What a Man Wants, What a Man Needs: Markers of Masculinity in Print Advertising

Main Article Content

Lars Blöhdorn
Sabrina Meyn-Kruse
Nadja Linke


Which advertisements appeal to a male readership? What are the underlying strategies used to target men? With the help of a corpus of adjectives derived from the men's magazine GQ, this study seeks to analyze how masculinity is constructed in print advertising. In doing so, it approaches the phenomenon of 'male language' from a sociolinguistic perspective focused on gender and employs quantitative as well as qualitative evaluation methods to reveal that current advertising campaigns construct 'male lifestyles' around products by using adjectives that convey simplistic and straight-forward messages, but also go beyond that by taking into account non-linear approaches when targeting a male audience. Finally, a comparison with advertisements in the women's magazine Cosmopolitan highlights the emergence of gender-specific features as well as gender-oriented product groups and reveals categories and concepts that are exclusive to their target genders.

Article Details

How to Cite
Blöhdorn, L., S. Meyn-Kruse, and N. Linke. “What a Man Wants, What a Man Needs: Markers of Masculinity in Print Advertising”. Linguaculture, vol. 12, no. 1, June 2021, pp. 129-4, doi:10.47743/lincu-2021-1-0192.
Author Biographies

Lars Blöhdorn, Kiel University, Germany

LARS M. BLÖHDORN, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English at Kiel University, Germany, his alma mater, from which he received an M.A. in 2002 and a Ph.D. in 2008. With more than 20 monographs in 4 languages, he has published widely in the area of Cultural Semantics, Syntax, and English Language Teaching, and has recently presented several papers at international conferences in Germany, Romania, the Ukraine, and Russia. As an author and translator, he has additionally specialized in the fields of Finance and Life Sciences, having published for the largest and most renowned medical centers, such as the Charité in Berlin, Germany.

Sabrina Meyn-Kruse

SABRINA MEYN-KRUSE holds an M.A. degree in English and American Literatures, Cultures, and Media as well as an M.Ed. degree in English and Physical Education from Kiel University, Germany. She currently teaches English, German, and Physical Education at a vocational school in Neumünster, Germany.

Nadja Linke

NADJA LINKE graduated from Kiel University, Germany, with M.A. degrees in Media Science and International Comparative Sociology as well as English and American Literatures, Cultures, and Media. After her graduation, she worked as an External Communication specialist for UNICEF Cambodia in Phnom Penh and Common Cause in Washington D.C., before starting her position as a Public Information Officer at the German Adult Education Association in Bonn, Germany.


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