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© Psychological Society of South Africa. All rights reserved. South African Journal of Psychology, 41(2), 2011, pp. 173-186ISSN 0081-2463Narratives of masculinity in the Daily Sun: implications for HIVrisk and preventionAndrew GibbsHealth Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD), University of KwaZulu-Natal,South Africagibbs@ukzn.ac.zaGeoff JobsonAnova Health Institute, Cape Town, South Africageoff@health4men.co.zaDominant and hegemonic masculinities typically place women and men at risk of contracting HIVthrough reinforcing gender inequalities. Challenging these masculinities is increasingly seen as aprecondition for tackling HIV&AIDS. Narratives of masculinity are the symbolic tools, which men drawupon to construct their social identities. Understanding the composition of these narratives of mas-culinity is central for understanding how narratives of masculinity may, or may not, shape HIV-relatedhealth behaviours. The media is a central space in which narratives of masculinity are produced andreproduced. We analyse five days’ worth of the newspaper, the Daily Sun, in December 2008 toidentify the different narratives of masculinity that circulate in the newspaper. Through thematicanalysis we identify three different global-narratives: (i) Masculinity and work, (ii) Masculinity,violence and crime, and (iii) Masculinity and HIV. We explore each of these narratives and suggesthow they may create contexts in which certain HIV-related health behaviours are more or less likely.We suggest that despite the variation in the narratives of masculinity circulating in the Daily Sunthese narratives are limited and typically undermine HIV-related health behaviours by eithersustaining a masculine ideal that is unachievable, emphasising a narrative of a disempoweredmasculinity, or by providing limited masculine narratives around HIV&AIDS. We emphasise how thisundermines HIV prevention and suggest possible approaches to challenging these narratives.Keywords: Daily Sun; HIV; masculinity; media; narrative psychologyIn academic, policy and programmatic literature, there is increased recognition of how hegemonic(and relatively rigid) forms of masculinity place men and women at greater risk of contracting HIVthrough reinforcing gender inequalities (Greig, Peacock, Jewkes, & Msimang, 2008; Mane &Aggleton, 2001). It is argued that these hegemonic masculinities increase risky sexual behaviour bypromoting multiple concurrent partnerships, reducing male access to health services and reducingthe likelihood men will use condoms during sex (Campbell, 2003; Greig et al., 2008; Jewkes &Morrell, 2010; Noar & Morokoff, 2001). The media is often identified as being central in theproduction and reproduction of norms of masculinity (Gauntlett, 2008; Schneider, Cockcroft, &Hook, 2008). Challenging these hegemonic forms of masculinity is becoming a necessity inaddressing the HIV&AIDS epidemic (Greig et al., 2008; Mane & Aggleton, 2001). In this article we draw on the theoretical framework of narrative psychology to discuss thenarratives of masculinity — resources and templates for living — provided by the media and theimplications of these for men’s HIV-related health behaviours. Narratives are constructed in thesocial world and are appropriated, to a greater or lesser extent, by individuals. Collective andindividual narratives help construct social identity, create meaning in the world and also createcommunities; furthermore they help shape people’s current and future actions (Jolly, 2010; Murray,2000). We explore the multiple narratives of masculinity — what it means to be a man — that existin a single, popular newspaper in South Africa to explore how these may either enable or hinderHIV-related health behaviours in South Africa.Theoretical and conceptual toolsThe shift towards narrative psychology is part of the larger trend in psychology and other disciplines
174 South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011towards a social constructionist view of the world (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Gergen & Gergen,1997). It reflects the growing disillusionment psychologists and others have with the individualisingapproaches typically advocated in the social sciences, particularly around health behaviours (Markset al., 2005). Critical health psychologists argue that there is a need to go beyond what people do,to focus on the meanings embodied in people’s actions (Mielewczyk & W illig, 2007). Narrative psychology offers one approach towards developing an understanding of meaning inhuman action. W hile grounded in the ‘universalist’ assumptions that humans are natural story tellersand structure their lives around stories (Murray, 2000), narrative psychology is clearly based on theassumption that such narratives are socially constructed in the sense that they are produced collec-tively and adapted or appropriated by individuals and are liable to change. In line with a social constructionist approach to understanding human behaviour, individualnarratives are developed in dialectical relationship between the self and society (Howarth, 2006;Murray, 2000; Jovchelovitch, 2007). Collectively held narratives, for example, the idea of the‘American Dream’ of individualism and self-achievement, are the tools or symbols from which in-dividuals start to draw individualised narratives, which in turn reflect and develop collectively heldnarratives. The ability to resist such collective narratives is partly located in individuals’ social andeconomic positioning (Howarth, 