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One attempt to do so is outlined by Rebecca Chalker, who advocates providing women with accurate and comprehensive information about their bodies and their sexuality. Research methods and design Sample Intimacy is the English duplicate of the Afrikaans publication, Intiem. The Afrikaans version, Intiem, continues in a print format. The sample consisted of the English bi-monthly issues of Intimacy from the July-September issue to the December - January issue, as well as the online articles accessed up until July Intimacy, as with most other magazines, contains a number of article types.
These include, amongst others, feature articles, advertorials, advice columns, editorials, human interest, opinion articles, interviews, profiles and expert-authored texts. In order to narrow this down and produce a more focused analysis, the study consisted only of articles pertaining to the genre of an 'informative content type' articles in which the focus on sexuality adopts the format of: what-to, how-to, when-to, why-to, etc.
Data analysis Discourse analysis was utilised to identify the key themes that constitute Intimacy's construction of male and female sexuality. The discourse analysis of the articles drew upon the method and guidelines suggested by Parker18 and the sample was coded into themes through a process of repeated reading.
Through this strategy, interpretations and connections were developed, themes were refined and reworked and sub-themes were identified. To this end, each time a particular concept was identified in an article, all the other articles in the sample were re-read and re-examined in order to expand the concept into a specific theme or assign it to a sub-theme.
The analysis was informed by feminist theories of sexuality that examine the ways in which texts are associated with male-centred versions of sexual pleasure. A fundamental feature of discourse analysis is that it acknowledges that there will always be the prospect of generating more appropriate or convincing interpretations. As indicated previously, Intimacy has many types of articles featured in each issue, from advertorials, to agony aunt columns, letters to the editor and even articles authored by experts in the field.
Each respective article type holds the potential for a reading that departs from this study's findings. Results As already indicated, three key themes regarding male sexuality have been identified in Intimacy. In the following section, the exploration of each theme will include a critical reading of one specific article in order to show how it reflects both patriarchal and phallocentric ideologies. Discussion Biological accounts of male sexuality In the article, '20 ways a woman can superglue her marriage',20 women are encouraged to be 'actively involved in the bedroom' and to improve their 'sexual repertoire'.
To elucidate further, the article encourages women to '[b]ecome comfortable with your sexuality and accept your body unconditionally. Know what stimulates you sexually, what you like and don't like, and communicate this to your mate'. However, the potential to produce a fully-fledged sexual empowerment for women is limited by facets of male sexuality that are deemed to be non-negotiable and, consequently, waive the need for sexual communication.
As will be argued below, these features of male sexuality are defined by Intimacy as being natural and biological facts and pivot primarily around the notion that men have an incessant need and desire for sex. For feminist theories of sexuality, such accounts are not objective or based on biological fact, but are instead patriarchal myths that are reinforced and perpetuated in popular, medical and sexological texts.
Such myths maintain sexual privilege for men - that the 'needs' of the biological male sex drive dictate the sexual encounter. To explore these points, a critical reading of the article 'Do you refuse to have sex? In the following quote, women are obliged to accept and satisfy their husband's biologically-entrenched drive and innate need for sex: Withholding sex from your husband deprives him of a deep-rooted need as basic as your own need to receive love from him regularly.
He feels loved by you when you care enough about him to meet his physical needs and desire him enough to want physical relations. Equally problematic is the fact that the article cautions women against denying their husband this need and desire for sex as it will result in detrimental consequences for the marriage: Your husband is mad about sex and thinks about it more than you do.
Since the average man is more interested in sex than the average woman If you realise that merely the sight of your low neckline, your rounded bottom or the scent of your perfume can unleash this primitive instinct, you can't help but realise that you should celebrate this ultimate attraction, as ignoring it could hold grave consequences for your marriage.
This places women in the role and responsibility of ensuring the 'sexual upkeep'8 of men: women are urged to be willing and accepting of male sexual urges and constantly seek to satisfy them.
In sum, female sexual communication is precluded when addressing the male sex drive. This holds significant repercussions for the extent to which women can be regarded as active and empowered in their sexuality.
