Masculinity in Fight Club

Masculinityin Fight Club

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Abstract

Thereare manythemesthatmoviesandothermediaseekto putacross. One suchthemeis masculinity.Theideaof thisthemeis to painta pictureof mendoingthingsthat thesocietyassociateswith men.One suchfilmis theFight Club producedin 1999. Thispaperwill determinewhetherfightclubis a masculinemovie.Itwill alsodiscusshowmengeta portrayalin themovieandtherationalegivenfortheir behavior.

Thepaperanalyzesthemasculinityas depictedin themovie,“Fight Club.”Itseeksto answerthefollowingquestionsa)Howare menportrayedin themoviein termsof their personalityandroles?b)Whatis therationalegivenby themoviesettingforthisbehavior?

Thesequestionswill assistin givingmy hypothesisa comprehensiveconclusion.The research will workto proveordisapprovethefactthatfightclubis a masculinemovie.

FightClub is a moviehighlychargedwith thebehaviorof menas huntersandgatherers in themodernworld.To echothewordsof Tyler, whois amainactormenare losingtouchof their personalitydue to theinfluenceof commercialism andthemedia.Thedepressedabilityis due to thelackof warsandnationalhardships.Thesemakemenbe weaklingsandcannot standup to thesociallyconstructedroles.Theyhaveresolved,therefore,to thepursuance of otherdreamsof becomingmusicstarsandmillionaires.Hecontinuesto outlinethatmendothejobstheydon’twantto getthingsthat theydon’tlike.Theagendao themovieis to developa manwhois tough,violentandwhocan survivein everysituation(Wartenberg, 2013).

Thescenesin thismoviearresttheinterestof a gendersensitivepersonandconductinga studyon thewayfilmmakers portraymenandtherolesthat theyplaycomparedto thoseof womenis important.Asseenearlier,moviesare majorchannelsthat continueto propagatethethemeof masculinity.Weshall furtherexperiencethesamepremisein theliteraturereview.

Background

Menandwomenplaydifferentrolesin thesociety.Thecultureof genderrolespaintsa pictureof howmenandwomenshould behave.Theseare therolesoractivitiesthatmenandwomenare supposedto performas agreedupon by thesociety.Theroleof menin thesocietyhas beenon thevergeof stereotyping.Menare pushedto thecornerto behavein a certainwaydeemedas appropriateforthem by thesociety.Due to thechangingwaysof livebroughtabout by civilizationandincreasedawareness,bothmenandwomenare losingtouchwith whatthesocietyoncewantedthem to behave.

Bythevirtueof their physicalfeaturesandculturalstereotypes,menhaveperformedvariousrolesthat makethem lookorappearmasculine. Masculinityin thispaperfallsunder thedefinitionof a setof qualitiesassociatedwith themen(Philips, 2013). Thenameitself is an attributegivento men.Someof theactivitiesassociatedwith menare beingcowboyssothattheycan performdangerousridingandcompetitionsas womencheerthem andhuntingin dangerousjunglesandbringingthetrophieshome.Peopletakethem as warriorsanddefendersof their familiesandthesociety.Themostcommonattributeof masculinityis theabilityto provideforthefamilyandactas thesolebreadwinner(Philips, 2013).

However,thesocietyis changing,andmenare losinggraspof theseculture-defined roles.In orderto makethem retaintheir position,variouschannelsare usedto passinformation.Media is one of suchchannels.Through moviesandprograms,therolesof menare muscularbeingsgetsa reinforcement.Moviesplayan importantroleinawakening menfrom their perceivedsleep.Over theyears,majorityof thefilmshavemasculinitydefiningtheir prose. Themainactorsare strongandviolentmenormenwhocan withstandhardships.Thedaysof warriorsanddefendersare past.Thesedayswehavecareersin moviesthat showthelevel of masculinityforgedby thesociety.An analysisof masculinerepresentationshowsthatin movies,thenumberof menportrayedas lawyersin moviesis 90%. Thenumberof menportrayedas judgesandprofessorsare 95% and94% respectively(Locke, B. (2014).

Mostmovieshavethethemeof masculinityamplifiedbeyond reality.In mostof them, themanis thesuperiorfigure.Mostof themissionsin themoviesare upto savea womanentangledin a problemorunder captivity.Themanifestationis aclearexplanationof howmenshould behave.In movieswith violenceas themajortheme,womenrarelyplayanyimportantroleapartfrom givingcompanyorpleasureto themainactors.Therefore,moviesare criticalexamplesof promotinggenderroles(Jackson, 2014).

