Quality & Quantity

, Volume 51, Issue 6, pp 2831–2846 | Cite as

Concerns about body change behaviors, and construction of flexible masculinity among Iranian students

  • Saideh Garousi
  • Rouhollah Khajeh Dolatabad
  • Behshid GarrusiEmail author


The present study uses the results of semi-structured interviews with 17 male university students in Kerman, the capital of the largest province of Iran. The objective of the study is to understand the focus on the body and body change behaviors. Physical features constitute one of the core components of masculinity; the focus on the ideal body and the tendency to change the body shape or size can therefore be associated with masculinity. The grounded theory approach was used to analyze the concerns about the body, body change behaviors, and construction of flexible masculinity among Iranian students. Four main themes emerged from the analysis of the interviews: ideal body, body satisfaction and body change behaviors, the role and function of attraction and the ideal body, reasons for the focus on the body. The core theme is emerged from four themes: consumer masculinity–hegemonic masculinity (construction of flexible masculinity). The findings reveal the emergence of a new flexible type of masculinity in Iran. The results of the present study showed that young Iranian men have combined components of traditional Iranian hegemonic masculinity with western hegemonic masculinity and consumer masculinity to describe the ideal body and make efforts to achieve it. Moreover, some elements of traditional hegemonic masculinity were noticed to still persist in the students’ lives. More extensive use of visual media, cultural globalization and the changing social roles are the main causes of the changing type of masculinity in the society and lead to the creation of a new gender system in the society.


Focus on the body Body change behaviors Hegemonic masculinity Flexible masculinity Consumer masculinity 



The authors sincerely thank Dr. Ahmad Amirkafi for his cooperation and guidance. We would like to thank all the students who participated in the interviews and shared their experiences about their body with us.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saideh Garousi
    • 1
  • Rouhollah Khajeh Dolatabad
    • 1
  • Behshid Garrusi
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Social Science, Faculty of Literature and HumanityShahid Bahonar University of KermanKermanIran
  2. 2.Neuroscience Research Center, Institute of NeuropharmacologyKerman University of Medical SciencesKermanIran

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