2006; Jovchelovitch, 2007). M urray (2000) argues that while it ispossible to differentiate the different levels at which narratives operate, the individual, the inter-personal, and the societal, they need to be seen as interconnected, each one shaping the other. In this paper we focus on narratives at the social or community level which “are the broadersocial stories the group tells in order to distinguish itself from others” (Murray, 2000, p. 668).Community narratives are constructed in public spaces that are accessible to whole communities.Community psychologists, theorising these spaces, have drawn on the work of Habermas (1989) whoutilised the concept of the public sphere (Jovchelovitch, 2007). The public sphere is the collectivespace in which ideas, narratives of meaning and so forth, are produced and discussed publicly. Agreat deal of emphasis and criticism of the notion of the public sphere has been focused on the extentto which all members of a community have the ability to shape collective narratives — recognisinghow lines of social, economic and political exclusion — limit people’s access to shape these collec-tive narratives (Howarth, 2006). As such, narratives produced and circulating in the public spheretypically reflect dominant rather than subaltern or counter-hegemonic narratives, although space canexist for alternative narratives within the public sphere (Jovchelovitch, 2007; MacRichtie & Seedat,2008). As researchers within social representations tradition have emphasised, the narratives or storiescirculating in the public sphere are drawn on by members of a community (Howarth, 2006), helpingcreate community and ways of living and provide the symbolic tools or resources within which indi-viduals construct social identities. These social narratives are broadly ideological in the sense thatthey typically seek to assert dominant narratives about society. In South Africa, numerous studies point to the engagement of the South African public with themedia as a source of information and entertainment, especially in relation to HIV&AIDS (Campbell& Gibbs, 2008; Parker & Kelly, 2001). Newspapers, in particular, are seen to be important in agendasetting and shaping dominant views of important issues (Gibbs, 2010; Jacobs & Johnson, 2007), aswell as providing a range of alternative voices in the public sphere in South Africa (Parker & Kelly,2001). As such it is possible to see newspapers as a starting point for potential access to the diverseand possibly contradictory narratives that may exist within the South African public sphere.Narratives, M asculinity and HealthHegemonic masculinities are the dominant, socially constructed, understandings of what it meansto be a man in a given context (Blackbeard & Lindegger, 2007; Connell, 1995; Luyt & Foster, 2001).Yet, for the majority of men (if not all) hegemonic masculinities remain aspirational, with men una-
South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011 175ble to achieve these publicly and collectively held notions of what it means to be ‘a man’ (Connell,1995; Hunter, 2005). For Seidler (2006; 2007) this disjuncture between publicly held narratives ofmasculinity and men’s experiences on a daily basis is often a source of significant dissonance. In understanding how men ‘manage’ this dissonance and the impact on health behaviours, thereare two complementary approaches. The first following Courtenay (2000) suggests that men activelytry to demonstrate that they conform to or can achieve such hegemonic masculinities through theirpractices, including health behaviours: “health behaviours and beliefs that people adopt simultane-ously define and enact representations of gender” (Courtenay, 2000, p.1388). Therefore, narrativesof masculinity can provide ‘recipes for living’ for men (Campbell, 1997, p. 275), through providinga story of what it is that men do, and should do. The second, drawing more heavily on Seidler (2006;2007) is that men’s behaviours, including their health behaviours can be understood as an attemptto secure men’s sense of self in a world where they cannot achieve what is expected of them. Thisdouble-understanding is central to how narratives of masculinity can shape health-related behaviours,opening up ways of seeing narratives of masculinity as transferring into (more or less directly astools, or building blocks of) men’s health actions, or as health-related behaviours being strategiesto overcome this chasm.Empirical research on M asculinity, M edia and HealthThere is a growing body of work that explores the relationship between the media and the productionof masculinities. Much of this work, globally and in South Africa, has focused on ‘men’s glossies’and their presentation of ideal or hegemonic forms of masculinities. Typically such studies pointtowards the construction of a healthy male body, where health becomes an individualised experience,which is understood as part of the wider neo-liberal agenda that ignores structural determinants ofhealth (Crawshaw, 2007; Gough, 2006;). In South Africa, Viljoen (2008) explored the rise of fivemen’s glossies and their presentation of ‘ideal masculinities’ (p. 312). He argued that such masculineideals tend still to be based on an ‘assumption of whiteness’ amongst the readership (p. 326).Schneider et al.’s (2008) research on male sexuality in Men’s Health locates male sexual perfor-mance as a signifier of masculinity, but also identifies the contradictions between an aspirationalmale sexuality and the threats that are posed to male sexuality. Globally there has also been a significant body of