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Title:How Male Consumers Construct and Negotiate Their Identities in the Marketplace: Three Essays
Author(s):Tuncay, Linda Y.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cele C. Otnes
Department / Program:Business Administration
Discipline:Business Administration
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:With few exceptions, male consumers rarely have been examined through the lens of gender. However, despite the lack of theoretical research in this area, men are becoming avid shoppers even in areas that traditionally have been stigmatized as feminine, such as grooming and fashion. Thus, it is important to understand how the contemporary man constructs his gendered self and how this identity influences his consumption behavior. One area where gender roles are observed and reinforced is in the domain of advertising. Advertisers often use ideal images of masculinity to target male consumers. Through an experiment, Essay One empirically investigates how men respond to idealized versus neutral images of masculinity in advertising and the conditions under which they may experience gender role discrepancy, or a gap between their actual sense of masculinity and their ideal sense of masculinity. The results suggest that men who are androgynous, or individuals who are high in both femininity and masculinity, may be negatively impacted by idealized gender images when they engage in self-evaluation. Essay Two takes an interpretive approach to examining how men conceptualize and experience notions of masculinity in advertising, based on in-depth interviews. Eight themes of ideal masculinity and three themes that reflected the antithesis of masculinity were identified by the informants. In addition, a typology of men's response styles to such images was developed. Findings indicate that depending on their response styles, men reveal their experiences of masculinity as one the following: authenticity, vulnerability, individuality, achievement, and elusiveness. Finally, Essay Three utilizes a multi-method approach, including a collage-construction technique, in-depth interviews, and shopping trips with consumers, to examine the metrosexual, or a man that encompasses both nontraditional and traditional aspects of masculinity. A conceptual framework for how metrosexuals experience tensions within the broader context of gender ideologies, and how these tensions influence their consumption behavior, is offered. Three tensions are identified---rationality/indulgence, individuality/conformity and heterosexuality/homosexuality. These tensions are pleasurable for some consumers, while for others, they appear to be a source of anxiety. Men engage in a variety of behaviors to resolve such tensions, such as masking, self-monitoring, and identity selection.
Issue Date:2005
Description:340 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3199158
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2005

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