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Clothing and Embodiment

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Psychology of Men & Masculinity 2004, Vol. 5, No. 1, 40–48 Copyright 2004 by the Educational Publishing Foundation 1524-9220/04/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/1524-9220.5.1.40 Clothing and Embodiment: Men Managing Body Image and Appearance Hannah Frith and Kate Gleeson University of the West of England Research suggests that cultural shifts in the ways men’s bodies are represented lead men to feel increasingly dissatisfied with their appearance. Clothing is an ideal but underresearched mechanism for appearance management; however, little is known about men’s presentation of their bodies through clothed displays. This article explores the ways in which men’s subjective feelings about their bodies influence their clothing practices. Thematic analysis revealed 4 key themes: practicality of clothing choices, lack of concern about appearance, use of clothing to conceal or reveal the body, and use of clothing to fit cultural ideals. This article demonstrates the pervasive and mundane role of clothing in men’s self-surveillance and self-presentation and the range and complexity of the processes involved in clothing the body. Although not typically addressed by psychologists, we argue that men’s embodied clothing practices is an interesting and important topic for several reasons. First, research suggests that changing representations of the male body make men increasingly aware of and dissatisfied with bodies that do not meet this cultural ideal. Although psychologists have look ...
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