research on the relationship between mediarepresentations of masculinity and HIV&AIDS. One such focus has been how the media has con-structed particular male HIV risk groups — often those who are socially and/or economically mar-ginalised (Newman & Persson, 2009). In South Africa, there has been almost no research into theproduction of masculinities in the media and the implications for HIV&AIDS. The small amount ofresearch that exists focuses on quantitative analysis of who speaks about HIV&AIDS in the SouthAfrican media, emphasising how men dominate the discourse, marginalising women’s voices(Morna, 2006). Finally, while there have been a growing number of studies focusing on how the media in SouthAfrica represents HIV&AIDS, the majority of this work focuses exclusively on ‘elite’ forms of themedia (e.g. Campbell & Gibbs, 2008; Gibbs, 2010). W hile these researchers are clear in arguing thattheir studies focus on the representations of HIV&AIDS amongst elite decision-makers, very littleresearch focuses on where HIV&AIDS is lived and experienced. Notable exceptions include Hodes(2010), who explored the history of Beat It! a popular television programme on HIV&AIDS andwidely watched by those directly affected by HIV&AIDS. In a different vein Jolly (2010) startedtracing the relationship between public narratives in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission(TRC), literature and community and individual narratives in exploring gender-based violence andhuman rights violations in South Africa in the context of HIV&AIDS. As such, this article explores the representations of masculinity that circulate in one SouthAfrican newspaper, to understand the forms of masculinity that circulate in the public sphere. It
176 South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011moves away from a narrow focus on ‘men’s glossies’ to explore a more popular and relevant com-ponent of the media, the Daily Sun. Further, this article suggests what the implications of thesenarratives of masculinities may be for HIV-related health behaviours by conceiving these asnarratives of masculinity circulating in the public sphere and shaping broad understandings ofmeaning.M ETHODDataW e purposively selected one week of Daily Sun newspapers (five newspapers in total), starting fromMonday 1st December 2008 (W orld AIDS Day) through to Friday 5th December 2008.1 W e selectedthis week because of its overlap with W orld AIDS Day, on the assumption that this would lead tomore articles directly dealing with HIV&AIDS in the data set. W hile recognising that this would leadto an over-sampling of articles on HIV&AIDS in the Daily Sun, for the focus of our article, we con-sidered the potential limitation to be smaller than the benefit of a wider reading of masculinity thatwould be possible using this sample. W hile the sample in terms of days is relatively small — with media analyses typically encom-passing one or two years of newspapers — a significant criticism of media research is its sole focuson the health issue it is concerned with, whether HIV&AIDS or diabetes, etc. Through such a narrowfocus on ‘health’ articles only, the role of the media in constructing understandings of gender ortechnology and how these are integral to shaping health behaviours is ignored (Seale, 2003). As such,research needs to locate health behaviours not as a separate domain of behaviour, but integrallylocated and intersecting within people’s wider social worlds of gender, class and race, along withhow they perceive and construct the role of technology and the state. As such, the ‘entire’ newspaperwas subject to analysis, including all articles, photographs and adverts within the five days of news-papers analysed. The Daily Sun was selected for a number of reasons. First, it has one of the largest readershipsof all daily newspapers in South Africa. In 2005 from M arch to September, readership of the DailySun was estimated to be 3,444,000 compared to other popular dailies such as the Sowetan whichreached 1,640,000 (Jones, Vanderhaeghen, & Viney, 2008). Second, this readership is predominantlyblack and working class,2 where the majority of the burden of HIV&AIDS is in South Africa(Hunter, 2007, 2010; Jones et al., 2008). Finally, the Daily Sun prides itself on being an ‘interactive’newspaper encouraging readers to engage with the newspaper, and engaging a group which news-papers in South Africa have traditionally overlooked (Jones et al., 2008).Data analysisThematic analysis of the five days newspapers (including all advertisements, articles and pictures,approximately 875 separate units)3 was conducted using Attride-Stirling’s (2001) approach to the-matic analysis. Such an approach is rooted in our commitment to a social constructionist view of theworld (Gergen, 2009), which is common where the emphasis is on understanding how people createand develop meaning in their actions. W e conducted the analysis in four steps:1. Both authors read the whole newspaper corpus with the question, ‘what are the narratives of masculinity?’ in mind. From this we identified a series of sub-narratives.2. W e collectively discussed and refined the sub-narratives, before sorting them into two global- narratives of masculinity.3. W e also did a separate reading of articles and advertisements specifically focused on HIV& AIDS, which formed a third global narrative, asking ‘what are the narratives of masculinity around HIV?’.4. W e then asked an interpretive question of the global and sub-narratives, ‘what are the implica- tions of these narratives of masculinity for HIV&AIDS?’
