I'll post some articles I find, and you guys can give me your thoughts... whatever comes to mind. It woud be even better if you could relate it to specific media text, too... popular movies, TV shows, etc. How the Media Define Masculinity Families, friends, teachers, and community leaders all play a role in helping boys define what it means to be a man. Mainstream media representations also play a role in reinforcing ideas about what it means to be a "real" man in our society. In most media portrayals, male characters are rewarded for self-control and the control of others, aggression and violence, financial independence, and physical desirability. In 1999, Children Now, a California-based organization that examines the impact of media on children and youth, released a report entitled Boys to Men: Media Messages About Masculinity. The report argues that the media’s portrayal of men tends to reinforce men’s social dominance. The report observes that: * the majority of male characters in media are heterosexual * male characters are more often associated with the public sphere of work, rather than the private sphere of the home, and issues and problems related to work are more significant than personal issues * non-white male characters are more likely to experience personal problems and are more likely to use physical aggression or violence to solve those problems Children Now conclude that these dominant trends in the media’s portrayal of men reinforce and support social attitudes that link masculinity to power, dominance and control. In Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity, Jackson Katz and Jeremy Earp argue that the media provide an important perspective on social attitudes—and that while the media are not the cause of violent behaviour in men and boys, they do portray male violence as a normal expression of masculinity. In a roundtable discussion that appeared in Châtelaine Magazine, TV journalist Denise Bombardier underlined the difference in the way the media treats violence, depending on the sex of the aggressor. "In Quebec, when a man kills his son, the headlines read ‘Another Case of Domestic Violence,’ she notes. If it’s a woman who kills her son, it is reported 'A Woman Depressed.'" The portrayal and acceptance of men by the media as socially powerful and physically violent serve to reinforce assumptions about how men and boys should act in society, how they should treat each other, as well as how they should treat women and children. Common Stereotypes of Men in Media Various media analysts and researchers argue that media portrayals of male characters fall within a range of stereotypes. The report Boys to Men: Media Messages About Masculinity, identifies the most popular stereotypes of male characters as the Joker, the Jock, the Strong Silent Type, the Big Shot and the Action Hero. The Joker is a very popular character with boys, perhaps because laughter is part of their own "mask of masculinity." A potential negative consequence of this stereotype is the assumption that boys and men should not be serious or emotional. However, researchers have also argued that humorous roles can be used to expand definitions of masculinity. The Jock is always willing to "compromise his own long-term health; he must fight other men when necessary; he must avoid being soft; and he must be aggressive." By demonstrating his power and strength, the jock wins the approval of other men and the adoration of women. The Strong Silent Type focuses on "being in charge, acting decisively, containing emotion, and succeeding with women." This stereotype reinforces the assumption that men and boys should always be in control, and that talking about one’s feelings is a sign of weakness. The Big Shot is defined by his professional status. He is the "epitome of success, embodying the characteristics and acquiring the possessions that society deems valuable." This stereotype suggests that a real man must be economically powerful and socially successful. The Action Hero is "strong, but not necessarily silent. He is often angry. Above all, he is aggressive in the extreme and, increasingly over the past several decades, he engages in violent behavior." Another common stereotype... The Buffoon commonly appears as a bungling father figure in TV ads and sitcoms. Usually well-intentioned and light-hearted, these characters range from slightly inept to completely hopeless when it comes to parenting their children or dealing with domestic (or workplace) issues.