Fashioning masculinity: Men Only, consumption and the development of marketing in the 1930s

J. Greenfield, S. O'Connell, Chris Reid

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    Historians are increasingly aware of the extent to which notions of the female consumer were commercially orchestrated in interwar Britain. Popular women's magazines of the period were at the centre of this process, redefining pre-1914 notions of femininity in the context of the socio-economic realities of interwar Britain. Less is known about parallel efforts to redefine notions of masculinity and the male consumer. Men Only, first published in 1935, was probably the most innovative of these endeavours. It is significant not only because it offers evidence of the commercial orchestration of masculinity, but also for what it reveals of middle-class male fears and fantasies in 1930s' Britain. The magazine offered a critique of the growing domestication of British society, was anti-feminist, presented female nudes and other titillation for the male reader, and championed a heroic masculinity. By declaring its heterosexuality. Men Only was able to promote a form of masculine identity based on consumption and fashion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)457-476
    Number of pages20
    JournalTwentieth Century British History
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


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