South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011 177 A mixture of individual and joint-work (as indicated above) was undertaken to ensure validityof the analysis with the continual checking between the two authors on their readings of the data.W here we refer to narratives as being present ‘strongly’, we draw on our joint reading of the data andrefer to a mixture of our perception of frequency of the narrative, plus the positioning of narratives.W e recognise the subjective nature of this reading and approach, however we also recognise thatinterpretation is socially constructed and only partial; as such we draw on constructionist under-standings of validity such as Gaskell and Bauer (2000). Results are presented and discussed belowunder each of their global narratives, with the interpretative question explored under each of the glo-bal narratives.RESULTSThree global narratives of masculinity were identified within the Daily Sun: (i) masculinity andwork; (ii) masculinity, violence and crime; and (iii) masculinity and HIV. Each of these global nar-ratives explored men’s lives and men’s interactions, possibilities and futures in the context of the newSouth Africa. The three global narratives had a number of sub-narratives linked to them. Sub-narratives were linked to similar global narratives as these provided similar templates or narrativesfor living. The global narratives of masculinities and the sub-narratives that form these globalnarratives are presented below.Global narrative: M asculinity and W orkA significant global narrative of masculinity was that of ‘men as workers’, with a particular emphasison how successful men managed to overcome various disadvantages to achieve their position. Thepositioning and celebration of men as workers is a common narrative globally and in South Africa(Mane & Aggleton, 2001; W alker, 2005). Three sub-narratives or variations of this narrative werenoted: (i) sport and singing; (ii) business; and (iii) working class entrepreneurs. The first sub-narrative within the global narrative masculinity and work explored how men weresuccessful through either sports or music. New and emerging sports and music stars were promi-nently highlighted in the Daily Sun, often in terms of a rags-to-riches narrative. An article on Monday1 December, 2008 focused on Nemza, a member of the popular South Africa hip-hop group SkwattaKamp, who had recently released a solo record. The article emphasised how he had been discoveredand achieved success: ‘He was born and raised in Heidelberg before he was discovered at the Yfm 4 rappers compe- tition. Later on he joined the award-winning group Skwatta Kamp’ (Nemza. No one can, 2008, p. 27).Individual success in sport and music was seen to be achieved through a combination of hard workand luck — the luck of being picked from the crowd. Stories did not reflect on how rare thesesuccessful outcomes were, instead emphasising the possibility of it occurring for anyone willing tocompete in competitions. The second sub-narrative of masculinity in the Daily Sun linked to work was rooted in businesssuccess and hard work. Articles within this sub-narrative included ones about prominent businesspeople, often with political links. This masculinity is linked to male participation in increasinglyglobalised corporate careers, and features common to masculinities globally can be identified in theseconstructions. It was often in the advertising, which is inherently aspirational, that the ‘businessman masculi-nity’ representation circulated most strongly. A series of adverts for UNISA that appeared throughoutthe week, closely linked masculinity to academic and business success. Advertising their courses inCustomer Service Management (2008, December 3, Daily Sun, p. 10) and Business-to-BusinessMarketing (2008, December 2, Daily Sun, p. 12), the adverts featured recently graduated men,smiling and looking confident. The text clearly defined success as linked to employment: “Since its
178 South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011inception, more than 3,000 students have successfully completed this programme and are now em-ployed in marketing-related positions in the business and public sectors” (Figure 1). Adverts werespecifically targeted at men and portrayed success and happiness as closely linked to having a career. Figure 1. UNISA advert for business degrees (one of a series) Many of the adverts also linked the businessman masculinity to that of the male patriarch,closely linking the two. For instance one advert for medical aid (2008, December 2, Daily Sun, p.3) (Figure 2) showed a successful male businessman, next to the text: ‘Take care of your family whenlife is disrupted by Hospitalisation [sic]’. Here masculinity was closely linked to caring for (andheading) the family as well as business success. This binding of the two components of masculinitywas critical in situating a heterosexual form of masculinity. Figure 2. Advert for medical aid, linking male business success and the family patriarch
