Chavs and Metrosexuals: new men, masculinities and popular culture

Parker, Andrew and Lyle, Samantha (2005) Chavs and Metrosexuals: new men, masculinities and popular culture. Sociology Review, 15 (1). pp. 2-5.

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Abstract

Gender studies' in sociology used to refer to the analysis of women and femininities, but in recent years there has also been a focus on men and masculinities. What can sociology tell us about the rise of the chav? As new sociologists, you may think that your subject stands apart from the 'everyday'--something to leave in the classroom perhaps? Forget it. Sociology is only useful if we can apply it to the lives of ordinary--and extraordinary--people. To get you started: what do Loaded magazine, Little Britain's Vicky Pollard and global male icons, such as England's David Beckham, have in common? The deep and committed attention of sociologists, for one thing. The new sociological literature about the study of masculinities generally comes out of what can be called the 'men's studies' tradition. At the same time, discussions about masculinities have become an increasingly important aspect of popular debate. It is not unusual these days for newspapers and magazines to devote a significant amount of space to descriptions and images of how contemporary men should look, behave and relate. Check your own reading and young men's magazines and you will see what we mean. Of course, this is nothing new, but one of the ways in which the changing dynamics of gender relations in the post-1970s have shown themselves is through the more general emergence of men as consumers of fashion, cosmetics and body image products. This article explores recent trends in male behaviour and looks at how sociologists have tried to explain how and why modern masculinities are being reworked today. Masculinities in the post-1970s It is commonly accepted by sociologists that there has been a dramatic change in constructions of masculinities in the post-1970 period. We have seen the demise of what some writers have described as 'old traditional/industrial' man--this is the bread-winning, often sexist, and decidedly unemotional male who located himself at the focal point of the nuclear family. We have also witnessed the emergence of a whole range of 'new' and different men, exhibiting a variety of behaviours and characteristics. Perhaps the most striking change in the social ideals that shape UK masculinities occurred in the 1980s. This was a time when men's studies were very much in their infancy in Britain and when 'second-wave' feminism had begun to establish itself. This was also a rime of New Right politics (in both the UK and the USA), a period in which, as Beynon (2002) records, two very different kinds of 'new' man were spawned.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Sport & Exercise > Coaching, Physical Education and Development
Research Priority Areas: Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2015 10:24
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2016 14:26
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/2366

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