This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Common Masculine Themes Of Superheroes Explained In Complex Masculinities: The Superhero In Modern American Movies

1449 words - 6 pages

Complex Masculinities: The Superhero in Modern American Movies attempts to encapsulate the essential elements that make masculinities complex by means of mass media. The question of where and why superheroes have held such a salient position in the last decade is aroused when it is media who is the deciding factor in institutionalizing masculinity. When looking at the surface of a superhero movie, dominant hegemonic characteristics are the epitome of the superhero and reflect the roles and values society holds of a “real man”. But, further insight as to why superheroes are constructed as they are, reflect society’s insecurities of real issues the public deals with; the post 9/11 world is ...view middle of the document...

Characteristics such as aggressiveness, physical strength and courage are glorified while weakness, emotion and dependence are considered "not-feminine", and therefore, not displayed in the heroic characters society is bombarded with. A concept that is emphasized in such characteristics of masculinity within a superhero is how ideology influences society's idea of masculinity.

Following the elements of what make up a masculine superhero, the author describes the biggest driving force of this idea of masculinity which succeeds to sway society: the human body. The male body displays power, superiority and masculine strength, and is shown through the superhero's actions. The body, prominently male, white, and beautiful, is shown to the audience in sublime ways; the use of camera shots to better get the low angles, the back shots, slow motion and the exploding background, all of which contribute to the character's persona. But, the body is an element of masculinity which displays complexity: the body's superpowers give the manly impression yet, challenge it at the same time. From a simplistic point of view, the male body is the superhero's amour and protection from the outside; he can be broken down and restored. But, the superpowers also challenge his identity, displaying a "freak-like" nature to society whom he longs to protect. The main argument put forward by the author is how the superhero's body and powers it presents both contribute to emphasize and hinder the masculine role.

Next, the author points out the “Other” the audience sees in the superhero movies and the role they play to demonstrate masculinity. A superhero's masculinity is only achieved when presented with the "other", a vulnerable, softer, feminine version in contrast with a masculine figure, often a woman or feminized other. This concept is both beneficial and challenging to the masculinity of the superhero. The author argues how superheroes are never challenged with a female villain, never have a sidekick (which suggests a homo-social bond) and are always shown as the hero who never questions his own masculinity. On the other hand, the superhero's love interests de-masculine the superhero. The hero is never capable of keeping a girlfriend in a satisfying way and when able, is often challenged with a love triangle with a male other, suggesting homosexuality. Given these points, the concept that underlies the "other" is what dominant masculinity is supposed to be and what it is driving away from.

As portrayed earlier, the arousal of superpowers hinders the superhero's masculinity in displaying his as a freak. The author shifts to argue how fitting in contributes to the complexity of masculinity. To have the self-male identification, one has to successfully lead a double life in existing inside and outside society. Superhero movies often display the hero's superpower as threatening to the social body and never fully as citizens but, shifts to the idea they still belong to...

Find Another Essay On Common Masculine Themes of Superheroes Explained in Complex Masculinities: The Superhero in Modern American Movies

Superhero and Superpower: American Exceptionalism in the Dark Knight Trilogy

1339 words - 5 pages prevalent in the post 9/11 American psyche. As Amy Kaplan notes, most exceptionalist narratives imagine the states’ “endless rise without a corresponding fall” (14). However, The Dark Knight Rises offers a narrative of the rising exceptional hero who does indeed undergo a major fall. This mid-film fail is not without reason. Before Batman, Gotham had already exceeded its ability to effectively control corruption. In this situation, the city stood as an

Common Themes in Poetry Essay

3677 words - 15 pages Common Themes in Poetry After reading and analysing numerous poems, I have chosen two examples of the famous Irish Poet, Seamus Heaney's work: 'Follower' and 'Mid-Term Break'. Both poems relate to the poet's past, and are certainly associated with a specific 'loss' of a loved one - one a literal loss, and the other a subconscious loss. 'Mid-Term Break', which I found to be a very touching and poignant poem, describes the loss of the

The Complex Themes in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

923 words - 4 pages The award winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, may appear to be a simple story about childhood and life in a Southern town in Alabama, but it is really a complex novel dealing with themes of education, moral courage, and tolerance. Through the eyes of Scout Finch, the narrator, Harper Lee teaches the reader about the importance of a moral education, bravery and courage, and prejudice vs. tolerance. The first theme Harper Lee

The Modern Relevance of Themes in James Joyce's Eveline

986 words - 4 pages James Joyce is widely considered to be one of the best authors of the 20th century. One of James Joyce’s most celebrated short stories is “Eveline.” This short story explores the theme of order and hazard and takes a critical look at life in Dublin, Ireland in the early 20th century. Furthermore, the themes that underlie “Eveline” were not only relevant for the time the story was wrote in, but are just as relevant today. The major theme

