Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminology


Mindy Bradley

Committee Member

Shauna Morimoto

Second Committee Member

Brandon Crawford

Third Committee Member

Jonathan Marion


Content Analysis, Focus Groups, Hegemonic Masculinity, Homosocial Desire, Masculinity, Playboy


Over the last several decades, a growing field of scholarship unpacks the concept of masculinity and its implications for gender and social hierarchy. Of particular interest are the ways in which hegemonic masculinity is perpetuated through the media and social discourse. The current study uses content analysis to highlight themes in the commodification of masculinity depicted in a series of Playboy Magazine’s “What Sort of Man Reads Playboy?” ads throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Conducting focus groups, I then use responses to these historical images and a contemporary equivalent to explore the persistence and evolution of portrayals of masculine ideals and media-depicted masculinity. For example, although literature provides reasons to believe that there have been significant transformations regarding social depictions of men and masculinity, scholars have yet to fully examine these possibilities. Combining the content analysis of Playboy images of hegemonic masculinity with current perceptions from young adult males can provide a more complete understanding of cultural shifts and consistencies in how men understand and define what it means to be a man and the extent to which societal gender roles and expectations have evolved or diversified over time.