The Uncommon Man: Esquire and the Problem of the North American Male Consumer, 1957–63

This article examines Esquire magazine's editorial refashioning after the Second World War to analyse the production of the gendered consuming subject. At issue is the question of how the American male consumer is discursively legitimised and incorporated into the marketplace. While myriad studies exist that demonstrate the centrality of women to consumer culture, little has been written on how men come to identify themselves as consuming subjects. This article approaches the question by examining Esquire's cultivation of the ‘Uncommon Man’ as an idealised masculine consumer subject. Through this formula, Esquire opened a discursive space which legitimised the male consumer as a thoroughly modern and masculine figure.