MALE REPRESENTATION “We’re designed to be hunters and we’re in a society of shopping” - Tyler Objectives: To analyse the representation of Masculinity in ‘Fight Club’. To outline and analyse the binary opposites that exist between the Narrator and Tyler.
Starter Annotate the body outline with the features, signifiers of traditional masculinity. Be as creative as you like
Masculinity: Social Context Feminism Traditional male roles: Cowboy; Hunter; Defender; Achiever; Warrior; Breadwinner Exposed as myths by the feminist movement Men left without a clear identity after Feminism questioned the role of man Traditional Male roles/unachievable images of strength ALSO imprisoned men
Repressed male rage – Frustration about:
The Feminization of Man and an increase in ‘consumption’
Repressed ‘Raw’ Masculinity
The dehumanizing effects of corporate consumer culture
The ‘New Man’
The ‘new man’ has lost touch with his masculine ‘core’
The ‘real man’ has been lost by consumerism and the media
Film depicts mens’ frustration at the media’s ‘feminisation’ of men
Mans obsession with consumerism has replaced traditional male symbols: strength, honour
Attacks lack of male role models – men raised by women due to men working
Fight Club attempts to reassert supposedly ‘obsolete’ Violent, Mindless Masculinity
The Narrator As you watch the clip and with the knowledge we have already gained make notes on: How is the Narrator presented to us a ‘man in crisis’? What does the Narrator’s ‘Power Animal’ say about the state of contemporary masculinity?
Norton (The narrator)
Introduced by credits hurtling through his brain
The ‘Unreliable Narrator’ – gains audiences trust but is untrustworthy due to his mental state
The ‘new man’ character – he is ‘emasculated’
Consumerist: Job + Possessions + Clothes + Car = Happiness
His male status is an illusion – accumulation of possessions but no happiness
Traditional male role is lost – no male friends, no sexual partner, no libido, no ‘action’ job
Fantasises about dying
Mise en Scene & The Narrator
Mise en scene depicts the Narrator in a constricted, unsettled world
Spaces which constrain him/give a sense of confinement; Low ceilings cluttered sets; no colour (chiaroscuro)
TRAPPED in his suit
The Narrator’s ‘Power Animal’
What does the Narrator’s ‘Power Animal’ say about the state of contemporary masculinity?
Power Animals: Lion? Tiger? Shark? Penguin
Connotations of the Penguin:
Small; Incapable of Flight; Childish; Harmless; Tuxedo/wears a suit
Penguin is juxtaposed against Narrator’s dream of masculine empowerment
Remaining Men Together We are introduced to two men that have attempted to conform to traditional roles of masculinity and failed. In what ways have they both been emasculated?
Bob’s character is seen through the eyes of the ‘Unreliable Narrator’ –
Norton’s unstable perspective: How he see’s contemporary man:
A muscleman with breasts (Traditional Masculinity V’s the New Man)
In trying to attain ideal male physique gets breasts!
Gives maternal, feminine care to Narrator
Question How does the intro to Fight Club present the ‘new man’? 15 minutes – use examples.
Starter/Re-cap Annotate the features of the new man presented to us by Fight Club all around the body outline. You can be as creative as you like.
Tyler Watch the clip. What role does Tyler play in the narrative? What does he embody & how is he different to the Narrator?
Tyler Played by Brad Pitt – the star most men would want to play them in a movie of their life Male aspiration figure for the Narrator – his care-free, hot ideal alter ego: answers to nobody
Created from frustration and repressed rage
Introduced wearing sunglasses, leather jacket, chiseled jaw, spiked hair, a colourful juxtaposition against the ‘grey’ suited Narrator Everything the narrator isn’t: Charismatic, Sexually Dominant Aggressive, Powerful, in charge of his own destiny Tyler rejects consumerism/ materialistic lifestyle
Group Task Create a list of the binary opposites that exist between the Narrator and Tyler. Choose one of these and write up your notes in full sentences.
The same as everybody else – just another grey suit (‘A copy of a copy of a copy’)
Occupies shadowy underworld
Outlandish, Flamboyant, Unique, Original – link to Anti Globalization themes
Homework - The Fight Club Watch the clip Intro to Fight Club from the U drive. Make notes on these questions What type of man attends Fight Club? What seems to be the function of it in their lives? Analyse Tyler’s speech – what could this be likened to? How does this notion of masculinity differ from what we have previously been offered by the film?
The Fight Club The creation of ‘The Fight Club’ plays an essential role in freeing the narrator from his crisis of masculinity. Mostly filled by white middle class achievers who feel there material successes are empty, or working class men frustrated by their social status. It is almost like a ‘trial by fire’ initiation ritual for the modern man. The focus of fighting is endurance – taking the beating and defining one’s identity through the pain.
Scenes of physical displays of violence in an attempt to find inner ‘man’
Men resort back to a tribal, raw masculinity = another empty role
Question What function does ‘The Fight Club’ play in the film?