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Men in no -man's land: Proving manhood through compensatory consumption

Risto Johannes Moisio, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation examines motivations behind men's compensatory consumption. I test two contrasting theories. Gender disorder theory suggests that men are trying to restore their status at home. An alternative, emasculation threat theory, on the other hand suggests that men are trying to curb emasculation they face at work. Using interviews focused on men's DIY home improvement projects, a form of compensatory consumption, I interrogate these contrasting theories. My findings show that both theories explain men's behaviors but under different sets of circumstances. Supporting gender disorder theory, I find that working, lower middle class, and men who have lost their provider status are motivated by a desire to reclaim status at home. They use DIY home improvement projects as vessels to imagine themselves as providers performing their duty. In line with emasculation threat theory, middle and upper middle and men who voiced frustrations over their day jobs, wish on the other hand to curb emasculation. They use DIY home improvement projects as an avenue to imagine themselves as heroic craftsmen who labor with their own hands, creating prided accomplishments at home.^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Marketing|Gender Studies

Recommended Citation

Moisio, Risto Johannes, "Men in no -man's land: Proving manhood through compensatory consumption" (2007). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3258735.