Tag Archives: Christiano Ronaldo

Christiano Ronaldo, Emporio Armani and homoeroticism

(Images obtained from Emporio Armani website: see link below)

A previous post of mine on Social Psychology Eye (June 22, 2009) about Christiano Ronaldo, argued that he was not just a footballing superstar, but like David Beckham, a commercial ‘brand’ advertising and marketing the likes of Emporio Armani or his own CR7 products. I argued that the Ronaldo ‘brand’ and avant-garde image allowed heterosexual men to engage with ‘metrosexual’ fashion and grooming products. However, one of the problems I signposted with the Ronaldo ‘brand’ (and others) was the open invitation of a homoerotic gaze. That is, men visually enjoying other men’s semi-naked bodies. It is argued this has (Simpson, 2004: 2):

…“queered” all the codes of official masculinity of the last hundred years or so: It’s passive where it should be active, desired where it should be desiring, looked at where it should be always looking.

This so called ‘queering’ of the male gaze unsettles traditional heteronormative hegemonic masculinity (Connell, 1995) in opening up a space for questions over gender and sexuality identity to be raised. Marketers are acutely aware of this tension and the imperative of disavowing homosexuality and promoting gender difference in order to allow men to enjoy images of other men (Edwards, 2003).

Ulrich Beck’s (1997) provides a useful framework for understanding how marketers deal with the undermining of traditional heteronormative hegemonic masculine scripts. Where the potential for uncertainty arises (e.g. other men’s semi-naked bodies and advertising feminised products), marketers attempt to construct certainty by dismissing alternative forms of sexuality altogether or by rendering consumption unproblematic. In other words they ‘construct certitude’ in order to ‘attempt to replace questioning and doubt with more certain frames of reference’ (Jackson et al., 2001: 129). One of the more prominent ways in which this is achieved is by photographing men with women in order to signpost heterosexuality. The way this is achieved in the photographs of Ronaldo advertising Emporio Armani’s summer 2010 underwear collection (above) is by reference to a masculine marker e.g. sporting and muscular poses, and by omitting direct eye contact with male viewers.

Emporio Armani’s summer 2010 underwear collection for men

Cristiano Ronaldo: The Brand

Masculinities and consumption


Metrosexuality and hegemonic masculinity

A Metrosexual Christmas?

BiothermMetrosexual icons such as David Beckham and Christiano Ronaldo have inspired a new generation of men to spruce up their act and embrace the ever-growing range of grooming products designed with men in mind. Many of these products as likely to feature in style magazines, newspapers, on television and billboards, in the run up to Christmas. With retailers expecting sales to be brisker than last year (Centre for Retail Research, 2009), one might also expect the market for men’s grooming products to follow suit. However, although Mintel (2007) estimated the overall market size for men’s grooming products was a good-looking £806m, it still continued to exhibit unfulfilled potential.

The slow uptake of these products seems to be because of the continued identification of grooming and self-presentation practices with women and femininity. Harrison’s (2008) visual semiotic analysis of male cosmetics advertised online by Studio5ive found that the organisation reframed mascara and eyeliner in masculine ways (‘manscara’; ‘guy-liner’) in order to distinguish it from women’s products. Those men who actively engaged with such products, risked being critiqued and rejected as non-masculine (hence accusations of homosexuality, effeminacy and narcissism) and so tended to invoke conventional masculinity signifiers (e.g. heterosexual prowess, self-respect etc.) in order to justify their consumption (Hall, 2009). The apparent difficulty men face in enjoying such hitherto feminine identity products shows how more conventional or ‘hegemonic masculinities’ (see: Connell, 1995; Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005) still remain culturally available and are likely to influence men’s (and women’s) consumption patterns this Christmas.

square-eyeAnalysing Discursive Constructions of ‘Metrosexual’ Masculinity Online: ‘What does it matter, anyway?’

square-eyeThe Journal of Popular Culture

square-eyeMen’s Grooming Habits – UK – March 2007

square-eyeUK Christmas retail sales to rise 1.9 pct