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Gender in Fight Club


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Gender in Fight Club

  1. 1. Gender Critical ApproachGender Critical Approach MALE REPRESENTATIONMALE 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.
  2. 2. Starter Annotate the body outline with the features, signifiers of traditional masculinity. Be as creative as you like
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. Question How does the intro to Fight Club present the ‘new man’?
  6. 6. The New Man 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.
  7. 7. The Narrator How is the Narrator presented to us a ‘man in crisis’?
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. Bob • 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 vs the New Man) • In trying to attain ideal male physique gets breasts! • Gives maternal, feminine care to Narrator
  12. 12. Tyler Watch the clip. What role does Tyler play in the narrative? What does he embody & how is he different to the Narrator?
  13. 13. 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, chiselled 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
  14. 14. Male Binary Opposites • Occupies corporate spaces: Offices, Planes, Hotels • 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
  15. 15. The Fight Club Watch the Fight Club initiation scene. 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?
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. Question What function does ‘The Fight Club’ play in the film? How is it trying to readdress the issues created by the ‘new man’ ethos?
  18. 18. Marla We are offered one main character to consider for the representation of the female gender in Fight Club. Is Marla stereotypical or non-stereotypical? What words would you use to describe her? Use an example from the film to back up your claim.
  19. 19. Desire and destruction Marla represents both desire and destruction throughout Fight Club. What moments can you think of that are examples of either desire, destruction, or both? What is Marla’s role in the film?
  20. 20. “Marla’s femininity and the Narrator’s masculinity are dependent on that of the other. Jack cannot be masculine while Marla exhibits masculine traits; Marla cannot be feminine while the Narrator exhibits overly feminine traits”
  21. 21. Your thoughts? “Somehow I realise all of this – the gun, the bombs, the revolution – is all about Marla Singer” - Narrator “And the whole story is about a man reaching the point where he can commit to loving a woman.” -Chuck Palahniuk
  22. 22. Homework Pages 3-6 of your Fight Club resources book