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They bring up the question, what does it ‘really’ mean to be masculine

Contemporary culture might define masculinity as the opposite of feminine. Popular culture is the most dynamic driving force behind the human interpretation of society, and the popular image of masculinity shapes how individuals within society perceive themselves. Men base their level of masculinity according to how they measure up to societal expectations. Through it, people develop social expectations and then project those expectations on to others. Addressing the delusion of this complex is the main theme of Fight Club.

Fight Club is the quintessential film of mental liberation and the search for self and actualization. The psycho-social rhetoric of the protagonist’s alter ego Tyler Durdan drives the film’s ideology which is oddly compatible with Neiztche’s ideal of liberation. Throughout the film he says things like, “Fuck off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may (Tyler Durdan, Fight Club)” and “Only after disaster can we be resurrected.” These are key themes of the film, as is the promotion of anarchy, which is the tool used to eliminate regulation, responsibility, and entitlement. This is a very significant theme because it can universally be found as a part of all major works dealing with truth.

A defining scene in Fight Club occurs when the narrator goes to a support group for men with testicular cancer. The name of the group is titled “Remaining Men Together.” When a man depressed over his ex-wife giving birth to another man’s baby and the fact that the medication prescribed for his testicular cancer has resulted in the development of breasts in his body due to excessive estrogen, the group congregates for hugs to comfort one another. These hugs and the large turnout for the group reflect the urgency in crisis of masculinity for the American male. All In Taking it Like a Man David Savran discusses the emergence of the “masochistic male subjectivity” (163) and argues that the “new-narcissist” or “new sado-masochist” is now a dominant figure in U.S. culture and is no longer located in the margin. “In Fight Club the white male has lost faith in his role as a consumer and wants to experience a “real” sense of being that can only be achieved through pain. The narrator, whose body has been bloodied and broken by Tyler (aka, himself) in the final scene of the film, portrays himself as the victim who wants to reverse the damage of Project Mayhem when he tells Tyler “this is too much!” This infatuation with white male masculinity is a popularized concept in western society and the glorification of what masculinity is in America.

In Richard Dyer’s essay The White Man’s Muscle, he talks about stereotypes that have been enforced connecting as far back as the Greek era, and that now dominate film and television basically promoting the superiority of white masculinity.

Body hair is animalistic. hairlessness connotes striving above nature. The climax of Gli amori di Ercole has Hercules fighting a giant ape, who has previously behaved in a King Kong-ish way towards Hercules’s beloved Dejanira, stroking her hair and when she screams making as if to rape her.

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