The Yardstick of Masculinity: Are You Buff Enough?
Tay, Shu Ying
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Using a social-psychological approach, this paper contributes to masculinity studies by elucidating how socio-political and cultural environment affects bodily practices and the construction of masculinity amongst male gym-goers. Drawing on in-depth interview data with 20 participants, this exploratory study seeks to deconstruct the meanings behind men’s engagement with the fitness culture, the constructions of masculinity through the body, and the impacts it has on men’s well-being. Connell’s (2005) thesis on hegemonic masculinity, Foucault’s framework on biopower and governmentality and Bourdieu’s (1986) theory on capital are also used as frameworks to analyse the findings. Findings revealed that the mechanics of culture industry and commoditisation of fitness have “created” an ideal male physique and yardstick of masculinity for men to adhere to. While the adherence of dominant ideals of a masculine body produces capital and privileges, it also reifies notions of normative masculinity and subordinate alternative versions, producing consequences. Keywords: Hegemonic masculinity, biopower, Governmentality, Body Word count: 9998
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University