Negotiating feminised discourses: a discursive analysis of how men construct body image and appearance-related matters.

Candice Whitaker, Brendan Gough, Helen Fawkner, Nova Deighton-Smith

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

    Abstract

    Dominant masculine behavioural ideals present barriers to men’s discussion of sensitive issues, routinely positioned as a feminine endeavour. Recent increases in public dissemination of male-specific health and wellbeing information has had some success in legitimising young men’s engagement with certain topics. However, body image and appearance-related matters remain distinctly feminised in social discourses and thus, a contentious issue for young men to navigate. A consequential tendency for non-disclosure has troubled research investigations in the area, resulting in inconsistencies in the literature and a lack of evidence-based knowledge application. We explored how young men construct, negotiate and legitimate their engagement in appearance-related discussions. Thirteen young men aged 18-35 years (M=27) took part in semi-structured interviews lasting between 23 and 73 minutes (M=41.5). A critical discursive approach to analysis highlighted three main interpretative repertoires drawn upon by the young men to construct body image and appearance-related matters: ‘Women have it worse’, ‘As long as you’re healthy’, and ‘The bigger issues of masculinity’. Results indicated a current lack of valid (masculine) body image-related discourses available to young men, resulting in implicit reproduction of the topic as feminised. However, participation was legitimated by self-positioning as an emancipatory agent, where discussion of sensitive issues was reconstructed as performing traditional masculine attributes of strength and confidence. Findings are discussed in relation to the importance of designing intervention strategies which take a deficit of (masculine) discursive resources into account, as well as identifying opportunities to position engagement as an emancipatory activity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021
    EventCreating Bridges
    1st Conference of the Association
    of European Qualitative Researchers
    in Psychology (EQuiP)
    - Thessaloniki/Online, Greece
    Duration: 16 Jun 202119 Jun 2021
    https://www.equip2021.gr/programme/preliminary-programme

    Conference

    ConferenceCreating Bridges
    1st Conference of the Association
    of European Qualitative Researchers
    in Psychology (EQuiP)
    Country/TerritoryGreece
    Period16/06/2119/06/21
    Internet address

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