chapter  5
20 Pages

Bending the codes of masculinity: David Beckham and flexible masculinity in the new millennium: Sarah Gee

The influential role of the media, sport, and various icons of popular culture (including celebrities and sports stars) to shape, define, and construct our social identities cannot be ignored. Of particular importance are the messages and representations of masculinity conveyed by these socializing agents, and in turn, how they inform the consumption of masculinities. Additionally, the context of a global consumerist society is contributing to males’ identities being increasingly constructed through consumption, further framing them as consumers versus citizens.3 Arguably, visual representations of male sports stars circulated by the media, including those available through advertising and marketing campaigns, are often heralded as contemporary archetypes that encourage traditional and even stereotypical beliefs and attitudes about what society expects of men. In this light, such representations become the dominant ideals against which some men measure or gauge their own masculinity. Stated another way, the media – and more specifically advertising – provides men with publicly circulated images of preferred forms of masculinity that can then be incorporated into private experience. Thus, choosing one particular form of masculinity over another may place males in a potentially critical

position to experience trepidation and perplexity when they fail to meet society’s expected standards.4