Between gyaru-o and sōshokukei danshi: body discourses in lifestyle magazines for young Japanese men

Saladin, Ronald GND

This article investigates how two lifestyle magazines aimed at young Japanese men negotiate masculinity with regard to body discourses. Although both magazines incorporate discourses of outward appearance into their constructions of masculinities and thus show how gender discourses in general have changed, they significantly differ from each other as far as the idealized man is concerned. ChokiChoki mainly deals with health care, beauty, and the overall body physique. It heavily incorporates strategies into the discursive construction of masculinity that used to be understood as distinctly female. The magazine Men’s Egg focuses on body physique and the sexual act. It tends to idealize the muscular body and links it with sexual potency, which is one of the magazine’s main aspects of proving masculinity. While Men’s Egg targets gyaru-o (from English: ‘gal’) and relies on conduct that is strongly affiliated with hegemonic masculinity, the much stronger incorporation of once exclusively female practices by ChokiChoki constructs an ideal close to the sōshokukei danshi (‘herbivorous man’). Both magazines, while reproducing mechanisms of hegemonic masculinity, semantically expand the male habitus and body language.