Two recent films illustrate perfectly how people ‘do’ gender, how they ‘perform’ it, and mediate masculinity and femininity. At the same time, both films omit crucial questions concerning the consequences of what being a man and being a woman demands today.

Mansome is a threadbare documentary with little insight into modern male maintenance
A hilarious look at men’s identity in the 21st century. Models, actors, experts and comedians weigh in on what it is to be a man in a world where the definition of masculinity has become as diverse as a hipster’s facial hair in Williamsburg. The follicles of men’s idiosyncratic grooming habits are combed over as men finally take a look in the mirror.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orxblTG66Dg

Sexy Baby investigate a cultural shift in the sexual landscape caused by adult entertainment.
The cyber age is creating a new sexual landscape. Having pubic hair is considered unattractive and “gross.” Most youngsters know someone who has emailed or texted a naked photo of themselves. Facebook has created an arena where kids compete to be “liked” and constantly worry about what image to portray. Much of what was once private is now made public. Sexy Baby looks at how the adult entertainment world is trickling into the mainstream world and affecting mainstream lives in different ways.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykkmRs3T8HY

Sexy Baby portraits three women who negotiate their role as women in an era in which pressure to conform to certain ideals continues: Winnifred is 12 and defines herself and her generation as pioneers, as she mediates her Facebook identity (“30% of my life”) and her reallife one. Modelling her awakening womanhood is a major part of growing up and it is affected by others, most notably her parents, friends, and Lady Gaga. Laura is 22; she used to work as a model but now is an assistant kindergarten teacher. She has been saving up for two years to pay for her labiaplasty. Not because there is anything wrong with her labia, but because she thinks “looking like a porn star” is what turns guys on. Finally, Nichole, a.k.a. Nakita, is a former porn star and pole dancer who observes that the adult industry has infiltrated the mainstream. Now that she wishes to start a family she needs to reconcile her past identity and its values with her desired one of being a mother.

Mansome considers the male and handsomeness in the present age. Exemplified by physical features of the man addressed in sections about the moustache, beard, body, hair, and face, the film presents individual stories as well as expert comments and animation. Mansome producers Jason Bateman and Will Arnett visit a spa. During the various treatments, including massages by women masseurs, they discuss modern manhood, grooming, and womanhood.

Sexual identity is a complex thing. Expressing oneself in terms of gender means manipulating symbols to manage the presence of both the masculine and the feminine. 1)Martin, Diane M., John w. Schouten, and James H. McAlexander. 2006. Claiming the throttle: Multiple femininities in a hyper-masculine subculture. Consumption Markets & Culture 9, no. 3: 171–205. Both are constructs and evolve and change over time. 2)Beynon, John. 2002. Masculinities and culture. Philadelphia, PA: open uP can be expressed in many ways. Doing gender is closely related to consumption. 3)Schroeder, Jonathan e. 2003. Guest editor’s introduction: Consumption, gender, identity. Consumption Markets & Culture 6, no. 1: 1–4.

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References   [ + ]

1. Martin, Diane M., John w. Schouten, and James H. McAlexander. 2006. Claiming the throttle: Multiple femininities in a hyper-masculine subculture. Consumption Markets & Culture 9, no. 3: 171–205.
2. Beynon, John. 2002. Masculinities and culture. Philadelphia, PA: open uP
3. Schroeder, Jonathan e. 2003. Guest editor’s introduction: Consumption, gender, identity. Consumption Markets & Culture 6, no. 1: 1–4.