Student Work

  • Fashion Studies (MA)

    Kira Craft


    This thesis considers “the hunk” as an archetype of masculinity, and sets it in relation to the construction and consumption of desire in capitalist culture. An ethnographic study of a male strip show for women acts as a springboard for an interdisciplinary, multi-methodological exploration of the hunk as an article of cultural production related to desire. Situated as a consumer study, this thesis incorporates, but also moves beyond themes traditionally associated with the strip show in academia, such as deviance and gendered power relations. 

    Instead, the strip show is treated as a cultural concern, and aspects of the strip show, such as the bodies of hunky looking men, are approached as images, objects and subjects existent within Western culture at large. The hunk’s body is thus set in a dialogical relationship with capitalism; ethnographic findings are contextualized within a framework of economic, social and historical theory that entangle consumption and desire with issues such as aesthetic production, the politics of looking, shame, permissibility, and the evolving role of fantasy within the ideology of consumerism. 

    This thesis engages with hunky bodies as a desirable product and a product of desire, contemplating how consumption plays out for the women patrons of the strip show and the idealized men they come to see, as well as contextualizing these instances of consumption by relating them to broader theories of motivation and meaning-making in Western culture.