‘[Selling]’: Gender capital in the commerce of men’s underwear on Reddit | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 9 Number 2
  • ISSN: 2050-070X
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0718

Abstract

This article looks at the discursive values of concepts in the homosocial attraction of underwear to men. The Reddit space ‘r/underwear’ is a locale where men can buy and sell underwear from others. Rather than the selling of unused or unwanted products, a principal focus of the space is the selling of used underwear. I examine the discursive elements that occur on the page, and how the sellers work to present the underwear for the presumed purpose of selling them – discussing how these actions reinforce a sense of gender capital. There is a clear provocativeness in the ads, where the purpose is to sell the underwear and demonstrate the masculinity of the seller. Further, the heightened sense of masculinity is provided by the descriptive terms, given the use of concepts such as ‘musky’, ‘sweaty’ and ‘cum’ to reinforce the used nature of the underwear. I speculate that the choice of words serve as a reinforcement of the outward manhood of the seller, relating a ‘tough’ masculinity even though the selling of underwear is a homoerotic venture. I note how there is a sense of ‘selling masculinity’ through the gender capital linked to one’s underwear, adding to conversations of the symbolic value of manhood.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1386/csmf_00057_1
2022-08-01
2024-05-29
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Allan, J. A.. ( 2021;), ‘ Green your groin: Sustainability, men’s underwear and the wild. ’, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, 8:1&2, pp. 16783.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Anderson, E.. ( 2005;), ‘ Orthodox and inclusive masculinity: Competing masculinities among heterosexual men in a feminized terrain. ’, Sociological Perspectives, 48:3, pp. 33755.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. José Blanco, F.. ( 2014;), ‘ Revealing myself: A phenomenological approach to my underwear choices through the years. ’, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, 1:2, pp. 11731.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bordo, S.. ( 1999;), ‘ Gay men’s revenge. ’, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 57:1, pp. 2125.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bourdieu, P.. ( 1986;), ‘ The forms of capital. ’, in J. G. Richardson. (ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, New York:: Greenwood Press;, pp. 24158.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bourdieu, P.. ( 2001), Masculine Domination, Stanford, CA:: Stanford University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Bourdieu, P.. ( 2007), The Bachelor’s Ball, Chicago, IL:: University of Chicago Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Braun, V., and Clarke, V.. ( 2012;), ‘ Thematic analysis. ’, in H. Cooper. (ed.), APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology: Vol. 2. Research Designs, Washington, DC:: American Psychological Association;, pp. 5771.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Bridges, T. S.. ( 2009;), ‘ Gender capital and male bodybuilders. ’, Body & Society, 15:1, pp. 83107.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Bridges, T., and Pascoe, C. J.. ( 2014;), ‘ Hybrid masculinities: New directions in the sociology of men and masculinities. ’, Sociology Compass, 8:3, pp. 24658.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Cole, S.. ( 2012), The Story of Men’s Underwear, New York:: Parkstone International;.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Cole, S.. ( 2014;), ‘ Jocks in jocks: Sportsmen and underwear advertising. ’, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, 1:2, pp. 16176.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Cole, S.. ( 2016;), ‘ Statuesque masculinity: Considering the idealised trope of the underwear model. ’, Vestoj: The Journal of Sartorial Matters, 7, pp. 97100.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Cole, S.. ( 2018;), ‘ “Men feel swell in…” men’s underwear: Functional necessities or desirable luxuries?. ’, Luxury, 5:2, pp. 15171.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Connell, R.. ( 1999), Masculinities, London:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Escoffier, J.. ( 2003;), ‘ Gay-for-pay: Straight men and the making of gay pornography. ’, Qualitative Sociology, 26:4, pp. 53155.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Geraghty, L.. ( 2014), Cult Collectors, London:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Gregson, N., and Crewe, L.. ( 2003), Second-Hand Cultures, Oxford:: Oxford University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Hill, D. D.. ( 2011;), ‘ Men in briefs. ’, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, 18:6, pp. 2025.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Jobling, P.. ( 2003;), ‘ Underexposed: Spectatorship and pleasure in men’s underwear advertising in the twentieth century. ’, Paragraph, 26:1&2, pp. 14762.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. LaViolette, J., and Hogan, B.. ( 2019;), ‘ Using platform signals for distinguishing discourses: The case of men’s rights and men’s liberation on Reddit. ’, in Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, vol. 13, Munich, Germany, 11–14 July, pp. 32334, https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/ICWSM/article/view/3357. Accessed 20 September 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Lawson, R.. ( 2013;), ‘ The construction of “tough” masculinity: Negotiation, alignment and rejection. ’, Gender and Language, 7:3, pp. 36995.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Lawson, R.. ( 2014;), ‘ Fight narratives, covert prestige, and performances of “tough” masculinity: Some insights from an urban center. ’, in T. M. Milani. (ed.), Language and Masculinities, New York:: Routledge;, pp. 7396.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Longhurst, R.. ( 2001), Bodies: Exploring Fluid Boundaries, London:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Lönnqvist, B.. ( 2001;), ‘ Fashion and eroticism: Men’s underwear in the context of eroticism. ’, Ethnologia Europaea, 31:1, pp. 7582, https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.916. Accessed 18 July 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Martins, Y.,, Tiggemann, M., and Kirkbride, A.. ( 2007;), ‘ Those Speedos become them: The role of self-objectification in gay and heterosexual men’s body image. ’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33:5, pp. 63447.