South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011 179 Despite the Daily Sun’s working class audience, there were fewer articles or adverts that ex-plored the lives of and opportunities open to working class men. Those articles that did were heavilyframed within a narrative of ‘working class entrepreneurs’, which was the third sub-narrative. Thesearticles emphasised how the working class entrepreneurs, often despite having lost their jobs, hadovercome barriers of poverty and unemployment to start their own small businesses, securing theirfutures and their success. An example of this was Thomas Langman who had been retrenched froma supermarket job, but started to make wire objects to sell, including cars and windmills: “ThomasLangman (45) of Karoo Township in Cradock is unemployed. But he created his own job throughhis handiwork. He told Daily Sun: ‘17 years ago I was retrenched at Checkers in East London … As head of the family it was very hard for me. I had to make a plan to care for my wife and four kids’ (Sizani, 2008, p. 31).It was emphasised how he had overcome the challenges of retrenchment to become a good father andsecured his position at the head of his family through his hard work. In a similar narrative, Eric Gqorolo also overcame hardship and started his own driving school.His parents had divorced in 1982 and he had to get a job after completing matric, taking identityphotographs for people applying for drivers licences: ‘Eric did not have capital or a car when he started out ... he invested his money until he had enough to start a business’ (Mthethwa, 2008, p. 31).The narrative of the ‘working class entrepreneur’ can be seen to parallel the ‘rags-to-riches’ narrativeseen in the ‘singing and sport’ masculinity discussed above. They both emphasise the ways in whichordinary people through hard work can overcome vast inequalities that otherwise hold them back.Masculinity and work: im plications for HIV m anagem entDespite different narratives of masculinity being evident within the global narrative masculinity andwork, there were two cross-cutting narratives apparent. The first was a rags-to-riches narrative. Therags-to-riches narrative is inherently individualised, emphasising how individuals through hard work— and possibly a bit of luck — can overcome the huge social and structural barriers that they havefaced. This type of narrative has been criticised for focusing on the individual and diverting attentionaway from the structural inequalities that lead to widespread poverty and unemployment (Kellner,1995). Indeed, none of the articles or adverts alluded to this, instead presenting success as beingabout individual attributes and a possibility for all. Closely linked was the second cross-cutting narrative of men as providers via work. The empha-sis on men as workers closely linked their success as men to their success in work. The ‘male bread-winner’ ideology can be seen to be relatively ubiquitous across many different global sites (Connell,1995) and can incorporate a ‘transnational business masculinity’ (Connell & W ood, 2005). Further-more, the man as provider narrative was also closely embedded within a patriarchal discourse of themale head of the household, implicitly emphasising a heterosexual masculinity. Such heteronor-mativity is critical in the production and maintenance of gender inequalities (Schefer & Ruiters,1998). In the South African context these two cross-cutting socially produced ideas of what it meansto be a man are in sharp contrast to the everyday realities and possibilities of the majority of men inSouth Africa. W ith high levels of unemployment and poverty, the narrative of masculine successthrough work remains typically unattainable.The tension between the narratives of work as a routeto success and overcoming barriers, whether of poverty, or lack of education, and what is actuallyachievable given the realities of South African poverty and unemployment, has been referred to asthe ‘crisis of masculinity’ (W alker, 2005). In understanding the implications for HIV&AIDS management, the failure of men to conformto the narratives of success circulating at the social level has led to what has been referred to as a
