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  1. 1. The Crisis of masculinity
  2. 2. However, the times they were a changin’. <ul><li>The Second Wave of feminism </li></ul><ul><li>Women became increasingly empowered as legal reforms such as: </li></ul><ul><li>The Equal Pay Act (1970) </li></ul><ul><li>The Sexual Discrimination Act (1975) </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Death of the Industrial Male <ul><li>In the 1970s and 1980s a lot of Britain’s heavy industries were dismantled as the country moved towards a more computer driven, service based economy where traditional male roles were taken away and replaced by jobs that could be undertaken by women. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Aids: the queering of the mainstream <ul><li>AIDS raised the gay profile; suddenly you couldn’t ignore the existence of the homosexual male. </li></ul><ul><li>The financial muscle of the pink pound. </li></ul><ul><li>The queering of the mainstream brought eroticised images of the male body into fashion and advertising. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Fetishisation <ul><li>This new fetishisation of the male body blurred traditional definitions of what the male body ought to look like. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The feminised male
  7. 7. The Crisis of Masculinity <ul><li>The emasculation of traditional male identity has led to a ‘crisis of masculinity’. </li></ul><ul><li>Men were no longer certain of what their role in society was. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Phallic Male <ul><li>Some men tried desperately hang on to their privileged status. </li></ul><ul><li>Some commentators have suggested that there has been a backlash against the repositioning of masculinity. </li></ul><ul><li>Magazines such as Loaded provided images of men of action whilst women were reduced to soft porn objects. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Fight Club and the Phallic Male <ul><li>Fight Club (Fincher, 1999) can be read in such a way. Edward Norton’s masculinity has been commodified to the point where his identity is defined by an Ikea catalogue. </li></ul><ul><li>He stumbles across other examples of frustrated masculinity, emphasised by the character of Bob Paulson (Meat Loaf) who has not only lost his balls but has grown breasts. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Fight Club and the Phallic Male <ul><li>Only throughTyler Durden can Norton recreate the phallic identity of masculinity. </li></ul><ul><li>Norton’s character, in the guise of Durden can fight, screw and play golf. </li></ul><ul><li>He can exist outside of this feminised society. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Gender confusion? <ul><li>However, the film’s relationship with masculine identity is not as simple as that. </li></ul><ul><li>Fight club mutates into something outside of Norton’s control. </li></ul><ul><li>By killing off his idealised self Norton (and the film) seems to be opening up possibilities of a more pluralized conception of masculinity. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Gender confusion? <ul><li>Fight Club also raises issues about the fetishisation of the male body. </li></ul><ul><li>Laura Mulvey insisted that ‘The male is reluctant to gaze at his exhibitionist like.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Steven Neale suggested that men do like to look voyeuristically at the male body yet were not allowed to due to social conditions and therefore had to mask this desire through the pleasure of the action genre narrative. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Gender confusion? <ul><li>In Fight Club (Fincher, 1999) Norton’s idealised self of Tyler Durden is an erotically charged version of masculinity. It is this fetishised ideal that other men look up to and that Marla appears to want to sleep with. </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, it is this fetishised ideal that masks the male’s desire to gaze upon the male body. </li></ul>
  14. 15. Gender confusion? <ul><li>The fact that Norton’s character kills off Durden in the final scene could represent the anxiety that the male suffers from when desiring another male. </li></ul>
  15. 16. Gender Confusion? <ul><li>However, many of the scenes between Pitt and Norton have an erotically charged nature; there is a ease about their relationship that perhaps suggests a more diverse and fluid sensibility that is accepting of a more feminised masculinity. </li></ul>