Onesuchmovieis a filmproducedin 1999 by thenameFight Club. In thismovie,violenceis themaintheme.Thethemeof masculinityreceivesagreatliftin thisfilmwherebythemanreceivestheimageof a survivoran individualcapableof pickinga fightwith anypersonin thestreetandfightforhis life.Thelifeof a manas a modernhunter-gatherer, andone whogetstoughin demandingsituationsgetsa lotof emphasisin thisfilm.Literaturereview

Holmlund(2013) analyzeshowproductionhousesdepictthecharacterandphysicalappearanceof a man.His focusis on theholly woodfilmmakers. Mostof thefilmsproducedin Hollywood andthat havegaineda positivepublicopinionhavean inclinationto thecharacterandphysicalappearanceof a man.Hegivesan exampleof a famousHollywood star,Arnold Schwarzenegger whosephysicis aclearrepresentationof masculinity.Althoughmasculinityis not fullyabout thephysicalappearanceburalsothecharacter,thephysicalappearanceof a manis an importantinputn themovies.On theotherhand,helooksat femaleactorsandthewayHollywood moviesportraythem. Hegivesan exampleof Jennifer Lopez whosephysicalappearanceis delicateandwhatthesocietytermsas feminine. Theauthorcriticizestheuseof thisformof mediato propagategenderperceiveroles.Hebelievesthatnot allmencan havesuchphysicalcharacteristicsandappearances.Thosewhodonot havewell-set musclesare in nowaylessermen(Holmlund, 2013).

Cohanetal. (2012) are concerned about thephysicalrepresentationsof menin thefilms.In mostfilms,hardlywill youfindthemaincharactersbeingweakeitherin bodyandmind.Physicalenergyis one of themainstaysof thesecharacters.Their physicalenergyenablesthem to ventureinto dangerousactivitieslike beingat thewarfront,engagingin crimeandparticipatingin streetfights.Thesecharactersappearto bringout theneedformento developsuchcharactersandphysicalappearancesiftheyare to survivein suchsituations.Accordingto theauthors,situationsassociatedwith crimeandviolenceis themen’sdomain.Womenare rarelythekeyplayersin suchsituations.Whentheyhappento be, theygivesupportive serviceslike escorts,sexualpleasuresorrunningerrands.Itis anotheraspectof masculinitythat makesa manstandtallcomparedto his femalecounterpart(Cohan et al., 2012).

Collins(2011) discussestheappearanceof genderrolesin movies.Accordingto theauthor,themedia is a representationof thethoughtexistingin thesociety.Filmproducersus thegeneralfeelingexistingin a localitywhenproducingtheir moviesin thatspecificsetting.To makethingseasyforthem, theculturally-defined genderrolesgeta reflectionin movies.Theapproachis dueto therolesassignedto menandwomencharacters.In mostmovies,menwill performtherolesthatthesocietyhas stereotypedas masculine.Theauthorgivesan exampleof peopleworkingin minesortheconstructionindustry.Menwill appearin hordesin theseoccupations.Women,on theotherhand,will be foundin feminineactivitieslike advertisinghouseholditemsordoingclericalwork(Collins, 2011).

Itis a usualoccurrenceto findyoungpeopletryingto emulatetheir favoritecharacters.Theimitationhappensin termsof behaviorandeventhephysicalappearance.In movieswith crime,mengeta meandepiction. Theyhaveruggedfeaturesandhardmuscles.Theappearancegetspublicsupportas thebestformof masculinityfortoughguys.Itis common,therefore,to findyoungboysandmenspendingtimein thegym to getan athleticlookorbulgingmusclesto appearlike their favoriteactors(Collins, 2011). Te authoralsocomparesseveralhistoricaltendenciesin moviemaking.Thenatureof thebehaviorgiveto actorsis dependenton thecontextat thatspecifictime.In thepast,thesein movieshadto dowith drugsandthesaleof arms.In suchmovies,masculinityfounda groundwherebymenwerethemajorarmsanddrugdealers.Thethemechangedwith timeandtodaywehaveblackmailandhighlypoliticalmovies.Again,thethemeof masculinityis in action.However,hegiveshopethatthecurrenttrendof movieproductionis showingsomepromiseof demystifying therolesplayedby charactersin movies.In somemovies,womenare givenrolesthat depictphysicalstrengthandagility,an attributeassociatedwith menin thepast.

Lehman(2001) outlinesthewaymasculinitygetsrepresentedin themoviesin termsof physicalappearance.Accordingto theauthor,there has beena developmentof a movieculturewherebytheactorsmust haveperceivedfavorablecharacteristics.Thesecharacteristicsmakethem preferredto playcertainrolesin variousmovies.Thecharacteristicsof vitalityandvirilityare exampleof howa manshould appear.Theauthordiscussestheroleof a stringbodyin givinga characterthedesirablepicture.Suchcharacterscan fightorcommita crimeandfighttheir wayout of problems.Thosewhowatchsuchmoviestendto admiresuchcharacters,andtheycan evenassociatestrongpeoplewith thesecharacters(Lehman, 2001).

