Losers, Food, and Sex: Clerical Masculinity in the BBC Sitcom Rev.

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Alexander Darius Ornella


Clerical masculinities, much like their lay/secular counterparts, often appear unchanging because they are the products of naturalization processes. Clerical masculinities, however, are far from being stable but the live and breathe the dynamics of both their socio-religious context and their secular ‘others’. The BBC sitcom Rev. (2010-2011) is a refreshing take on the everyday life and problems of a vicar in the Church of England trying to avoid stereotypes that often come with clerical roles. Besides its entertainment factor, the sitcom is a valuable site to study the negotiation practices of clerical masculinity in the context of the Church of England. Rev. is not the first and only TV show featuring clerics, but its approach of exploring and inquiring points out that masculinities are never just beneficiaries or performers of power but also subject to power and socio-religious momentums. Uncovering religious negotiation processes of masculinities, Rev. can give an institution that is involved in the ‘production’ of religion a more human face. This paper focuses on the "loser" aspects of the series' male characters, in particular Rev. Adam Smallbone to show that the male characters struggle with fitting in to predefined notions of being a man but at the end of the show learn to appreciate and celebrate their own masculinities.

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Author Biography

Alexander Darius Ornella, School of Social Sciences, University of Hull

Alexander Darius Ornella is Lecturer in Religion at the School of Social Sciences, University of Hull (UK). He is also the Director of the Center for Spirituality Studies at the University of Hull. Ornella received his doctorate in Catholic Theology from the University of Graz (Austria) in 2007. His research interests include: religion and popular culture; the sport of CrossFit, meaning-making, and religion; body and technology and religion.