Report about the hero in American movies

620 words - 2 pages ' ...and he saved the day, got his girl and everyone lived happily ever after.' Sweet, short, cut and dry, that was the typical ending of our childhood books and early movies. There was the perfect hero and the bad villain. That was in the pre-modern era, now our hero isn't always perfect and has his flaws. The hero in today's movies needs these flaws and needs to travel through a combination of paths to become a hero. In order to sell movies

The Influence of Masculine Gender Roles in "The Yellow Wallpaper"

2047 words - 8 pages the Middle class men, heterosexuality became a symbol of manhood, "and heterosexual men began to define themselves in opposition to anything considered feminine" (qtd. in Furumota). These factors constitute what Kimmel defines as "the central themes of American manhood at the turn of the century that masculinity was increasingly an act, a form of public display; that men felt themselves on display at virtually all times; and that the intensity

Different Themes in Movies, Same Place

752 words - 4 pages two places of the plot but often occur in different genres. For example, Lord of the Rings is a fantasy but movies such as The Goonies, Snow White, and even Freddy (not Fred, Freddy from Nightmare on Elm’s Street) all have those similar themes. No? All these movies have friends ‘defeat’ a common foe just as Lord of the Rings did. Themes vary from movie to movie but many are very similar, but at the same side of the coin, many themes are not

Common Themes in Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath

1349 words - 6 pages , including the separation and death of family members, the thin chance of employment, and the ill treatments from the rich Californian farm owners. Some of the recurring themes, shared by both novels, are humans’ inhumanity towards others, the powerful nature of relationships and the impossibility of the American Dream. In both novels, humans display inhumanity towards each other, even though some of them are the victims of this predatory nature

The Motivations of Superheroes

506 words - 2 pages vision, gave rise to Superman’s responsibility for the people’s safety. Superheroes are depended on to save lives and the world from disaster. Batman, along with his Bat mobile and cool toys, protected the city of Gotham from crime and villains. People rely on a superhero to defeat the villain and make the world a better place to grow and live. In addition to the great responsibility that burdens a superhero, costume crime fighters also fear for

The Issue of Immigration In Comic Books Social and Political Events in American Superhero Graphic Novels that Have Added to the Rising Topic of I

2022 words - 9 pages . This essay attempts to answer the question: How do American superhero graphic novels by Marvel and DC Comics display the idea that all immigrants should be Americanized? In order to answer this question, the actual definition of an immigrant must be defined, as well as noting differences in the definition and the stereotypes. Through the stereotypes, it is examined how different characters have saved themselves from being a part of the

Common Themes in Steinbeck's Cannery Row and East of Eden

1448 words - 6 pages he returns from the army. The most evil character in the novel, Cathy Ames, murders her parents by intentionally burning down her home. She then Mr. Edwards’ mistress, who runs a ring of prostitutes. Adam later marries Cathy soon after she wanders onto his farm, almost dead after a beating by Mr. Edwards. The two move to Salinas, where they hire the Chinese-American, Lee, as a cook and housekeeper and get to know the very loved Samuel Hamilton

Similar Essays

Common Themes In American Literature Essay

636 words - 3 pages Common Themes in American Literature Common Themes throughout American Literature Many authors contributed to American literature between 1865 and 1914. Although these authors came from all over the country and lived different life styles, they still managed to include similar themes in their works. A theme is considered to be the main idea of the work, or a meaning behind the story. Within this period of American literature

Complexities Of The Non Complex Black Superhero

3122 words - 12 pages unbelievable characters. Black Superheroes are a poorly represented minority in the superhero genre and are embodied by inadequate development of characters, which primarily stem from their lack of racial identity and their connection to racial stereotypes. Many black superheroes either ignore race or play to racial stereotypes which seriously stunts development of complex and relatable characters.In order to understand the complexity of the non

Superheroes In North American Culture Essay

600 words - 3 pages Look at any youthful youngster's shirt or lunchbox, and there is a great chance it is the substance of some kind of superhero. Take a gander at the motion picture theaters and there is a great risk that a film around a superhero has been discharged as of late. These superheroes are all over in American culture, so what effect do they have on mainstream society, TV, silver screen, and the adolescent of America? The response to this

Discuss The Representation Of Masculinities In Death Of A Salesman

1504 words - 6 pages pursuit of happiness."(Malone, 28)However, Willy is too caught up in this masculine dream and it does not succeed as he wishes. He tries to live up to it and prove himself by working as a successful salesman, but he does not even come close to it. The play examines the cost of blind faith in the American Dream and how a man cannot escape his own pattern of the past. His sons, Biff and Happy, cannot get away from the pattern Willy imposes on them