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The Spornosexual: Representation, Sports, and Masculinity


The Spornosexual: Representation, Sports, and Masculinity

Engelhardt, Shany (2018) The Spornosexual: Representation, Sports, and Masculinity. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Society continuously changes the parameters of what constitutes the ideal male form and thus the preferred notion of masculinity. The definition of masculinity itself is simultaneously a place in gender relations, practices through which men and women express their position in said gender relations, and the effects those practices have on culture, bodily experiences, and personality. The prevailing image of hegemonic masculinity disseminated by the contemporary visual culture is one of athleticism, virility, and dominance. Coined the ‘spornosexual’ by journalist Mark Simpson, the term refers to a second-generation metrosexual: a man who previously aimed to be admired for his well-groomed appearance and fashion sense now seeks adoration for a muscular body often modeled after athletes from others while simultaneously self-fetishizing said body. Taking a formalist, semiotic, and social constructivist approach to my research, I demonstrate that the spornosexual persona is the latest iteration of a recurring male archetype meant to reaffirm the dominance of white heterosexual men at times when their position is threatened. I posit that contemporary popular culture has re-appropriated past iterations of masculinity, archetypes if you will, that have proven to be successful in the reaffirmation of male heterosexual dominance. Visual representations range from Eugen Sandow (1867-1925), Bob Mizer’s 1950’s Beefcake, to fashion advertisement campaigns by Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, D. Hedral, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, and Dirk Bikkembergs.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Engelhardt, Shany
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:September 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Potvin, John
Keywords:masculinity, fashion, sport, advertising, photography
ID Code:984067
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 15:03
Last Modified:16 Nov 2018 15:03
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