Gender Representations in Social Media and Formations of Masculinity
Keywords:Gender, Masculinity, Social Media, Representation of Self
Social media has become a primary socializer as it has the ability to shape the identity and perspectives of its users. Gender socialization is the process in which people learn and internalize norms and behaviours associated with their respective gender. Through their own social media platforms, influencers post representations of self that they feel represent themselves in the world. Since these influencers are popular, many adolescents are able to see and process these photos/videos as a part of their own process of identity formation. This study asks the question, how do male influencers demonstrate masculinity through their posts and comments? The literature reviewed for this study offers insight on the formation and representation of masculinity. Key concepts include hegemonic masculinity and defensive heterosexuality which aid in understanding masculinity as it is manifested in our society. The study sample includes ten male instagram influencers. Five photos were taken from their account that demonstrated representation of self and were each judged based on a set of criteria consisting of six factors. The results of this study show that these influencers are in fact demonstrating specific modes of masculinity through their photos which is consistent with how masculinity is portrayed in society today. However, these photos also demonstrate that some male influencers are shifting away from patriarchal forms of masculinity and are showing more interest in grooming and fashion, therefore highlighting a metrosexual mode of masculinity.
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