Title of Abstract

Celebrity Influence on Black Men's Constructions of Masculinity

Submitting Student(s)

Savannah StinsonFollow

Session Title

Inclusion and Diversity Across Disciplines

Faculty Mentor

Michael Sickels, Ph.D; sicklesm@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty Mentor

Michael Sickels, Ph.D

Abstract

In March 2020, retired basketball icon Dwyane Wade announced that his daughter Zaya is transgender. Though discussions surrounding Dwyane Wade’s parenting erupted on social media, the announcement also raises interesting questions about the impact of celebrity influence on masculinity. The purpose of this study is to analyze constructions of black masculinity and the influence of celebrity. I conducted six semi-structured interviews with black men in college, ages 18-25. I found that (1) black men in college embraced traditional ideas of masculinity despite negative portrayals of black masculinity in the media; (2) black men view masculinity as unfinished, something they must strive to achieve. While this is partly a consequence of the unattainable standards of hegemonic masculinity for black men—the view of masculinity as unfinished may be beneficial, opening black men to changing notions of gender outside of the traditional masculine ideals. Lastly, (3) the conversations surrounding Dwyane Wade and Zaya have opened discussions about how celebrity shapes black men’s understanding of gender.

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

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Course Assignment

MCNR 300 - Fortner-Wood

Grant Support

Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Program, Winthrop University, Summer 2020

Start Date

16-4-2021 3:15 PM

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Apr 16th, 3:15 PM

Celebrity Influence on Black Men's Constructions of Masculinity

In March 2020, retired basketball icon Dwyane Wade announced that his daughter Zaya is transgender. Though discussions surrounding Dwyane Wade’s parenting erupted on social media, the announcement also raises interesting questions about the impact of celebrity influence on masculinity. The purpose of this study is to analyze constructions of black masculinity and the influence of celebrity. I conducted six semi-structured interviews with black men in college, ages 18-25. I found that (1) black men in college embraced traditional ideas of masculinity despite negative portrayals of black masculinity in the media; (2) black men view masculinity as unfinished, something they must strive to achieve. While this is partly a consequence of the unattainable standards of hegemonic masculinity for black men—the view of masculinity as unfinished may be beneficial, opening black men to changing notions of gender outside of the traditional masculine ideals. Lastly, (3) the conversations surrounding Dwyane Wade and Zaya have opened discussions about how celebrity shapes black men’s understanding of gender.