Bromance & Masculinity
Turtle reminds Vince that “the movie is called ‘Aquaman,’ not ‘Aquagirl.'” This line is indicative of the “boys club” that continues to thrive in Hollywood. An actress’s livelihood in the industry is dependent on her co-star.
However, when boys are told that “boys don’t cry” and that men should “man up,” their emotions are not respected, and they often internalize this stigma, sometimes with devastating consequences. Of course, simply crying won’t cure a condition as severe as PTSD, but men being shown that they are not “weak” for experiencing emotions and needing help will undoubtedly aid in the road to recovery.
As the monomyth evolves, the question is: will it evolve to include the “everywoman” hero archetype, or will the nature of myth itself change to embrace not just the messaging of individualization, but the representation of unique stories for unique people?
Slippin’ Jimmy was to James McGill what Heisenberg was to Walter White–a hyper-masculine alter-ego. OK, Slippin’ Jimmy was only conning a few business men out of their Rolexes, but essentially both men created an alternative, more masculine version of themselves in order to survive and gain success.
“What is her power over you?” Randall chides Jamie during his psychological torture. As manly as Jamie likens to be, he long ago surrendered himself to Claire’s power over him. In his deteriorated state, only a woman can heal this broken man. While Jamie’s brokenness is wholly justifiable, his extremist way of thinking shows his ideas of masculinity will need to continue to evolve if he wants to fully regain his soul.
As the evil dictator of the territory he occupies in a post-apocalyptic world, he demands more and more gasoline (which is in rare supply), while withholding water from his starved and sickly citizens. He also has a collection of women that he imprisons and uses for breeding purposes. In this single character we see some of the worst aspects of rampant hyper-masculinity condensed into one truly horrifying man.
Yet this very concept of shaming queer men for their sexuality while society is praising straight men for their sexual conquests as a key element of “successful” masculinity demonstrates the way homophobia intersects with a devaluing of the feminine.
Boys are judged on their ability to swing a sword or work a trade, criticised for showing weakness, and taught to grow up hard and cold. Doesn’t sound unfamiliar, does it? Masculinity is praised in Westerosi society, as it is in our own.
The movie also, however, offers ideological and anthropological readings of masculinity which are, arguably, a little more complicated.
Bigelow appears to have a deep interest in, and respect for, martial masculinity.
The life Brody has lived is utterly different, if not entirely sheltered. What dangers or dilemmas he’s faced in his life simply haven’t left the kind of marks Hooper and Quint bear. And their lack prevents him from engaging in any stereotypical masculine posturing. He is, by that criteria anyway, untested.
‘Breaking Bad’ is one of those well-written, well-acted shows that somehow inspires people to scream at each other in CAPSLOCK. The debate about Walter White and his wife and their drug-trade boils down to your answers to three deceptively simple questions that act as a rorschach test on masculinity in American culture.
Not only does the characterization of this violent misogyny as “primordial” imply that violence toward women is the natural state of men, it also implies that gender itself is an essential and natural state of being. Men are men and women are women. In a universe that generally operates in gray areas, such a distinction is uncharacteristically black and white.