A 'manual on masculinity'? The consumption and use of mediated images of masculinity among teenage boys in Ireland
Ging, Debbie (2005) A 'manual on masculinity'? The consumption and use of mediated images of masculinity among teenage boys in Ireland. Irish Journal of Sociology, 14 (2). pp. 29-52. ISSN 0791-6035
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Most of the research on masculinity in Ireland stresses the influences of family, work and education in the construction of gender (Ferguson, 1998; Ferguson and Synott, 1995; Ferguson and Reynolds, 2001; McKeown
et al., 1998, Owens, 2000). Although the impact of the entertainment media is regularly alluded to, there is a dearth of empirical work in this area. While it is generally agreed that mediated images play a highly influential role in young people's lives, both the nature and the scope of this influence remain unclear in the absence of concrete ethnographies of reception. This paper
discusses the findings of a quantitative and qualitative investigation into Irish male teenagers’ consumption and reception of a broad range of media texts and discusses these findings in relation to the relevant literature. It
points to the shortcomings of both 'hypodermic needle' theories, which claim direct media influence, and of some active audience theories, which posit consumers as impervious to ideological influence. Contrary to popular discourses which frame the media as an autonomous, regressive force that lags behind a more progressive reality, the findings presented here suggest that mediated fictions are part of wider 'gender scripts' (Nixon, 1996) that both inform and are informed by the social structures within which (male) viewers are immersed.
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