I recently watched an episode of “The Girls Next Door,” entitled, “Mutiny on the Booty,” in order to analyze the concepts of masculinity and femininity as found in popular media. On this show these two concepts stand out in particular. The concept of masculinity can be seen by examining the role of the male character, Hugh Hefner, while the concept of femininity can be found in the roles of his girlfriends, Holly, Kendra, and Bridget. It is not difficult to see the messages being sent about the normative definitions of masculinity and femininity, as well as the traits that are left out from each idealized view.
On this show, Hugh Hefner is a perfect example of the view of masculinity that is portrayed in today’s media. According to this view, men are supposed to be the dominant figure in a household. Although they are his girlfriends, one gets from watching this show the feeling that Holly, Kendra, and Bridget are merely renting rooms in Hef’s house.
Men are also supposed to take control. In an episode where his girlfriends are in charge of photo shoots for a magazine, Hef still takes control of all decisions made about the publication of the photos without any input from them. This show in general also shows that men are supposed to make a living so that they can support themselves and their wives/girlfriends.
It is because Hef embodies these masculine ideals that so many men look up to and even idealize him. Another factor that contributes to this idealization involves the non-masculine traits that are omitted from the show and public view. One trait that is clearly left out of the portrayal of Hef is emotion. He never shows any type of emotion that might make him less than the man that he is. However, the editors of the show make sure to show Bridget crying when she is upset at her photo shoot, because being delicate and showing emotion are characteristics of the normative definition of femininity.