An Analysis of Hyper-Masculinity in Magazine Advertisements
Hyper-masculinity is a gender-based ideology of exaggerated beliefs about what it is to be a man. HM consists of four inter-related beliefs, namely toughness as emotional self-control, violence as manly, danger as exciting, and calloused attitudes toward women and sex (Zaitchik & Mosher 1993). Adherence to HM is linked to a host of social and health problems in North America, such as dangerous driving and violence toward women (Parrot & Zeichner 2003). Advertising is believed to play a role in constructing hyper-masculinity (Kilbourne 1999). In this study, eight U.S. men’s magazines published in 2007–2008, differentiated by readership age, education, and household income, were analyzed for hyper-masculine depictions in their advertisements. Using a behavioural checklist with good inter-rater reliability, it was found that 56 % (n = 295) of 527 advertisements depicted one or more hyper-masculine beliefs. Some magazines depicted at least one hyper-masculine belief in 90 % or more of advertisements. In addition, reader age, education, and income were all inversely related to the prevalence of hyper-masculine beliefs, with HM depictions presented more often in advertisements targeting young, less educated, and less affluent men. Implications of these findings for the well-being of men and society are discussed.