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‘Marketplace Masculinities’ Within the International Public Arena of Global Media: Towards a Christian Spiritual Approach to Male Embodiment and ‘Genital Ensoulment’

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AbstractUnder the pressure of deconstruction, criticism within the gender discourse, and the fading away of the traditional patriarchal male role functions, male identity is in a crisis. Due to the impact of the mass media, masculinities are currently mostly determined by the healthiness, body-image and achievement ethics of a market-driven economy (marketplace masculinities). It becomes closely associated with the instant need-satisfaction of a consumerist society. As a public issue, maleness is moulded by power, six-pack fitness, wealth, success, money and phallus. Plastic instant masculinity is shaped by the ancient old symbol of phallus, the post-modern Zeus: Rambo, and the leisure idol of playboy. This article considers the extent to which the Christian spiritual notion of phronesis within inhabitational theology can reframe masculinities, and argues that from a spiritual perspective males can grow into compassionate men. The article concludes that patriarchal headship should be transformed and replaced by the theological public of servant-hood and the trans-cultural notion of an eschatological identity.

Affiliations: 1: University of Stellenbosch South Africa, URL:


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