They may be able to communicate what they find sexually pleasing but are bound in having to submit to the dictates and prioritisation of the male sex drive. Phallocentric scripting of the sex act Sex advice literature has been critiqued for denying the multiplicity of female sexuality - in particular, in reducing the female erogenous zones to only the vagina so as to comply with the coital imperative.
A number of these articles are especially written for men with a view to enabling them to sexually please their wives. These include: '22 things you need to know about your wife's body'22 that explores a number of non-genital erogenous zones that women find stimulating including the neck, ears and navel ; 'Your wife's beautiful body Don't forget about amongst others the ears, feet, neck, lips, thighs, eyelids, buttocks, nipples and breasts Two examples are 'When the "Big O" plays hide and seek In contrast to the above, it will be argued that the sex advice written in Intimacy for women regarding their male partner's sexuality is limited to the penis and penetrative sex.
Anything departing from this is deemed foreplay.
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To elucidate further, in articles such as 'What he really wants in bed Furthermore, the article in question also impedes the enactment of potential non-phallic sex acts by displaying an inordinate focus and attention on the penis.
What becomes comprehensible is that the penis becomes enshrined in copious consideration as an organ par excellence. A further compelling example of this ongoing relentless focus on the penis is evident in the article 'Don't forget your mouth! In 'Foreplay for those who've forgotten how Decide to lavish attention on alternative zones, such as your mate's legs.
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This aspect, in which foreplay is limited to increasing the 'venting force' of an orgasm during the sex act, is underscored later in the very same article: Ask your mate to choose one non-erogenous zone on his body for example his neck, ankles or tummy. Focus on this body part only, for the next 24 hours. Kiss that body part, tickle it, blow on it and cuddle it Your goal should be to see how worked up you can get him in order to make your next session as explosive as possible!
Foreplay is accorded no significance as a legitimate, genuine and noteworthy sexual act in its own right.
To this end, foreplay is merely added to the standard phallocentric script: intercourse is still the main event and anything else is considered foreplay.
Additionally, this standard scripting also sees that sex is construed as a linear process in which foreplay is followed by penetration. Coitus remains the focus and endpoint in this sequence.
Although female sexuality is understood and heralded in its plurality and pervasive distribution of erogenous zones - all of which hold the possibilities for multiple orgasms - the converse is true for men.
Male sexuality is described exclusively in terms of the penis and the need for penetration. For feminist theories of sexuality, this construct of male sexuality is reflective of phallocentric ideals. In this persistence of phallocentrism, vaginal intercourse is still deemed to be the sex act; everything else is relegated to foreplay. Thus, sex in such a framework lacks flexibility and non-penetrative, non-phallic possibilities. The melodramatic penis In the previous sections, male sexuality was outlined as phallocentric in relation to prizing coital sex and patriarchal female submission to the needs of the male sex drive.
However, the phallocentrism presented in Intimacy also displays a significant departure from standard accounts addressed to men that enshrine penis size as of a high value for female pleasure and masculine ideals. For instance, in the article, 'Men only: how to be a man',24 the size of the penis is proclaimed as being insignificant for mutual sexual pleasure: Quality matters more than quantity: only the first 7,62 cm of the vagina benefits from stimulation, so you don't need much more than that.
When it comes to mutual sexual pleasure, penis length and girth mean nothing compared to the quality of foreplay, the sensitivity of touch, and the depth of intimacy in the relationship. However, the advice written for women regarding the issue of penis size perpetuates a number of other phallocentric associations. To delineate further, in 'A small problem',32 the article commences with the following statement: On honeymoon, you wake up on the morning following a SECOND night without sex.
Pain points If animals can switch between pain pathways, what controls the switch? Researchers have long attributed sex differences in pain perception to oestrogen, a hormone that controls the development of the uterus, ovaries and breasts, and which regulates the menstrual cycle. Oestrogen can either exacerbate or dull pain, depending on its concentration and location. Testosterone, the hormone involved in development of the penis, testes and prostate, as well as of secondary characteristics such as body hair, has received much less attention from pain researchers, although studies suggest it can reduce pain 3 , and some people with chronic pain take testosterone treatments 4.
