Advertising power: Hegemonic masculinity in fraternity rush advertisements

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Susan Borker


Masculinity, Fraternity, Advertisements, Greek system, Sorority

Subject Categories

American Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Higher Education Administration | Public Relations and Advertising | Sociology of Culture


Through the examination of advertisements that college fraternities create and distribute to recruit new members, this qualitative study considers the text, images, and composition of fraternity rush advertisements as a way in which certain forms of masculinity are celebrated and sustained while other forms of masculinity are contested. This study also analyzes the ways that students resist these advertisements and illustrates the manner by which sorority women serve as advocates of a discourse of hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity through their ardent support of fraternity-related events. This dissertation explores campus life during the first 25 years following the implementation of Title IX legislation in 1972, a prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex by schools that receive federal funding. This dissertation includes policy recommendations for school administrators and students in the Greek system. The fraternity is a prominent organization in the history of American higher education. Although white and Protestant in origin, fraternities have also been the site of struggles for recognition by Jewish and African-American men and, more recently, Latino and gay men, who have initiated their own organizations. A fraternity, whether homogenous or diverse in its membership, is an avenue for men to prove their manhood. The Greek system is a microcosm to study the way gender, sexuality, class, race, and other inequalities are reproduced and reinforced both on and off campus. My analysis demonstrates the way that fraternity rush advertisements: (1) construct hegemonic forms of masculinity that define and celebrate an idealized manhood that is Surface provides description only. Full text is available to ProQuest subscribers. Ask your Librarian for assistance. to a select group of men; and (2) classify and sanction certain particular behaviors as appropriate for the relationships between men and women as well as men with other men.


Surface provides description only. Full text is available to ProQuest subscribers. Ask your Librarian for assistance.