Casie Ropski

Chaos, Stress, and Fire’: Masculinity Performance in Chopped and Cupcake Wars”


Since its publication in the 1970s, Brannon’s four pillars of masculinity have been upheld as the guidelines for stereotypically masculine behavior (1976). Utilizing Brannon’s pillars, this study analyzes men’s performances of masculinity on two popular food competition shows on Food Network: Chopped and Cupcake Wars. While Chopped has a masculine environment, which is more typical of food competition reality shows, Cupcake Wars has a feminine environment. The goal of this analysis is to see if the gendered environments of the shows have an impact on masculinity performance and if Brannon’s pillars of masculinity are still applicable today. Overall, the masculine environment of Chopped seems to have an impact on the men of the show. Men on Chopped exhibit more of Brannon’s pillars than the men on Cupcake Wars. Still, both shows demonstrate ways in which men are straying from Brannon’s pillars. This could show that society, which reality television attempts to mirror, is evolving in how it views masculinity.