Embracing a New Day

Exploring the Connections of Culture, Masculinities, Bodies, and Health for Gay Men through Photovoice

in Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities
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Phillip Joy Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada phillip.joy@msvu.ca

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Matthew Numer Dalhousie University, Canada matthew.numer@dal.ca

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Sara F. L. Kirk School of Health and Human Performance and Scientific Director of the Healthy Populations Institute, Dalhousie University, Canada sara.kirk@dal.ca

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Megan Aston School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Canada megan.aston@dal.ca

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Abstract

The construction of masculinities is an important component of the bodies and lives of gay men. The role of gay culture on body standards, body dissatisfaction, and the health of gay men was explored using poststructuralism and queer theory within an arts-based framework. Nine gay men were recruited within the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Participants were asked to photograph their beliefs, values, and practices relating to their bodies and food. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, using the photographs as guides. Data were analyzed by critical discourse analysis and resulted in three overarching threads of discourse including: (1) Muscles: The Bigger the Better, (2) The Silence of Hegemonic Masculinity, and (3) Embracing a New Day. Participants believed that challenging hegemonic masculinity was a way to work through body image tension.

Contributor Notes

Phillip Joy is a graduate of the PhD in Health programme at Dalhousie University. He recently accepted an Assistant Professor position at Mount Saint Vincent University in the Applied Human Nutrition Department. His research interests include the nutritional health of LGBTQ+ communities. Email: phillip.joy@msvu.ca

Matthew Numer is an Associate Professor at Dalhousie University and his research interests include human sexuality, gender studies, and health promotion. Email: matthew.numer@dal.ca

Sara Kirk is a Professor of health promotion in the School of Health and Human Performance, and the Scientific Director of the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University. She applies a ‘socio-ecological’ approach that considers how individual behaviour is influenced by other broader factors, such as income, education and societal norms. Email: sara.kirk@dal.ca

Megan Aston is a Professor in the School of Nursing at Dalhousie University with an expertise in qualitative health research using feminist poststructuralism and discourse analysis. Email: megan.aston@dal.ca

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