Evaluating Body Image Disparity Among Gay and Straight Men

By Kevin Christophersen, Margaret A. Murphy and Margaret Sullivan.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Over the past two decades, scholarly and popular interest in body consciousness among homosexual men has increased. Analysis of current print and electronic media (print advertisements and editorial photos, both on and off line) targeting gay men reveal muscular, well-defined men are the norm. In fact, most of the males displayed are muscular with broad chests, well-defined shoulders and biceps, and highly developed midsections. This heightened emphasis on the muscular ideal, also known as the “Adonis Complex,” (Pope, etc., 2000) led to this primary research regarding media influences among gay men and body image issues. HYPOTHESIS There is a correlation between increasing gay media focus on unrealistic body images and the body consciousness and body building behaviors of the gay male community. METHODOLOGY An online survey consisting of 13 questions was disseminated to 300+ randomly selected males 18-65 years old. This paper will analyze the results.

Keywords: Gender Studies, Gay Media, Male Body Imagery, Body Self Concept, Humanities Sexuality Trends

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 7, pp.139-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.466MB).

Kevin Christophersen

Associate Professor, Director of Advertising Studies, Marketing Communication, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Kevin Christophersen, MA, Associate Professor, Director of Advertising Studies in the Marketing Communication Department at Columbia College Chicago, combines his advertising expertise with his passion for teaching. Kevin started his career in Media at Leo Burnett where he worked with clients: Ameritech, All State, Dairy, Keebler, Kellogg, McDonald’s, Oldsmobile, Philip Morris, Procter and Gamble. Subsequently, he obtained positions in client service at various other agencies and supervised strategic communication clients including: Abbott Labs, Boise Cascade, and Liberty Federal Bank among others. Since joining Columbia full-time in 2001, Kevin has served, as the Marketing Communication Representative for the Columbia College Council, was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, and a founding member of Critical Encounters. He has published or co-published articles on various topics, such as: Male Body Imagery: Gay Media Today, Service Learning, and Creating Safe Classrooms for GLBT Students. In addition to his career in academia, Kevin served as the Director of Business Strategy and Marketing for Boystownchicago.com, maintains pro-bono clients with various community service organizations, works as a mentor for GLBT youth, is a member of the CAF- the Chicago Advertising Federation, and a paid marketing consultant.

Margaret A. Murphy

Marketing Communication, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Peg Murphy, BFA and MA, is a full-time instructor in Columbia College Chicago’s Marketing Communication Department. Ms. Murphy brings 20+ years of “applied advertising art” experience and a commitment to training tomorrow’s marketing stars today. Ms. Murphy’s professional advertising career has included work with corporations such as: Apple Computer, Boca Burger, Crate & Barrel, Marshall Field’s; Motorola, Nine West, Spiegel, True Value, Walgreens and more. Having worked at both global firms and “high spin” creative boutiques as part of the agency management and strategic planning team, Peg Murphy became one of the youngest Vice Presidents ever. In addition, Ms. Murphy has also served as the National Director of Corporate Communications for a designer retailer in high-end department stores (e.g., Neiman-Marcus, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, etc.) across the United States. She currently runs how own marketing consultancy and continues to assist smaller, non-profit companies today. At Columbia College, Peg Murphy is the Faculty Advisor to the Advertising Club and Co-Advisor for the American Ad Federation’s NSAC team. Ms. Murphy has also recently co-published a paper regarding Gay Media Imagery; presented a paper at the University of Coimbra, Portugal and co-led a workshop for the International Journal of Arts and Sciences.

Margaret Sullivan

Department Chairperson, Marketing Communication, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Margaret Sullivan came to Columbia College in 1979. In 1997, Ms. Sullivan became chair of the Marketing Communication Department. In 1993, Ms. Sullivan created the Summer Arts Camp at Columbia College, Chicago’s first all-arts camp/youth mentoring project. Margaret Sullivan has also served Chair of the Columbia College Council (for two terms), and Chair of the Council of Chairpersons. Ms. Sullivan has authored three books: Kitchen Angst: Have You Got Problems? Cook 'Em Out; Cook As I Say, Not As I Do; and The Date Book (all Chicago Review Press). With Thomas Hamilton and Herbert Allen, Ms. Sullivan recently published a textbook chapter on changing stigma through the media in On the Stigma of Mental Illness (American Psychological Association). One of Ms. Sullivan's other research interests is consumer consumption of vinyl records. She has presented research papers across the United States, and in Portugal, Germany, Canada and the Czech Republic. Ms. Sullivan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Psychology and Communication Arts from Loyola University, and received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2005 from Columbia College Chicago. Most recently, Ms. Sullivan is featured as one of the Happy 100 in Joanne Gordon's Be Happy at Work, Ballantine/Random House.

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