Men, Music and Masculinity

Staff Seminar, 6 February 2013 led by Dr Chris Tinker, Reader in French, Studies in European & International Cultures & Societies (SEICS) Research Group

‘Midlife Pop Masculinities in the Here and Now’

In a recent staff seminar Chris Tinker – whose research focuses on popular music and media in France and Britain – examined recent UK newspaper coverage of male musicians involved in the Here and Now 1980s nostalgia shows, notably Boy George, Jason Donovan and Rick Astley. Boy George, a key figure in the New Romantic scene, came to prominence in 1982 as the lead singer of the band Culture Club; Astley and Donovan (a former star in the Australian soap opera Neighbours), launched pop careers in the late 1980s as part of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman (SAW) ‘hit factory’ of singers.

Chris revealed how recent newspaper coverage effectively promotes a range of traditional and newer masculinities during midlife: performers are presented as rational, mature, emotional, sensitive, nurturing and less competitive. The recent coverage of male pop stars during midlife is something of a departure from the kind of newspaper representations described in an earlier study of European newspapers (Jeff Hearn et al. 2004), and which noted an association between men and violence/crime and an absence of men in family roles. The further details of the research, see Chris’s article ‘Midlife Pop Masculinities in the Here and Now’ recently published in the journal InMedia.