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Men’s health, diet and masculinity: An audience reception study

Sweeney, Emma (2012) Men’s health, diet and masculinity: An audience reception study. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)


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Research into men’s health has focussed on hegemonic masculinity and the links to unhealthy lifestyle choices. The media often report gender differences in health and attribute men’s poor health to masculinity and their lack of responsibility for health. Thus it is important to consider men’s own accounts of health as well as audience reception of the media. A corpus of six UK newspaper articles were collected over six months and four males aged between 21 and 22 were interviewed. Discourse analysis was performed on the data, which generated three themes: women as facilitators, ‘sporty’ men are ‘masculine’ men and lack of knowledge. Young men’s accounts suggested diet is feminine, as women were positioned as more concerned with diet. Help seeking amongst men was deemed acceptable when framed in a masculine sense, but for other issues concerns over time wasting restrained pro-action. Newspaper representations bore little resemblance to young male’s accounts, who frequently resisted media discourses due to their lack of evidence.

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