Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.582328
Title: Becoming what women want : formations of masculinity in postfeminist film and television
Author: Thompson, Lauren Jade
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
This thesis uses a range of recent television and film texts to interrogate postfeminist media formations of masculinity. In particular, this work focuses on increasingly prevalent media narratives that are about producing men as suitable romantic partners for postfeminist women. Arguing that existing literature on postfeminism ignores or trivialises the issue of masculinity, this thesis addresses new cultural formations of masculinity that are linked not only to postfeminist discourse, but also related cultural and economic shifts such as post-industrialisation and the rise of neo-liberal cultural politics. Analysing texts from the mid-1990s to 2012, the work argues that such representations are rife with tensions and contradictions. They represent in part an ungendering of previously feminine arenas (such as the makeover, and the home) yet are also marked by a discourse that requires the reassertion of sexual difference and the maintenance of heteronormativity. As such, the urge towards coupling becomes central to these formations, across the range of texts discussed within this thesis. The thesis argues that postfeminist media representations of masculinity are often characterised by an interplay between dominant, residual and emergent formations. In the makeover show, the mission is to improve a man to satisfy his existing partner (perhaps as preparation for a proposal) or to ready him for entry into the dating market. In the lifestyle show, the advice given on how to manage domestic labour is committed to encouraging harmony between the heterosexual couple. The homebuilding sitcom focuses on the challenges of the transition between youth and the establishment of a family unit: finding the right partner, settling down, building a home, having children. The Hollywood romantic comedy, even in its recent, male-centred incarnations, still presents successful coupling as integral, essential, and inevitable, even if its attitude to the union is sometimes ambivalent. In all of these television and film genres, there is a considerable focus on how men must change in order to become, and stay, "marriageable". This emphasis on coupling is paired with images of singledom as failure, a pathologisation which, this thesis argues, is rapidly becoming ungendered. The example texts' reinforcement of compulsory heterosexuality, their focus on a particular 'life-stage' (the early stages of independent living) and the increased focus on men's private lives means that domestic space and the home become key sites in which these tensions and battles are played out. This thesis examines the central role of the home, its decor, arrangement and labour, as both one of the major negotiations of coupling and as an aesthetic strategy for representing different formations of masculinity and postfeminist dilemmas of masculinity within this group of texts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.582328  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman ; PN1993 Motion Pictures
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