Contemporary Media is Defining Male Gender Standards
An analysis of male characters in contemporary advertising reveals a glaring issue: the portrayals of “normal” men are missing. Whether working on a construction site, presenting in a boardroom, or performing in a Broadway play, typical men no longer exist in the media. The all-too-common contemporary portrayal of men in today’s world is that of an inept simpleton, an effeminate hero, or an alpha-male gladiator. William Sea argues in his essay “Advertising Sets Double Standard for the Male Gender” that the current standards for masculinity set forth by the media set a double-standard for men, and that the metrosexual revolution portrayed in and by the media will, in the end, cause a backlash by the male population. Sea makes a number of excellent points about the current trends in advertising regarding the portrayal of men, and gives fitting examples to back up his argument. I believe that there has been a recent response to the metrosexual advertising trends in its antithesis, the retrosexual comeback. To review the metrosexual trend, which primarily instructs men how to dress and how to adjust their appearance, I studied only current high circulation magazines for the most recent months. Most notable in ESPN the Magazine was a man with perfectly styled hair, glowing teeth, and lips covered in glitter smiling over a box of shoes he just bought online from Zappos.com (6). Playboy Magazine’s August 2008 issue contains a special fashion section showing men how to “Cowboy Up”, stating “a sports coat over jeans is a classic winner’s choice” (96-97). The two-page spread shows two men looking decidedly un-cowboy-like, with one wearing a nearly $4,000 jacket with a blue silk pocket square and a silver bracelet. Both men in the ads would have been hanged in the Old West if they had walked into a saloon liking like urban cowboys. The November 2005 issue of Playboy’s special fashion section shows many of these...
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