BainbridgeandYates (2005) discusshowa transferof thedepictedimagesin moviesgetsinto thereallife.Accordingto theseauthors,mostpeopleassociatethemselves with thecharactersin moviesandtheyeventendto behavelike them. Theproblemcomesin whenthebehavioris not in linewith thelaw.Mostyoungpeopleare findingthemselves at loggerheads with thelawwhentheyto behavelike realactors.Accordingto theauthors,there is a lotof heroworshipespeciallyamong youngmenandadolescents.Thetypeof masculinityexpresseddinthemoviesis noalwaysculturally orlegallyright.Menare mostlyexpressedas richevenwhentheyusequestionablemeansto accumulatewealth.Forthisreason,theinfluenceis likelyto be passedon theaudience.

Insummary,theliteraturereviewprovidesinformationthat moviesare platformsin which masculinitypropagates.Accordingto theliteraturereview,charactersare modeledto havethedesirablecharacteristicsaccordingto thesocietal thought.Thecharacteristicsof havingstrongbodies,violencebehavior,andrichnessgetan associationwith men.Itis, therefore,easyto deducta conclusionthat,accordingto mostmovies,menshould havethesecharacteristics.Asseenearlier,whatappearsin themoviesis mostlythegeneralfeelingin thesociety.Thescenesof violence,strengthandadventuregeta reflectionin Fight Club (Pomerance &amp Gateward, 2005).Themaincharactersare strongmenwhocan fighthardandengagein dangerousbattles.Wehaveto looktheextentto which thismoviegiveslifeto thesemusculartendencies.Researchstudy

Thestudyaimsto determinehowmasculinitycomesout in themovie“Fight Club.” Therationalebehind thisis becausemoviesare someof eh bestplatformsthat outlinethesituationas itexistsin thesociety.Theeventsin themoviereflectthesituationin thesocietyin fairlythesameway.Theinformationin thisresearchpaperis out of a comprehensivereviewof existingliteratureon howfilmsare usedto propagatethethemeof masculinity.

Inconductingtheresearch,articleswrittenin thelastone decade gota review.Theconsulted literaturehadto appearin a publicationafter 2005and theyhadmasculinityin moviesas their maintheme.Aconsiderationof thequantitative data gavesupportto thestudy.Thepercentageof menandwomengivendifferentrolesto playin differentfilmshelpedin theanalysis.Variouschartsandtablefrom differentsourcesstrengthenedtheinformationin thispaper.

Conclusion

FightClub is a goodimprintof masculinityin movies.In thismovie,wegetan impressionof a manwhoshould be toughwhenthedemandingsituationsarise.In themovie,thecharactersdefythegrowingtrendof menbecomingmusicstarsandrichmenwhiletheycannot performthedutiestakenas belongingto a man.Tyler, whois amajorcharacter,doesnot understandwhyindividualscreatedto be huntersbecomeshoppersandalwaysfindfantasyin shopping.

Whenwelcomedto thefightclub,themengeta promisethattheywill be morefulfilledthan in anyotherplacetheyhavebeen.Themovieusesa sadomasochist approachwhereby,t heinflictionof painis on willed terms.Themanwhowillfully enduresthepainandcomeoutvictoriousis desirable.Violenceis a wayto geta satisfactionnot foundin otheractivities.Theclubbringsmentogether,andtheyredefine themselves. Experiencingpainandenduringitgivesmenasatisfactiontheycannot findin anyotherplace.Theideais a soledomainof men.Themasculinityin thefightgivesthem satisfaction.Theseeventsin themovieconfirmthatindeedFight Club is a masculinemovie.

References

Bainbridge,C., &amp Yates, C. (2005). Cinematic symptoms of masculinity intransition: Memory, history and mythology in contemporary film.Psychoanalysis,Culture &amp Society,10(3),299-318.

Cohan,S., &amp Hark, I. R. (Eds.). (2012). Screeningthe male: Exploring masculinities in the Hollywood cinema.Routledge: New York.

Collins,R. L. (2011). Content analysis of gender roles in media: Where are wenow and where should we go? SexRoles,64(3-4),290-298.

Holmlund,C. (2013). Impossiblebodies: femininity and masculinity at the movies.Routledge: New York.

Jackson,J. J. (2014). Menin Crisis: Masculine Identity in David Fincher`s(Doctoral dissertation, Long island University Press: Brooklyn.

Lehman,P. (2001). Masculinity: Bodies, Movies. Pearson:New York.

Locke,B. (2014). The White Man`s Bruce Lee: Race and the Construction ofWhite Masculinity in David Fincher`s Fight Club (1999). Journalof Asian American Studies,17(1),61-89.

Phillips,S. H. (2013). Thirteen ways of looking at a man: psychoanalysis andmasculinity. ThePsychoanalytic Quarterly,82(3),748-759.

Pomerance,M., &amp Gateward, F. K. (2005). Wherethe boys are: Cinemas of masculinity and youth.Wayne State University Press: Detroit.

Wartenberg,T. E. (Ed.). (2013). Fightclub.Routledge: New York.

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