180 South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011crisis of masculinity. This crisis of masculinity has been implicated in various behaviours that under-mine men’s health and wellbeing. Hunter (2005) argues that for men who are unable to fulfil theperceived requirements of hegemonic masculinity, other expressions of manliness may become moreimportant. He argues that in South Africa, with the impossibility (for the most part) of achieving thehegemonic masculinity of the male worker and breadwinner, having multiple sexual partners is onealternative route through which men can sustain the image of masculinity. Multiple and concurrentsexual partners are recognised as a central driver in southern Africa of the HIV&AIDS epidemic(Halperin & Epstein, 2004). In a similar vein Silberschmidt (2001) argues that the increase in male perpetrated gender-basedviolence across southern and eastern Africa is a product of the collapse of the possibility that mencan achieve ‘traditional’ forms of masculinity, including ‘men as breadwinner’, with the attendantneed for men to continue to assert their authority and status. Gender-based violence has been shown,through multiple pathways, to increase men’s and women’s risk of HIV infection (Dunkle et al.,2004).Global narrative: M asculinity, Violence and CrimeThe second global narrative of masculinity in the Daily Sun was associated with crime and violence.This global narrative portrayed men in two different, but interlinked ways, as either relativelypowerless in public spaces, or else as being violent in public spaces. In South Africa, crime and vio-lence are particularly high compared to global levels (Altbeker, 2007) and while often women arethe people most at risk of violence and crime, men also face huge levels of uncertainty and risk(Donson, 2008). The narrative of masculinity constructed around this emphasised the precariousnessof working class men’s lives, either as perpetrators or victims of violence. In the global narrative surrounding men and violence, men were portrayed as both perpetratorsand victims of violence. Being a victim of violence was a common narrative for men. Of the fivefront pages of the Daily Sun we examined, three had stories about young men being subject toviolence and either dying or coming close to death. For instance the front page of the Friday editionemphasised this relationship — under the headline: “HE DIED TOO SOON!” the article continued:‘On Tuesday he was stabbed to death outside the family home in Osizweni, Newcastle … he wasattacked by someone unknown.’ (Sun Reporter, 2008, p.1). W hile the headline on Thursday 4December read: “Stripped, stoned, strangled and stomped ... THE GUY W HO W OULD NOT DIE!”(Mkhetho, 2008, p.1). The story told of how M ahlomola Mthombeni had almost been killed for histrainers and leather jacket and how he was slowly recovering from his ordeal. In almost all the stories of violence reported by the Daily Sun men were also central to the per-petrating of violence. On W ednesday 3 December, the Daily Sun reported how MuziwezinsizwaNcogbo had been killed by two men after quarrelling with his friend about whether his friend’s childshould just be wearing a nappy or not: ‘Eyewitnesses told cops that a few minutes later two men arrived at Ncogbo’s room and asked him why he had an argument with their brother. One of them pulled out a gun and shot Ncogbo in the head. He was killed instantly’ (Mbhele, 2008, p.2).This close relationship between men being the subject or object of violence and crime in the nar-rative reiterates the idea that men are violent or subjected to violence. W hile the Daily Sun is no-toriously focused on violence and sensationalist reporting (W asserman, 2008), similar to tabloidsthroughout the world, violence becomes symbolic of the South African condition and Violence be-comes a narrative which men come to understand or expect in the world. The focus on women assubject to violence is less evident in the Daily Sun, producing a social world in which violence istowards and between men.Masculinity, violence and crim e: im plications for HIV m anagem entThe public space constructed through narratives of violence and crime in the Daily Sun of everyday
South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011 181life and living emerged as an unsafe arena for men, with constant anxieties about the risk of deathand violence to men’s bodies. The arbitrary nature of the violence was particularly evident. The possibility of violent death that confronts readers of the Daily Sun on a daily basis mayinfluence men’s decisions to engage in sexual behaviours associated with higher risks of HIV infec-tion. High levels of violence, and the awareness of violence, may be an important contextual factorinfluencing individuals’ risk behaviours (Leclerc-Madlala, 1997). W riting about the relationshipbetween gangsterism, violence and HIV/AIDS, W alsh and Mitchell (2006, p. 61) suggest that if“young men are living in an environment of extreme violence, where life is seen as insignificant orhighly risky, the ability and desire to protect themselves from AIDS may well seem of minor im-portance.” In a similar vein Campbell (2003), exploring why miners knowingly place themselves atrisk of contracting HIV through not using condoms, suggests that given their dangerous workingenvironment, protecting their sexual health is less likely to be a priority. Furthermore, given men’stenuous bodily security in these contexts, sex may be an escape from the