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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Bulging biceps and tender kisses: the sexualisation of fatherhood

Smith, Angela (2017) Bulging biceps and tender kisses: the sexualisation of fatherhood. Social Semiotics. ISSN 1035-0330

Item Type: Article


This article explores recent developments in masculinity, focusing on the sexualisation of fatherhood in Anglophone media. As it becomes socially acceptable for men to engage with “hands-on” fatherhood roles that had previously been primarily associated with motherhood, the appeal lies not just in this shift in gendered performance, but the representation of this as an opportunity for men to reveal a desirably body image. Where previously the hands-on fatherhood role had been glossed as “nappy changing duties,” this more recent development focuses on men’s bodies and in particular the act of carrying a young child which affords the chance for biceps to be flexed in juxtaposition with the gentle act of holding a child. Colloquially, this has led to the emergence of the “DILF,” particularly on social media where sites are devoted to photos of such men.

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Depositing User: Angela Smith


Item ID: 7046
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1035-0330
Official URL:

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 14:30
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 15:40


Author: Angela Smith

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications


Culture > English Language and Literature

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