Central to debates about the construction of masculinity in sociology is the influence of culture and what constitutes acceptable displays of masculinity. This article adopts a novel approach in examining this question. It adopts a summative content analysis, combined with a semiotic analysis, of 1,100 Facebook photographs, in order to explore the underlying meanings within the photos and the performances of masculinity. Facebook photographs from 44, straight, White, male, early emerging adults attending the same university are used as a representation of an individual’s ideal self. These are then analyzed in order to determine the behaviors endorsed by peer culture. It was found that the sample overwhelmingly adopted inclusive behaviors (including homosocial tactility, dancing, and kissing each other), and inclusive masculinity theory was utilized to contextualize participants’ constructions of masculinity. Thus, this research shows that emerging adult males at this university construct their masculine identities away from previous orthodox archetypes. It is argued that the reducing importance of gendered behavior patterns may represent an adoption of what are perceived as wider cultural norms and act as a symbol of adulthood to these early emerging adults.
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- emerging adulthood
- inclusive masculinity
- social networks