Mirrors of Masculinity: Representation and Identity in Advertising Images

Consumption Markets and Culture, Vol. 7, pp. 21-52, 2004

56 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2004

See all articles by Jonathan E. Schroeder

Jonathan E. Schroeder

Rochester Institute of Technology

Detlev Zwick

York University - Schulich School of Business

Abstract

Through explication of a visual research method, this paper theorizes how masculine identity interacts with consumption - of imagery, products, desires, and passions in advertising and consumer culture. We analyze the male body as a discursive 'effect' created at the intersection of consumption and several marketing discourses such as advertising, market segmentation, and visual communication, balancing between brand strategy - what the marketer intends - and brand community - the free appropriation of meaning by the market. The paper's contribution rests in extending previous work on male representation into historical, ontological, and photographic realms, providing a necessary complement between understanding advertising meaning as residing within managerial strategy or wholly subsumed by consumer response. We argue that greater awareness of the connections between the traditions and conventions of visual culture and their impact on the production and consumption of advertising images leads to enhanced ability to understand how advertising works as a representational system and signifying practice.

Keywords: Advertising, Imagery, Identity, Representation, Gender, Masculinity

JEL Classification: M31, M37, Z10

Suggested Citation

Schroeder, Jonathan E. and Zwick, Detlev, Mirrors of Masculinity: Representation and Identity in Advertising Images. Consumption Markets and Culture, Vol. 7, pp. 21-52, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=499104

Jonathan E. Schroeder (Contact Author)

Rochester Institute of Technology ( email )

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Detlev Zwick

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

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