everyday risks they face(Campbell, 2003; W alsh & Mitchell, 2006). As such, the narrative of violence, directed at or by men,which permeated the Daily Sun, produced insecurities and anxieties of masculinity that may lead tomen seeking power and security in other areas of their lives (Seidler, 2006).Global narrative: M asculinity and HIVThe final global narrative of masculinity was centred on HIV. This global narrative emphasised howmen were actors in relation to, but not infected with, HIV&AIDS. Of particular note were the limitedmale voices speaking about HIV&AIDS in the Daily Sun, which is in contrast to other studies sug-gesting there is an overwhelming preponderance of male voices speaking about HIV&AIDS in theSouth African media (Morna, 2006). W hen men did appear in articles or photographs in the Daily Sun in relation to HIV&AIDS theytended to be portrayed as acting on HIV&AIDS (as doctors, counsellors, and so forth), but not asliving with HIV&AIDS. Only women talked about themselves as living with HIV. This was particularly evident in a series of adverts run by the South African National AIDSCouncil (SANAC) and the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), tocoincide with W orld AIDS Day. In a double page spread on W orld AIDS Day (Monday 1 December,p. 10-11) and throughout the week that we analysed, SANAC and NEDLAC ran small boxes pic-turing people involved with HIV&AIDS with a small message about what work they did and em-phasising how through small acts HIV&AIDS can be challenged (Figure 3). Figure 3. Extract from a national HIV&AIDS campaign
182 South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011 In the double-page spread, there were pictures of 12 women and six men. Of these none of themen pictured were identified as living with HIV&AIDS. All the men who were featured in thesepictures were doctors, lay counsellors, and so forth. However, of the 12 women pictured eight ofthem were openly living with HIV&AIDS. W hile these women were also listed for reasons other thantheir HIV positive status, they were also openly living with HIV&AIDS. There was therefore a narra-tive of masculine action, in relation to HIV&AIDS, but not one of men as at risk of HIV-infection. In rare instances men were also positioned as living with HIV. One instance was a review of atelevision programme, where the programme spoke to: “Andile Madondile, who has been HIV-positive for the past five years and has a two-year-old boy” (Sithole, 2008, p.26). W hile this intro-duced the potential for alternative narratives of masculinity and HIV, these examples were limitedand there remained a dominant focus on men as actors on HIV, and women at risk of infection.Masculinity and HIV: im plications for HIV m anagem entThe dominance of men acting on HIV&AIDS, but not (openly) living with HIV/AIDS in the DailySun, has a number of potential implications in relation to HIV&AIDS. The most obvious implicationis that the Daily Sun provides limited narratives of what men living with HIV&AIDS could or shouldbe. MacPhail (2003, p. 145), drawing on Kippax and Crawford (1993), suggests that South Africanmen actively construct a cordon sanitaire around themselves which “never includes themselves aspotentially infectious agents and tends to exclude other men as well”. Unwittingly the dominantnarrative of men as not living with HIV&AIDS sustained in the Daily Sun replicates and reinforcesthis, providing highly constrained representations of men openly living with HIV, while emphasisingwomen as vectors of HIV. Furthermore, by constructing a cordon sanitaire around the men and thereby placing onlywomen as ‘diseased’ actively produces and reinforces a masculinity of the healthy male. Courtenay(2000, p. 1389) emphasises the ‘gender ramifications’ of a man being ill, undermining his status inmasculine hierarchies. Again the limited narratives of men actively living with HIV&AIDS serve toreinforce the healthy male, compared to an ‘ill or diseased femininity’ (p. 1389). Such narratives ofmasculinity make it more difficult for men to seek healthcare, treatment, and support in relation toHIV&AIDS.CONCLUSIONNarratives of masculinity in the media provide societal or community level narratives of dominantideas of what it means to be a man, in turn partially structuring and shaping health practices andbehaviours. W hile such narratives do not over-determine men’s health behaviours, indeed povertyand wealth, wider political issues and numerous other social factors are also important, they providethe symbolic tools or framework circulating in the public sphere from which men begin to constructindividual narratives of masculinity and identity, in turn impacting on their health behaviours. This article has identified that within the Daily Sun there were three competing narratives ofmasculinity circulating within the paper. Two of these global narratives (masculinity and work andmasculinity and