Summary: The caption below this YouTube ad reads "We're not saying this body wash will make your man smell into a romantic millionaire jet fighter pilot, but we are insinuating it." In the span of about 30 seconds, the Old Spice model triumphs as a hypermasculine male. He has the body, the sexy voice, the self-confidence, the money, and the romance. Although the commercial appears to be poking fun at hypermasculinity, it is important to note that the commercial works because consumers broadly share a set of relatively narrow ideas about masculinity. In particular, the clip is useful for introducing R. W. Connell's concept of hegemonic masculinity, which draws attention to the way masculinity is constructed in relation to other subordinated masculinities and in relation to women. For Connell, the concept is "a social ascendancy achieved in a play of social forces that extends beyond contests of brute power into the organization of private life and cultural processes." In other words, Isaiah Mustafa embodies a masculinity in the ad that is hegemonic because it is favored and promoted throughout major social institutions, and among other places, it can be readily found mass media content. A point of discussion is whether the ad uses satire to challenge this hegemonic form of masculinity, or does it only succeed in reinforcing it? Note that the clip can also be analyzed for playing a role in the construction of feminine desire. While the audience is laughing about this tongue-in-cheek form of masculinity, they are likely taking it as a given that all women want this kind of man and the diamonds he holds.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist