My research is engaged in the theorisation of postfeminist masculinities and their representation in contemporary media. Taking as its focus key genres of film and television in which we can see encounters between hegemonic masculinity and feminine cultures played out, this thesis aims to explicate some of the tensions inherent in postfeminist masculine identities as presented by the media. Any complex and significant theorisation of a postfeminist masculinity (or masculinities) is strangely absent from the large body of scholarship on postfeminism, and this is one gap that my work seeks to address.
My thesis examines constructions of postfeminist masculinity in a number of key film and television genres: lifestyle and makeover television, the sitcom, and the Hollywood romantic comedy. I am interested in the persistence of traditional cultural representations of masculinity (e.g. the carefree bachelor) which sit alongside emergent formulations of gender which characterise men as requiring transformation into capable, coupled, employed, domesticated and aestheticised individuals. Does "male makeover" exist in film and television, and what forms does it take?
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Judd Apatow, 2004)
The thesis is also particularly concerned with the relationship between men and domestic space. Paying close attention to production design and presentation, I examine how certain homes in television are characterised as masculine spaces. I am also interested in the ways in which space, everyday tasks and roles within the home are characterised as gendered, and how men's engagement with domestic life has in many ways been rendered 'invisible'.
How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2005-)
Texts considered include:
How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2005- )
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (Bravo, 2003-3007)
Who Does What? (BBC, 2011)
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Judd Apatow, 2005)
Friends (NBC/WB, 1994-2004)
I Love You, Man (John Hamburg, 2009)
This research is funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council doctoral award scheme.