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Heterosexuality in Men Magazines

Heterosexuality in Men Magazines

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Published by: kikook on Jun 26, 2010
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Communication and Computing Research Centre 
Communication and Computing ResearchCentre papers 
Sheffield Hallam University
Year 

’tits and ass and porn and fighting’: maleheterosexuality in magazines for men
F. Attwood
Sheffield Hallam University, f.attwood@shu.ac.uk
c
SAGE PublicationsATTWOOD, F. (2005). ‘tits and ass and porn and fighting’: male hetero-sexuality in magazines for men. International journal of cultural studies, 8(1),87-104
This paper is posted at Sheffield Hallam University Research Archive.http://digitalcommons.shu.ac.uk/ccrc papers/20
 
 1
‘tits and ass and porn and fighting’
1111
: male heterosexualityin magazines for menPublished in
International Journal of Cultural Studies
, Vol. 8(1). 2005. pp.87-104. Abstract
This paper examines the presentation of maleheterosexuality in British soft core pornographic and men’slifestyle magazines, looking across these formats at therange of conventions and discourses they share. It maps outthe key features of male heterosexuality in thesepublications, focusing on a sample of British magazinescollected in June 2003 across both soft core and lifestyleformats, and on the new men’s weeklies,
Nuts
and
ZooWeekly 
, launched in January 2004. The depiction of the malebody and its relation to sexual pleasure and thepresentation and investigation of heterosexual activity areset in the broader historical context of men’s print mediaand the current socio-cultural context of sex and genderrepresentation.
Key words
Magazines, masculinity, lifestyle, soft core pornographyThis paper examines the presentation of maleheterosexuality in British soft core pornographic and men’slifestyle magazines, looking across these formats at therange of conventions and discourses they share. Myintention is to map out the key features which emerge inconstructing a discourse of male heterosexuality and mydiscussion will focus on a sample of British magazinescollected in June 2003 across both soft core and lifestyleformats
2
, and on the new men’s weeklies,
Nuts
and
ZooWeekly 
, launched in January 2004
3
. Particular attentionwill be paid to the presentation of the male body and itsrelation to sexual pleasure, and to the ways in which men’smagazines present and investigate sex and sexuality. Thesefeatures will be set in the broader historical context of
1
This depiction of men’s weekly magazines is from Laura Barton ‘It’sAll Gone Tits Up’ in
Weekend Guardian
, Jan 17 2004, p.5.
2
The sample consisted of
FHM 
,
Loaded 
,
GQ 
,
Men’s Health
,
Jack
,
Attitude
,
Bizarre
,
Mayfair 
,
Men Only 
,
Razzle
and
Playboy 
. Although
Playboy 
is an American publication it was included as an example ofvery upmarket porn, a category no longer found on the British ‘top-shelf’.
3
From January to June 2004.
 
 2
men’s print media and in the current socio-politicalcontext of sex and gender representation.
 magazines for men
Existing accounts of magazines for men have tendedtowards the discussion and analysis of two quite distinctcategories of publication. Soft core pornographic magazineshave featured as part of a more general discussion aboutpornography and its representation of women, though it mustbe said that there has been surprisingly little work inthis area (Attwood, 2002). Men’s lifestyle magazines havegenerally been examined in relation to the promotion ofconsumer lifestyles across a range of media, or in terms ofthe emergence of contemporary masculinities, particularlyin relation to new figures of masculinity such as the ‘newman’ or the ‘new lad’. I would like to argue that it mayalso be productive to consider these categories in relationto each other. As Barbara Ehrenreich (1983) has argued,early lifestyle magazines such as
Playboy 
have advocatedsexual hedonism, ‘pleasurable consumption’ and a refusal ofdomestication (Ehrenreich 1983: p.42 - 51) – qualitiesevident in both contemporary soft porn and men’s lifestyletitles - since the consumer boom of the 1950s and early1960s. This
 
combination of sexual content with thepromotion of a broader masculine lifestyle focused onyouth, consumption and the bachelor life (Osgerby, 2001:p.x, Ehrenreich, 1983: p.45) can be seen as the precursorand template for both subsequent soft core porn and men’slifestyle magazines.The development of British soft core pornography canbe traced within this broad regime of representation.Initially marked by the tame glossiness of the
Playboy 
style, British soft core style has begun to merge on theone hand, with a harder porn style, and on the other, withthe contemporary lifestyle market. In the 1970s, as theporn industry moved out of sex shops and into the‘respectable market place’ (Moye, 1985: p.44), newer,harder and more downmarket porn mags such as
Hustler 
 appeared in the United States, and as
Playboy 
’s circulationbegan to fall in the 1980s, newer porn magazines emerged inBritain too. Brian McNair describes a ‘hierarchy ofrespectability’ in British soft core magazine production inwhich publications drew variously on the glossyaspirational lifestyle personified by
Playboy 
, on a Britishtradition of ‘dirty postcards and sexual innuendos’, and onthe harder conventions of American and European pornography(McNair, 1996: p.110). Upmarket magazines continued topackage sex as part of a broader lifestyle for men, whilemore downmarket publications like
Razzle
promoted a cruder,‘dirtier’ and more light-hearted take on sex, with a muchheavier reliance on images of highly sexed ‘ordinary’ women

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