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Consumption, Masculinities and

Randal Doane


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Masculinities and consumption refer to the gendered sense of self constituted through the use of goods and services in the leisure time and spaces of modern life in the West. In markets of goods, hobbies, and sexual practices, individual choice is delimited by the social structure of gender, and these markets provide the symbolic boundaries for the practical embodiment of different masculinities. Masculinities here is offered in the plural, to emphasize how a hegemonic masculinity ( Connell 1995 : 77) is secured as a temporary solution to problems within a patriarchal order. As a rule, the sexual division of consumption has been dehistoricized, but in the past 30 years, men have embraced a highly commodified, stylized, and androgynous masculinity. Masculinity is linked with the positive attributes of power and virility, yet depends upon the denigration of femininity as its dialectical Other, and is constituted by antinomies of class, racialization, and sexuality. As a disposition, masculinity is conceptualized as homologous to the penis in a state of arousal: rigid, potent, and virile. This disposition entails a relentless retesting of unprovable ambition ( Kimmel 1996 : 333), in settings that embrace physical strength, competition, and even violence ( Messner 1997 ). For straights and queers, men and women, to be masculine is to be in control. Representations of the masculine subject ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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