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Maxwell, D.,, Robinson, S. R.,, Williams, J. R., and Keaton, C.. ( 2020;), ‘ “A short story of a lonely guy”: A qualitative thematic analysis of involuntary celibacy using Reddit. ’, Sexuality & Culture, 24:6, pp. 185274.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Maynard, S.. ( 1994;), ‘ What colour is your underwear? Class, whiteness and homoerotic advertising. ’, Border/Lines, 32, pp. 49.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Messerschmidt, J. W., and Messner, M. A.. ( 2018;), ‘ Hegemonic, nonhegemonic, and “new” masculinities. ’, in J. W. Messerschmidt,, P. Y. Martin,, M. A. Messner, and R. Connell. (eds), Gender Reckonings: New Social Theory and Research, New York:: New York University Press;, pp. 3556.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Oates, T. P.. ( 2007;), ‘ The erotic gaze in the NFL draft. ’, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 4:1, pp. 7490.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Petit, M.. ( 2012;), ‘ “Cleaned to eBay standards”: Sex panic, eBay, and the moral economy of underwear. ’, in K. Hillis,, M. Petit, and N. S. Epley. (eds), Everyday eBay, New York:: Routledge;, pp. 27792.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Phau, I.,, Teah, M.,, Lim, A., and Ho, R.. ( 2015;), ‘ A brief affair with underwear: Uniqueness and innovativeness in male underwear brand purchases. ’, Journal of Global Fashion Marketing, 6:3, pp. 22235.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Randolph, A.,, Swan, H., and Rowe, K. D.. ( 2018;), ‘ “That $hit ain’t gangsta”: Symbolic boundary making in an online urban gossip community. ’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 47:5, pp. 60939.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Rieger, D.,, Kümpel, A. S.,, Wich, M.,, Kiening, T., and Groh, G.. ( 2021;), ‘ Assessing the extent and types of hate speech in fringe communities: A case study of alt-right communities on 8chan, 4chan, and Reddit. ’, Social Media+ Society, 7:4, https://doi.org/10.1177/20563051211052906. Accessed 18 July 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Robards, B.. ( 2018;), ‘ “Totally straight”: Contested sexual identities on social media site Reddit. ’, Sexualities, 21:1&2, pp. 4967.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Roux, D.. ( 2006;), ‘ Am I what I wear? An exploratory study of symbolic meanings associated with secondhand clothing. ’, in C. Pechmann, and L. Price. (eds), NA – Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 33, Duluth, MN:: Association for Consumer Research;, pp. 2935.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Saucier, D,, Stanford, A.,, Miller, S.,, Martens, A.,, Miller, A.,, Jones, T.,, McManus, J., and Burns, M.. ( 2016;), ‘ Masculine honor beliefs: Measurement and correlates. ’, Personality and Individual Differences, 94, pp. 715.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Schuckmann, P.. ( 1998;), ‘ Masculinity, the male spectator and the homoerotic gaze. ’, Amerikastudien/American Studies, 43:4, pp. 67180.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Shahid, S., and Reichert, T.. ( 2007;), ‘ The man behind Abercrombie and Calvin Klein’s sexy ad campaigns: Tom Reichert (University of Georgia) interviews Sam Shahid. ’, Advertising & Society Review, 8:2, https://www.doi.org/10.1353/asr.2007.0043. Accessed 14 September 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. @smellmyshorts ( 2011;), ‘ I’m a guy who used to make $300 weekly selling my used underwear. AMA. ’, Reddit, 30 April, https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/h0xco/i_am_a_guy_who_used_to_make_300_per_week_selling/. Accessed 9 August 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Smith, L. H.. ( 2017;), ‘ Undressed: A brief history of underwear. ’, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, 4:1, pp. 96103.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Spencer, N. E.,, Cuneen, J., and Schneider, R.. ( 2003;), ‘ Collecting celebrity: The meanings and process of collecting sports memorabilia. ’, Visions in Leisure and Business, 21:1, pp. 829.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Turkay, S., and Adinolf, S.. ( 2018;), ‘ Understanding online collectible card game players’ motivations: A survey study with two games. ’, in Proceedings of the 30th Australian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction, Melbourne, Australia, 4–7 December, pp. 50105, https://doi.org/10.1145/1234567890. Accessed 12 August 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Van der Nagel, E.. ( 2013;), ‘ Faceless bodies: Negotiating technological and cultural codes on Reddit Gonewild. ’, Scan: Journal of Media Arts Culture, 10:2, pp. 110.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Van der Nagel, E., and Frith, J.. ( 2015;), ‘ Anonymity, pseudonymity, and the agency of online identity: Examining the social practices of r/Gonewild. ’, First Monday, 20:3, https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v20i3.5615. Accessed 12 August 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Vänskä, A.. ( 2019;), ‘ “Before there was Gucci or Gaultier, there was Tom of Finland”: On the legacy of Tom of Finland to fashion. ’, Porn Studies, 6:4, pp. 45358.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Willer, R.,, Rogalin, C. L.,, Conlon, B., and Wojnowicz, M. T.. ( 2013;), ‘ Overdoing gender: A test of the masculine overcompensation thesis. ’, American Journal of Sociology, 118:4, pp. 9801022.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Yi, J.. ( 2013;), ‘ The underwear industry’s (half) naked male. ’, A Journal of Critical Writing, 7, pp. 13539.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Dashiell, Steven L.. ( 2022;), ‘ “[Selling]”: Gender capital in the commerce of men’s underwear on Reddit. ’, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, 9:2, pp. 14762, https://doi.org/10.1386/csmf_00057_1
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1386/csmf_00057_1
Loading
/content/journals/10.1386/csmf_00057_1
Loading

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error