paper 3 - Fight Club, 1 Exploring Hegemonic Masculinity...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Exploring Hegemonic Masculinity through Fight Club Tricia Mittman Communications Studies 101 Professor Hutchinson December 2, 2010 Fight Club, 1
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Fight Club , a 1999 film starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, revolves around two strangers developing a fight club in their city that eventually results in a nationwide underground cult acting out against corporate organizations called Project Mayhem. Edward Norton stars as the unnamed protagonist (referred to as the narrator) alongside his partner Tyler Durden, played by Pitt. The two become acquainted when the narrator’s apartment catches fire after a flight home in which he sat next to Durden. Having exchanged phone numbers, the two meet up that night at a local bar, and ultimately Norton moves into Tyler’s home. Throughout the film, most characters depict traits of hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is the normative ideas of male behavior such as being tough, strong, muscular, aggressive, emotionless, and self-reliant (Hutchinson, 2010b). In Fight Club , scenes of power, control, and strength, as well as explicit dialogue and the notion of the Alpha male, relay the idea that hegemonic masculinity is the association of a ‘real man’, and that successful males exhibit these characteristics. In the opening scene of the film, one man is putting a gun into another man’s mouth. The aggressor is asking the other man questions and forcefully shoving the firearm deep into his mouth if his answers are not adequate. This initial scene of control gives credit to the power that comes with superiority, a notoriously masculine concept. By being tied to a chair and controlled, the second man seems inferior and helpless, giving even more power to the aggressor, who has the power to kill the man in the chair. Viewers interpret the man’s control as masculine and powerful, desirable characteristics. Killing and weaponry are staple ideas in hegemonic masculinity, and these themes are more than prevalent throughout the movie. Tyler and the narrator often engage in conversation with stereotypical masculine undertones. For example, when discussing the loss of the narrator’s home and possessions with Tyler, Tyler plainly replies, “It could be worse, a woman could cut off your penis while you’re Fight Club, 2
Background image of page 2
sleeping” (Fincher, 1999). The idea of losing your genitals as the ultimate form of emasculation is widely recognized in hegemonic masculinity. The film makes reference to this idea again at a support group for men with testicular cancer. At the opening shot, the narrator explicitly says, “The most horrific experience as a man is losing your balls” (Fincher, 1999). Bob, an obese man, is seen sobbing over losing his wife and career due to testicular cancer. He hugs other men, and engages in actions that are not stereotypically manly. The narrator attributes Bob’s questionable actions to the fact that he has lost his ‘balls’, and thus his typically feminine behavior is acceptable. The idea of men’s testicles attributing to their manhood has been long recognized, as
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/13/2011 for the course COMM 211 taught by Professor Traubaut during the Spring '08 term at University of Michigan.

Page1 / 10

paper 3 - Fight Club, 1 Exploring Hegemonic Masculinity...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online