healthy men talk about lifestyle, health, and gender. Psychology and Health, 25(7), pp.783-803.

Phillips et al., 2012. 2012. Summer Weight-Loss Special. Mens Health Magazine.

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