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Mediated Desire in Lad´s Magazines
Stockholm University.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

While the successful genre of the so called lad´s magazine, are relatively new media

they initially captured a diverse market characterized by the desire for more traditional

lifestyle magazines for men, reliant on (hetero) sexualized imagery and a more

‘hedonistic predatory construction of masculinity’ (Coy & Horvath, 2011, Attwood,

2005; Benwell, 2004; Stevenson, Jackson, & Brooks, 2003). In addition to global media

access through the Internet, magazines such as Playboy, FHM and Loaded are part of a

transnational market. As lifestyle magazines aimed at young men that feature young

women in sexualized poses, they have been analyzed as examples of a ”new” ironic

dimension of masculine identity, as well as normalizing pornography (Benwell 2002;

Mooney 2008).

Discussions of the gendered nature of pornographic images have a long

history of locating (traditionally) female sexuality as passive and receptive, and male

sexuality as active, penetrating. Today studies have a more varied and complex

understanding, pointing to the complex ways that desire can operate (cf. Kipnis 1999;

Gibson 2004). Some critics argue that in porn a narcissistic relationship with the self is

promoted, nothing more and nothing less (cf. Gade 1997; Attwood 2002). On a

symbolic level though, the embodiment of sexuality in different media formats and

content such as soft- as well as hardcore, expresses and defines gender, race, and class

in sometimes, ambiguous ways.

The paper will discuss questions of gender and embodied sexuality in two

Swedish lad´s magazines, Slitz and Moore, arguing that the visual representation of

femininity in soft-core images expresses some of the paradoxes and contradictions that

surround heterosexual desire and the male body. In these magazines, as well as in

Loaded and FHM, the male body is more or less absent from view leading to a strong

gendered division between facial masculinity and corporeal femininity. However, what

we learn to recognize as categories of gender, race and class are not just classification or

social positions but a mixture of features of a culture that are read onto bodies as

personal dispositions. White femaleness for example is marked as the soft-core image

par excellence in Slitz and Moore, pointing to the need also for intersectional analyses

when discussing concepts of “the new” masculinity produced in lad´s magazines.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-111042OAI: diva2:773975
Gender, Race and Representation in Magazines and New Media Conference, Cornell University, Ithaca New York, October 25-27 2013
Available from: 2014-12-20 Created: 2014-12-20 Last updated: 2014-12-20

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