Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Contemporary masculinity in America: Bear / Cargo Magazine

To define contemporary masculinity, I have selected the gay magazine Bear. Due to the website's content it has been blocked from the university network but I have linked its Wikipedia page.

Aimed at a gay audience who are sexually attracted to masculine men or are masculine themselves, the magazine features butch men with body and facial hair. This defies the stereotypical view of the effeminate gay community and this idea has been represented in the TV show Playing It Straight where unexpectadly the men who were in masculine jobs turned out to be gay and the more feminine men turned out to be metrosexual straight men. Therefore gender identity is not quite as clear cut in terms of femininity and masculinity and they are often blurred.

The trend of metrosexuality (straight men that have the appearance or lifestyle of stereotypically gay men) has been a popular selling point among many men's magazines. Established in 2004, Cargo Magazine had a brief 2-year stint of publication and featured vanity segments including "The Perfect Fitting Suit" and "How to Tan Without the Sun". Interestingly however, the magazine was published before the transmission of Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, a TV programme that played with the stereotypes that gay men are superior to straight men in matters of fashion, style and personal grooming which helped put metrosexuality into the mainstream. This shows that some straight men are naturally vigilant when it comes to style and are therefore not the product of hype; metrosexuality has simply evolved from the minority and has rapidly become more mainstream.

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