Iván Sambade (Chair of Gender Studies, UVA, Palencia)
PhD in Philosophy of the University of Valladolid and member of the Department of Gender Studies at this University. Specialist in gender theory and masculinity studies. Coordinator and professor in the Master en Estudios de Género y Políticas de Igualdad of the UVA (2008-2012). Last publication: “Sobre las contradicciones de la razón moderna y la constitución de la subjetividad masculina” in Prisma Social, 13, 2014, pp. 787-851.
Masculinities, social changes and representation in mass culture
The mass media are structured by the interests, practices and ideologies of the hegemonic social groups. For this reason, the Media don´t perform an aseptic and neutral representation of social reality, but they constitute an imaginary that tends to establish it and normalize it. This is important to analyze the relationship between masculinities represented in mass culture and social changes in favor of equality between men and women and of liberation and recognition of the groups oppressed by the binary and heterosexist logic of the system of sex and gender.
There is a wide and fragmented plurality of masculinities represented in the imaginary of mass culture, to the extent that the same character can represent different masculinities, some of which are contradictory. Apparently, the new masculinities represented by the media correspond to social changes towards Equality; in particular, with the speeches of sexual liberation of women and with the claim of the rights of the LGBTIQ+ groups. Metrosexuals, ubersexuals, new parents and, in general, much more complex and pluralistic masculinities populate the imaginery of mass culture. But simultaneously the masculinities represented often set the profile of the subjects of social success: usually men who embody the ideology of meritocracy. The collusion of these two principles of representation (Equality and social success) in the imaginary of the media alerts us about the reproduction of the androcentrism and heterosexism of the system of sex and gender. This is seen even more clearly once we analyze the representation of women and the hierarchy of masculinities represented.