In the and studies 1 , 2 , when Sorge tested castrated male mice, which have low testosterone levels, the animals exhibited a response similar to females. And when the researchers provided testosterone to castrated males, or to females, the pain pathway switched to one dependent on microglia.
Salter, who is chief of research at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, is now investigating the question in macaques, which are likely to process pain in a more similar way to humans. Neuropharmacologist Ted Price, at the University of Texas at Dallas, and his collaborators have found preliminary evidence, published this month 6 , of differences in how immune cells contribute to pain in people.
These cells serve a similar function to microglia. In women who were in pain, however, the more important players seemed to be nerve cells themselves and a short stretch of protein building blocks called a peptide that stimulates nerve growth.
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The results suggest parallels between human and rodent sex differences, says Price. For instance, Sarah Linnstaedt, a translational biologist at the University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill, has found hints that some women might have a genetic predisposition to chronic pain.
Her team has identified a suite of RNA molecules in the bloodstream that are more likely to be elevated in women who develop chronic neck, shoulder or back pain after a motor-vehicle accident.
Many of these RNA molecules are encoded by genes on the X chromosome, of which there are two copies in most women 7. In a study published online in November , Price and his team reported that a diabetes drug called metformin reduces microglial populations surrounding sensory neurons in the spinal cord.
They also showed that the drug blocks pain hypersensitivity from nerve damage only in male mice 8. Higher doses do help females receiving one of the oldest pain drugs in the pharmacy: morphine. Women and female rodents both usually require higher doses of morphine to achieve the same pain relief as men and male rodents, says Anne Murphy, a neuroscientist at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
The drug dulls pain by blocking neurons in a brain region called the periaqueductal grey, or PAG. This is exactly what happens in female rats, which have more active microglia in the PAG than males have.
When rats were treated with morphine before the scientists applied a hot light beam to their paws, the female animals had more inflammation in the PAG and pulled back their legs more quickly than did males given the same dose. In , the US Food and Drug Administration approved migraine treatments based on antibodies against CGRP, a peptide found in the nervous system that is involved in these kinds of headache.
Women moved to the city and went to college. They advanced rapidly, from industrial jobs to clerical jobs to professional work. The traditional order began to crumble soon after. In , the court ruled that women could register children under their own names. Up to a point, the reasons behind this shift are obvious.
As thinking and communicating have come to eclipse physical strength and stamina as the keys to economic success, those societies that take advantage of the talents of all their adults, not just half of them, have pulled away from the rest. And because geopolitics and global culture are, ultimately, Darwinian, other societies either follow suit or end up marginalized. In , the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development devised the Gender, Institutions and Development Database, which measures the economic and political power of women in countries.
In some war-torn states, women are stepping in as a sort of maternal rescue team. Postgenocide Rwanda elected to heal itself by becoming the first country with a majority of women in parliament.
In feminist circles, these social, political, and economic changes are always cast as a slow, arduous form of catch-up in a continuing struggle for female equality. But in the U. American parents are beginning to choose to have girls over boys. What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men? For a long time, evolutionary psychologists have claimed that we are all imprinted with adaptive imperatives from a distant past: men are faster and stronger and hardwired to fight for scarce resources, and that shows up now as a drive to win on Wall Street; women are programmed to find good providers and to care for their offspring, and that is manifested in more- nurturing and more-flexible behavior, ordaining them to domesticity.
This kind of thinking frames our sense of the natural order. But what if men and women were fulfilling not biological imperatives but social roles, based on what was more efficient throughout a long era of human history? What if that era has now come to an end?
More to the point, what if the economics of the new era are better suited to women? Once you open your eyes to this possibility, the evidence is all around you. It can be found, most immediately, in the wreckage of the Great Recession, in which three-quarters of the 8 million jobs lost were lost by men.
