Drawing on methodologies and approaches from media and cultural studies, sociology, social history and the study of popular music, this book outlines the development of the study of men and masculinities, and explores the role of cultural texts in bringing about social change. It is against this backdrop that The Beatles, as a cultural phenomenon, are set, and their four live action films, spanning the years 1964-1970, are examined as texts through which to read changing representations of men and masculinity in 'the Sixties'. Dr Martin King considers ideas about a male revolt predating second-wave feminism, The Beatles as inheritors of the possibilities of the 1950s and The Beatles' emergence as men of ideas: a global cultural phenomenon that transgressed boundaries and changed expectations about the role of popular artists in society. King further explores the chosen Beatle texts to examine discourses of masculinity at work within them. What emerges is the discovery of discourses around resistance, non-conformity, feminized appearance, pre-metrosexuality, the male star as object of desire, and the emergence of The Beatles themselves as a text that reflected the radical diversity of a period of rapid social change. King draws valuable conclusions about the legacy of these discourses and their impact in subsequent decades.
Dr Martin King is a Principal Lecturer in the Department of Social Work and Social Change at Manchester Metropolitan University. His current research interests include popular music, representations of police and policing in the media and the portrayal of Social Work in UK film and TV.
'Men, Masculinities and the Beatles is a good starting point for anyone with an interest in the role played by popular musicians in the 1960s in British popular culture, and a valuable contribution to the growing literature on the Beatles, particularly where their films are concerned'. Popular Music