Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 68, Issue 9, pp 562-576

First online:

An Analysis of Hyper-Masculinity in Magazine Advertisements

  • Megan VokeyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Manitoba Email author 
  • , Bruce TefftAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Manitoba
  • , Chris TysiacznyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Manitoba

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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.


Hyper-masculinity Hypermasculinity Advertisements Gender Media Masculinity Socio-economic status Social-demographics