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avatar for Chadron Hazelbaker

Chadron Hazelbaker

Eastern Washington University
Professor
Hegemonic Masculinity - A Case Study of Russell Wilson on Instagram
There’s no question that the role of social media has greatly impacted how athletes interact with their fans(Sanderson, 2011). The content an athlete posts can be examined form various insights, including how they market their own brands, and what image the athlete seeks to promote. _x000D_
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The specific topic for this study was to better understand hegemonic masculinity as it is reinforced through social media, using Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson as a case study. Wilson was chosen partially for his reputation of having a very controlled image, as well as having high levels of popularity on social media. As of March, 19, 2018, Wilson had over ten million followers between Facebook (2.2 million), Instagram (3.3 million), and Twitter (5.35 million). The theoretical framework of this research was based on the work of Nick Trujillo (1991). Trujillo examined hegemonic masculinity as it was represented by the media’s framing of former Major League Baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan. Trujillo used the definition of hegemonic masculinity from the work of Raewyn Connell (1990). Based on previous research, Trujillo identified five features of “hegemonic masculinity in American culture: (1) physical force and control, (2) occupational achievement, (3) familial patriarchy, (4) frontiersmanship, and (5) heterosexuality” (Trujillo, p. 291). With these five features , Trujillo used articles from the media, both newspapers and local news, to illustrate how Nolan Ryan was used to reinforce each aspect._x000D_
The examination of Wilson's Instagram branding leads to insights on masculinity, including a representation of race (Wilson having been called "not black enough"), as well as producing a wholesome, faithful, and family image, aligning closely with Trujillo's work.