Who And What Defines Masculinity? Essay

841 words - 3 pages

While praised for exposing the complete dysfunction of our culture’s basic assumption about masculinity and delusion it causes in the psyche of men, the movie Fight Club intended to make people consider different perspectives of what defines masculinity. The movie illustrates the “brilliant exposition of the scars that form in a man’s psyche when his seat of masculinity is repressed by a society that looks for compliance rather than powerful individualization…” (“Fight Club, Masculinity Movies”). The movie also illustrates how society, perhaps unknowingly to some, shapes the male identity, through exploitation. In the movie, one man’s struggles with masculinity are highlighted through various trials and tribulations; similar to rites of passage, specifically that period of time when a person reaches a new and noteworthy stage in their lives, marked by transition. The movie suggests that through the rites of passage, men can become liberated. Going deeper, “it focuses on the dehumanizing impact of the three big Cs: consumerism, corporatism, and capitalism” (Chowning 2). Unfortunately, consumerism, corporatism, and capitalism unknowingly rob many individuals of their identity, and this dehumanization deprives us of our best human qualities.
As it relates to consumerism, Fight Club illustrates how some individuals tie personal possessions to their self-identity. “This attitude of defining self-identity through a consumer culture has become institutionalized in the American society… and addresses the excessive consumerism as a sign of emotional emptiness and as a form of self-destruction” (Briggs, par. 1). The movie implies a man is not defined by his belongings. In fact, “men who resist compromising their masculinity for the sofa or cappuccino maker… reclaim their power” (Chowning 3). However, the movie reverts to violence to profess such masculinity, and this violence unfortunately acts as a symbol of freedom.
Corporatism can be defined simply as the association of a group of people based on common interest and in the movie Fight Club this association of men with a common interest is closely tied to the central issue of masculinity. The men join together as a group with one common thread, their personal dissatisfaction with their own identity. Because society suggests that men cannot be expressive or sensitive, the movie demonstrates a way men can tend to their emotional needs; via a fight club, Project Mayhem. This club is “a new kind of support group for men that encourages them to sock and punch and tear at each other in order to feel saved” (Rothe-Kushel, par. 3). This form of corporatism, or consensus for a common goal amongst a group of individuals, implies that men will go to great lengths in order to break free from society’s standards. For example, when the members...

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