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A Real (Wo)man's Beer: gendered spaces of beer drinking in New Zealand

This thesis examines the ways in which rural, national, and urban spaces become gendered through the practices and representations of beer drinking in New Zealand. Critical social theory combined with feminist poststructuralist debates on identities provides the theoretical framework for this research. Two focus groups with Pākehā beer drinkers aged between 18 - 30 years old were conducted; one consisting of six males and the other consisting of six females. Critical textual analysis was also undertaken on five beer advertisements representing the most popular beer brands in New Zealand; Tui, Lion Red, Waikato and Speight's. Three points frame the analysis. First, I examine rural and national gendered identities associated with beer drinking. New Zealand's beer drinking cultures are constructed within rural discourses of masculinity. There is not a single masculinity present in New Zealand's beer drinking cultures, rather there are multiple and conflicting masculinities. I suggest that through the need to constantly perform their identity, men create a rural hegemonic masculinity that is both hard, yet vulnerable. I argue that the femininities constructed within these spaces are used to enhance and further enable the hard, yet vulnerable, rural masculinity. Second, within urban spaces of beer drinking - such as the office, nightclub, clubrooms and home - homosexuals, metrosexuals and women are 'othered'. These identities are defined in relation to the hegemonic norm - 'Hard Man' masculinity - in negative ways. Furthermore, some women perform a hyper masculine identity in order to be included in these beer-drinking spaces. Finally, I examine the ways in which hegemonic gendered identities in rural, national and urban spaces may be resisted and subverted. I use contradictions from my focus group participants to unsettle the 'Hard Man' masculinity of New Zealand's beer drinking cultures.
Type of thesis
Hardy, N. A. (2007). A Real (Wo)man’s Beer: gendered spaces of beer drinking in New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2362
The University of Waikato
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