A Typology of Men's Conceptualizations of Ideal Masculinity in Advertising


This study explores men's conceptualizations of ideal masculinity in advertising. Specifically, this research uses a qualitative approach to examine a segment of men who fall into the Generation X cohort. These men, many of whom are Caucasian and single, are largely educated, from the Midwest, and outwardly heterosexual. Exploratory findings reveal the salience of eight themes of ideal masculinity. These include the Adventurer, the Athlete, the Attractive Man, the Daredevil, the Family Man, the Goal-Driven Man, the Individual, and the Strong Man. Three themes exemplifying the antithesis of ideal masculinity—the Player, the Partier, and the Slob—also emerged. This research enhances our knowledge of men's perceptions of ideal masculinity in advertising and provides new insights relative to past research. Findings identify messages that resonate with consumers' lives, as well as illuminate potential social implications.