The worst-hit industries were overwhelmingly male and deeply identified with macho: construction, manufacturing, high finance. Some of these jobs will come back, but the overall pattern of dislocation is neither temporary nor random. The recession merely revealed—and accelerated—a profound economic shift that has been going on for at least 30 years, and in some respects even longer.
The working class, which has long defined our notions of masculinity, is slowly turning into a matriarchy, with men increasingly absent from the home and women making all the decisions. Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U. Indeed, the U. The attributes that are most valuable today—social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus—are, at a minimum, not predominantly male. In fact, the opposite may be true.
Women in poor parts of India are learning English faster than men to meet the demands of new global call centers. Women own more than 40 percent of private businesses in China, where a red Ferrari is the new status symbol for female entrepreneurs. Yes, women still do most of the child care. And yes, the upper reaches of society are still dominated by men. But given the power of the forces pushing at the economy, this setup feels like the last gasp of a dying age rather than the permanent establishment.
Dozens of college women I interviewed for this story assumed that they very well might be the ones working while their husbands stayed at home, either looking for work or minding the children. But over the decades, changing economic forces turned those privileges into curses. Although the land no longer produced the impressive income it once had, the men felt obligated to tend it.
The End of Men
Meanwhile, modern women shunned farm life, lured away by jobs and adventure in the city. They occasionally returned for the traditional balls, but the men who awaited them had lost their prestige and become unmarriageable.
In recent years, male support groups have sprung up throughout the Rust Belt and in other places where the postindustrial economy has turned traditional family roles upside down. Some groups help men cope with unemployment, and others help them reconnect with their alienated families. Mustafaa El-Scari, a teacher and social worker, leads some of these groups in Kansas City. El-Scari has studied the sociology of men and boys set adrift, and he considers it his special gift to get them to open up and reflect on their new condition.
The day I visited one of his classes, earlier this year, he was facing a particularly resistant crowd. None of the 30 or so men sitting in a classroom at a downtown Kansas City school have come for voluntary adult enrichment. Having failed to pay their child support, they were given the choice by a judge to go to jail or attend a weekly class on fathering, which to them seemed the better deal.
But El-Scari has his own idea about how to get through to this barely awake, skeptical crew, and letters to Crystal have nothing to do with it. What are the four kinds of paternal authority? Moral, emotional, social, and physical. How does that make you feel?
A couple look like they might have spent a night or two on the streets, but the rest look like they work, or used to. Now they have put down their sodas, and El-Scari has their attention, so he gets a little more philosophical. And then he fell behind on his child-support payments.
Most of them had continued to work with their hands even as demand for manual labor was declining. Since , manufacturing has lost almost 6 million jobs, more than a third of its total workforce, and has taken in few young workers. The housing bubble masked this new reality for a while, creating work in construction and related industries.
Many of the men I spoke with had worked as electricians or builders; one had been a successful real-estate agent. Now those jobs are gone too. Henderson spent his days shuttling between unemployment offices and job interviews, wondering what his daughter might be doing at any given moment. In , roughly one in 20 men of prime working age, like Henderson, was not working; today that ratio is about one in five, the highest ever recorded.
Men dominate just two of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most over the next decade: janitor and computer engineer. Women have everything else—nursing, home health assistance, child care, food preparation.
But the steady accumulation of these jobs adds up to an economy that, for the working class, has become more amenable to women than to men.
The list of growing jobs is heavy on nurturing professions, in which women, ironically, seem to benefit from old stereotypes and habits.Feminist deconstruction and the vocabularies of heterosex. Psychother Psychosom In perpetuating such descriptions, the penis becomes a metaphor for pleasure and satisfaction; as tools, equipment and apparatuses for both female and male sexuality. Additionally, this standard scripting also sees that sex is construed as a linear process in which foreplay is followed by penetration.
Salter, who is chief of research at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, is now investigating the question in macaques, which are likely to process pain in a more similar way to humans. Journal of Communication, 51 1 , March: 73— References 1.
Guys high-five each other when they get a C, while girls beat themselves up over a B-minus. The 'Fair Deal'?
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