The South African print news media have witnessed a sharp rise in tabloidised news forms and newspapers in recent years. While tabloidisation offers interesting possibilities in terms of contesting and transforming traditional masculinised news forms, it also raises serious questions with regard to the appropriation of these forms of news towards reinforcing and naturalising constructions of gender. This article explores the ways in which a South African tabloid newspaper, the Sunday Sun, represents and constructs masculinity. It is argued that the performance of masculinity, especially through the performance of (hetero)sexuality, is central to the way in which the ‘project’ of masculinity is constructed within the Sunday Sun. In addition, violent masculinities are largely normalised and framed as part of the performance and legitimation of masculinities. While alternative discourses around masculinity also emerge, recasting ‘manhood’ in a way that challenges violence, these voices are still comparatively limited. The implications of these representations are reflected on in relation to the ongoing ‘project’ of masculinity within South Africa.


constructions of masculinity, gender analysis, media studies, performance of masculinity, South African tabloids, Sunday Sun

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