Monday, 8 February 2010

Multi-Cultural America: Gender. Esquire Magazine

Esquire Magazine

The link above is the website for the American copy of the men's magazine "Esquire".

After its takeover by Hearst in the late 1980's, the magazine's target audience became primary men betwen the ages of 25-44 who are "well-educated, sophisticated and open-minded".

From even the home page, it is clear that the Esquire reader is considered to be "metro-sexual" or even be closer to the European ideal of the male (intellectual)rather than the American "John Wayne" type. However, there are elements to suggest that the american ideal of masculinity is still included.

The opinion that "blue-collar workers" watch television programmes such as American Chopper and Deadliest Catch in order to feel more like the American ideal of masculinity is demonstrated in the magazine with articles such as "what it feels like to be bitten by a shark" or articles about demolition and sports being dsiplayed alongside recipes for men as well as articles about fashion and current events. It is as if the Esquire man, although having slightly more feminine aspects, is still able to demonstrate the traditionally American male role by his interest in sports, cars, women and danger in a less aggressive way.

Perhaps the most interesting study in how masculinity is portrayed in Esquire is in the magazine's presentation of women. While in tradionally more "masculine" magazines such as Hooters, women are described as "girls" and are dressed in little more than bikinis next to articles containing not a lot of words, the women in Esquire, although scantily clad, are described as "women we love" and are celebrated both for their intellect and their beauty.

Esquire presents the change of perception of the male roles over the past twenty years which perhaps mirrors the change in the feminine role over the same period. While women have slowly entered the tradionally male domains (eg sport, the workforce and politics) the Esquire man has been slowly accessing the more "feminine" areas such as cookery and personal appearence.

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