HIV) may be understood as aspirational narratives, clearly identifying social prac-tices and identities around what men should be doing, The third global narrative (masculinity,violence and crime) offers a very different social construction of masculinity, framing men as livingin a violent and dangerous world with constant anxieties about their bodily integrity. The forms of health and HIV-related behaviour these narratives of masculinity may engendercan be understood as attempts to bridge, or make sense of, the gap between publicly held hegemonicmasculinities and men’s experiences of daily life (Seidler, 2006). These behaviours offer ways ofconstructing or bolstering forms of masculinity or working to limit the impact on men’s social livesand selves when they cannot achieve dominant forms of masculinity. As suggested the narrativesconstruct spaces of masculine identity that may well undermine HIV prevention and health related
South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 41(2), June 2011 183behaviours, and can therefore be seen as one social context that is disenabling for HIV and AIDSmanagement (Leclerc-Madlala, 2002). How should the media actively promote health and health behaviours that support HIV preven-tion, treatment, care and support? Many argue that the media should focus on providing clear andcorrect information (Does the media support or sabotage health, 2009), and that there is a need toprovide training to media practitioners on how to report news stories (False hopes, unwarrantedfears, 2008). This is certainly one aspect of the issue and ensuring correct and factual reporting onhealth issues is critical. However, as this article demonstrates, it is not simply factually correct andsensitive reporting of health issues that is the crux of the matter, but rather the wider representationsof issues of masculinity that are embedded in the media more generally which are as important inshaping health behaviours. Elsewhere it has been suggested that a key strategy for creating more health enabling environ-ments for men is through the emergence and promotion of other alternative or oppositional masculi-nities, which promote a greater sense of health and well-being (W alker, 2005). In our analysis andreading of the Daily Sun, it was expected that we would find alternative narratives of masculinity thatwere marginal compared to the three global narratives we identified, but may provide a basis forchange and the emergence of oppositional masculinities. However this was not the case and therewere few examples of alternative narratives of masculinity sustained in the Daily Sun. The currentBrothers for Life campaign in South Africa5 is one approach to introducing alternative masculinitiesinto the media. W hile drawing on many ‘conventional’ ideals of masculinity, such as sport, it pro-motes more ‘positive’ and healthy forms of behaviour in relation to HIV for men. These approachesneed to expand beyond ‘conventional’ ideals of masculinity to include forms of masculinity that aretruly oppositional, which could include narratives of men as carers. Such alternative masculinitiesattempt to overcome the limitations and constraints of hegemonic masculinities. These alternativeor oppositional masculinities may be introduced through media practitioners working with thosedirectly involved in working with men to develop alternative ways of being and promote trulydifferent ways of creating narratives of what it means to be a man in contemporary South Africa.ACKNOW LEDGEM ENTSW e thank three anonymous reviewers for their perceptive comments on this article and Judith Shierfor providing editorial input. The paper informing this article was presented at the African Associa-tion of Rhetoric Conference, Rhetoric in the Time of AIDS: African Perspectives, in July 2009,where discussion helped refine our argument.NOTES1. Ethical clearance for this research was not sought as it did not engage with either animal or human subjects, rather relying entirely on the newspapers that were the sole source of data analysed.2. See: http://www.dailysun.co.za/ourPaper.aspx for a breakdown on race, class and sex of readership.3. The exact number of adverts, articles and pictures analysed is hard to assess, with stories having linked pictures or an advert having multiple pictures — 875 is an estimate based on a count through the newspapers.4. Yfm, a radio station with an urban youth target audience.5. See www.brothersforlife.orgREFERENCESAltbeker, A. (2007). A Country at war with itself: South Africa’s crisis of crime. Johannesburg, South Africa: Jonathan Ball.Attride-Stirling, J. (2001). Thematic networks - an analytical tool for qualitative research. Qualitative Research, 1, 385-405.Berger, P., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality: A treatise on the sociology of knowledge. New York, New York: Anchor.
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