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Masculinity and Popular Television$
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Rebecca Feasey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748627974

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627974.001.0001

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Lifestyle: domestic labour and leisure activities

Lifestyle: domestic labour and leisure activities

(p.124) 11. Lifestyle: domestic labour and leisure activities
Masculinity and Popular Television

Rebecca Feasey

Edinburgh University Press

Lifestyle programming has its roots in the hobbyist or enthusiast strand of television that was popular in 1960s Britain. By the turn of the 1990s, lifestyle programming or ‘infotainment’ or ‘factual entertainment’ focused on fashion style and grooming, gardening, home improvement, cookery, travelling and other topics that appeal to the so-called ‘popular obsessions’. While the genre was once dedicated to female, contemporary shows have presented the male as the client and expert respectively. This chapter introduces the history of lifestyle programming and then focuses on the representations of masculinity in these narratives of transformation. It examines programmes that present men engaging in traditionally feminine activities – cooking, decorating, designing – prompting the consideration of how men might be using domestic space and activities to generate new masculine identities that challenge gendered and sexualised norms. The chapter also looks at programmes such as The Naked Chef and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, in order to consider the role of consumerism in contemporary masculinity and the ways in which domestic labour is being reclaimed as a masculine leisure activity.

Keywords:   lifestyle programming, infotainment, factual entertainment, representations of masculinity, domestic space, new masculine identities, Naked Chef, Queer Eye, contemporary masculinity

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