Monday, May 28, 2012

Masculinity, Consumption and Health

I have recently finished an article on representations of men's health in the promotion of filtered cigarettes and beer (Millers Lite). The paper draws on the history of men's consumption, especially the literature on men's magazines, as well as the literature on men's consumption of health - there are a few articles on Men's Health Magazine, for example.In trying to think how to develop this line of inquiry into masculinity, consumption and health I have been thinking about the role of popular music. Mention of masculinity and men's health in the context of popular music brings to mind images of drinking and excess. But what are the kinds of message being invoked by the image of now much older male artists aging gracefully-think about the contribution of the Rolling Stones to the reinventions of the aging process, think of a reformed Jimmy Barnes- who was known to drink two bottles of Vodka a day and claimed he had only performed about three shows in his life sober - and who stopped drinking in 2002 and now appears as an exemplar  good health.

For a related study - of representations of disability in popular music - see:
George McKay, "Crippled with nerves: Popular Music and Polio", Popular Music, 28:3 (October 2009), 341-365.
George McKay, Shakin' All Over: Popular Music and Disability, University of Michigan Press, Forthcoming.
For another innovative approach to the question of men, masculinity and health see:
Alondro Nelson, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

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