Myers, K. “‘Cowboy Up!: Non-Hegemonic Representations of Masculinity in Children’s Television Programming.”

Myers, Kristen. “’Cowboy Up!’: Non-Hegemonic Representations of Masculinity in Children’s Television Programming.” The Journal of Men’s Studies 20(2): 125-143.

Non-hegemonic males (though present) work to reinforce HM. Television works to produce “regional masculinities” (Connell and Messerschmidt 2005) where these messages help shape how masculinity works in everyday life. Television as a “frame” (Goffman 1974, Ridgeway 2011) that shapes peoples’ perception of the world (Kuypers 2009), despite fictional or distant characters/actors.

“Popularizing images of non-traditional masculinity could help shift the patriarchal gender order in a feminist direction (Butler, 1999; Connell, 1987; Renold, 2004; Walsh et al., 2008)” (here 126). – However, these boys were often feminized, weakened, and the butt of jokes – traditional masculinity was corrective and offered by other characters, casting these non-hegemonic characters as foils of ‘real’ masculinity. In popular imagination, masculinity as polar to femininity (Fausto-Sterling 2000); hegemonic masculinity as multiplicity of genderings with one form dominating all others (Connell 1987); elaborates in Connell and Messerschmidt 2005 where “To sustain a given pattern of hegemony requires the policing of men as well as the exclusion or discrediting of women” (C&M 2005, 844 here 127). Myers adds, “Women, girls, men, and boys all engage in this policing” (127).


Butler’s “heterosexual matrix” (1999) where masculinity and heterosexuality work together to reject femininity.


“On these television shows, drag did call attention to the gender binary, but not so as to undermine the naturalness of gender. Drag was not counter-hegemonic, but a comedic tool for ultimately re-inscribing the binary. Drag made a spectacle out of crossers not to celebrate them, but to punish them” (137) – homoeroticism was approached, but instead were underscoring of homophobia, competition.



Butler, J. (1999). Gender trouble. New York: Routledge.

Connell, R.W. (1987). Gender and power. Stanford University Press.

Connell, R.W., & Messerschmidt, J.W. (2005). Hegemonic masculinity. Gender & Society, 19, 829-859

Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000). Sexing the body. New York: Basic Books.

Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis. New York: Northeastern University Press.

Kuypers, J. (2009). Rhetorical criticism: Perspectives in action. New York: Lexington Press.

Renold, E. (2007). Primary school “studs:” (De)constructing young boys’ heterosexual masculinities. Men and Masculinities, 9, 275-297.

Ridgeway, C. (2011). Framed by gender. New York: Oxford.

Walsh, K., Fursich E., & Jefferson, B. (2008). Beauty and the patriarchal beast. Journal of Popular Film and Television, 36, 123-132.


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