The Marlboro M Cigarette Smoking And Masculinity Essay

The Marlboro M Cigarette Smoking And Masculinity Essay

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This is a review of the article The Marlboro Man: Cigarette Smoking and Masculinity in America, written by Michael E. Starr in 1984 for the Journal of Popular Culture. The article examines what factors were involved in diminishing the unmanly stigma associated with cigarette smoking in the twentieth century. The United States is the geographical focus. The time period ranges, but the bulk of the article deals with 1900 to 1970.
The central point the author drives home is that at the turn of the twentieth century, cigarette smoking was not deemed an acceptable practice for middle or upper class men in the United States. The author states that there were numerous factors, each seemingly more extreme than the last, that lead to the acceptance of the cigarette as a manly product. The author succeeds in producing a well-organized, in-depth, chronological explanation as to which organizations, individuals, events, and cultural portrayals were factors in destigmatizing cigarette smoking among middle or upper class American men. A timeline of key dates, years, or decades is apparent. However, there are some weak points in the article which bring the accuracy and value of the article into question. The most notable is the lack of substantiated proof that the author’s claims are valid. There are a variety of instances where the author fails to differentiate between correlation and causation. The article would be more persuasive had it included an opposing view. While the arguments put forward may not be completely proven, they would certainly look more plausible when juxtaposed with an alternative view. As a result, it is clear that the author missed the mark on penning an entirely persuasive explanation of all events, and that this articl...


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... as the argument surrounding post-World War Two advertising. Within the article, it is unproven that there was a spike in cigarette smoking in men. It was also unproven that the advertisements had an effect. The article ignores the possibility that the increase in smoking among men was merely a consequence of reaching a few opinion leaders. As cigarettes are such an addictive product, simple curiosity in the privacy of one’s home may have turned some men into smokers.
On the whole, the article is well-organized, and logical. Despite the abundance of unconfirmed statements, the alleged consequences of many of the events listed are believable. The article would be significantly more believable if there was a balance of arguments, of if the arguments listed were less disputable. The article should be considered a working, even persuasive, theory, rather absolute fact.

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