K is for Kooking!, Saturday Star

Date: January 1, 1970
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This article is a profile of and interview with Danny K, described as ?South Africa?s Hottest Hunk.? But it turns out that Danny is quite an unconventional guy. He likes gender role reversals, and the thing that ?no one knew about him?, that comes out in this profile, is that he likes to cook. He is also a family guy, not afraid to talk about his emotions, and regards being a good performer as more important than his looks.

This article may be used to:
  • Give an example of how challenging stereotypes is not just about women but also about men.  Male celebrities have a particularly important role to play in challenging stereotypes.   
Training exercises
  1. In groups or pairs, describe what your typical image is of a male celebrity in your country. Think of a few celebrities. Is their image a typical macho image?
  2. Before reading the “K is for cooking” article, look just at the image (not the caption or headline) that goes with the story. If you saw just this image, and you knew nothing about Danny K, what would be your expectation about the kind of person that he is?
  3.  Now read the article, and answer the following questions:
  • Who is Danny K and why is he being profiled?
  • In what way does he challenge stereotypes about men, and in particular about male celebrities?
  • Compare your response to what you would have thought about him from his picture, and what you get to know about him from reading the article. What does this reveal about stereotypes?
  • Do you think this article would have been different if it had been written by a male journalist? Why?

Trainer’s notes


Gender aware reporting is not only about challenging female stereotypes but also male stereotypes. Both forms of stereotyping are especially pronounced when it comes to celebrities. The flip side of the coin is that celebrities have a key role to play in challenging stereotypes. An important message in this article is never to make assumptions; looks can be deceptive and the questions journalists choose to ask can reveal sides of people we had never thought about. 

Exercise one: It is important in training to start with the experiences of participants. Get them to think about celebrities in their countries, and what their typical “image” is like.
Exercise two: The photo of Danny K is deceptive. With the wrist bands, shiny muscles etc he looks just like the boxer he never turned out to be. From the photo alone it is likely that participants will ascribe to him typical male attributes: strong, good looking, up for a one night stance, not much depth or feeling etc.
Exercise three: There are several observations that can be drawn out of the article:
  • The headline: “K is for Kooking!” is a great way of announcing that this guy is not whom you would expect him to be. It also shows that stereotypes can blind us to who people really are, and to their multiple dimensions. With all that has been written about Danny K, the one thing that has not been said is that he likes cooking. News is about what is new. Challenging stereotypes therefore makes for more interesting journalism.
  • His views on women are different: he’s not just out to get but also to give; he likes it when he’s not the one to go out and “get” women and roles are reversed; he is rather taken aback when fifty women accost him after a concert; the women in his family are what “keeps me going” and he speaks with great feeling about the passing away of his brother in a car crash.
  • His views on looks are measured; it is more important to him to be a good professional singer than to be “SA’s Hottest Hunk”. The decision to become a singer rather than a boxer, when he came close to being a professional is also interesting with regard to challenging stereotypes.
  • The question as to whether the article would be different if it had been written by a male journalist is speculative but interesting. It is possible that the interview would have followed a completely different line of questioning (eg around boxing than rather around family). It is clear from the interview that Danny is very much aware that he is talking to a woman journalist.
Other training resources
  • “Gender in Media Training: A Southern Africa Tool kit”, page 40-43 addresses Sex and Gender Roles and Gender Stereotypes.
  • “Picture our Lives: Gender and Images in Southern Africa ”: Chapter Five, Gender and the Visual Media, has some excellent handouts and examples of male stereotypes and challenging these.

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