'Women have battled for years against stereotypical and sexist portrayals in the . However shows that men are increasingly the target for negative press.
The long-term of negative portrayals should particularly concern anyone who is
boys, says the author of the study, Dr Jim Macnamara.
Dr Macnamara, who works as a media researcher, conducted the research for his PhD at the Sydney. He has recently
publishedhis findings in a book, 'Media and Male Identity: The Making and Remaking of Men.'
As part of the
study, he undertook an extensive content analysis of mass media portrayals of men and male identity focusing on , features, current affairs, talk shows and lifestyle media. Over six months, the study involved detailed analysis of over 2,000 and programsegments.\
Dr Macnamara found that, by volume, 69 per cent of mass media reporting and commentary on men was unfavourable, compared with just 12 per cent favourable and 19 per cent neutral or .
Some of the recurring themes in media content portrayed men as violent, sexually abusive, unable to be trusted with
children, 'deadbeat dads', commitment phobic and in need of 're-construction'.
"Men were predominantly reported or portrayed in mass media as villains, aggressors, perverts and philanderers, with than 75 per cent of all mass media representations of men and male identity showing men in on one of these four ways," Dr Macnamara says.
Further, in somewhat of a back-handed compliment, when positive portrayals of men as sensitive, emotional or caring were presented, these were described as men's and boys' 'feminine side.'
'The idealised of the metrosexual - largely a of the media - only further adds to the confusion being felt particularly by boys trying to find their identity in the ,' Dr Macnamara says.
Negative stereotyping of men and male identity can contribute to significant in three key ways, Dr Macnamara warns.
'Highly negative views of men and male identity provide little by way of positive for boys to find out what it means to be a man and gives boys little basis for self-esteem.'
'In the current where there is an identified lack of positive male role models in the through absentee fathers in many families, and a shortage of male teachers, the lack of positive role models in the media and presence of overwhelmingly negative images should be of concern.'
This makes the research not only of relevance to men, but also for women, he says.
'Women who are the of sons have equal cause for concern with the trend towards demonising, marginalising and trivialising of men and male identity.'
'Ultimately such portrayals could lead to negative social and even costs for society in areas such as male health, rising suicide rates and family disintegration,' he warns."There we can see that this idea of the "feminine-metrosexual" man , is a media construct, which further creates a distorted view of natural masculine traits (having beards and body hair). It is a shame that here in the US, the Universities have shown no interest in making such studies to find out how men are portrayed in our media. Kind of ironic, when the feminist movement claims that we live in a patriarchal nation interested in looking out for men and boys first.
Sources for the study:
"Men become the main target in the new gender wars" by Phys.org and University of Western Sydney