TED Talk Tuesday: Masculinity In The Movies

 

 

 I’ve been on an exploration of what masculinity means to me for a while now. Traditionally, masc is about power, about protecting and being strong, about controlling your emotions. 

 Masculinity, as well as femininity, is also a construct. We perpetuate it in our culture, media, and education. Those things change. As Colin’s talk goes through different eras of media, I realised how feminist The Wizard of Oz is. There are more men than women, but all of the women have more important roles than any of the men.

 We have the Tin Man, he’s quite wise and gentle, but is in search of a heart. We have the Cowardly Lion; the name speaks for itself. And we have the Scarecrow, who is the most manlike of the trio as he has no brain.

 The trio are very unmasculine but are still kind, protective men. They are what women want their men to be. The Wizard Of Oz was made in 1939, a time of war, based on a book written by a man. And it is wonderful.

Then, we have Star Wars. I love Darth Vader, he does as he wishes and has a cool costume. I love that he can be so Forceful, and is the strong silent type. But it is true that the original Star Wars only had two women and the prequels had one. I have not seen the new Star Wars yet, please be patient. I have heard that due to the backlash, Rose’s character was significantly cut. I do not personally like Rose because A) FinnPoe and B) Why introduce a new major character in the second movie? If you’re going to give a major character a love interest, introduce them in the first movie. 

 Back to the point, Star Wars is a very masculine franchise. until Rey came about, our major girl wore a metal bikini while enslaved to a slug. I love Leia, but I do wish we had seen her with girl friends her own age.  

Luke is quite a typical bland white boy. He can be annoying and dumb enough for incest, and the major story is that he must balance his emotions to control the Force. We have Han Solo, the cool guy who doesn’t abide by any rules, and Chewie, the hairy guy. 

What does this say? That it’s a man’s world. Not a co-ed world; a man’s world where every woman somehow serves a man. None of these men are horrible themselves, but because we do not see them interact with other genders, we take their role modeling into wrong directions. We are forceful when we should be considerate, rule-defying when we should be respectful.

May I just say, both of these movies would’ve been perfect places for nonbinary rep as they are so fantastical, but noooo.

Then we have the feminist Pixar movies. Brave and Frozen passed the Bechdel test, and explored issues that had nothing to do with men. Mother-daughter and sister-sister relationships were explored, the good, the irritating and the trauma. They also clearly showed good men like Kristoff and Eugene (Tangled). Both are masculine, but they returned to the days of Wizard Of Oz. They can be kind, gross, skeptical, strong, and emotional.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand this whole masc v femme thing, I’m way too removed from gender. I don’t think anyone of any gender does. But I do think it’s about being a good person in a world with preset notions of you. You may reject or take in what you choose, but depending on your gender, race, sexuality, or disability you have privileges and disadvantages. Masc v femme is a cultural way of navigating that, but obviously doesn’t come naturally to people. You can choose to learn and grow from experience and TED talks, and adjust your thinking accordingly. 

What’s your favourite TED talk on masculinity? What do you think influences the femme v masc culture? How can nonbinary people be included in a binary world? 

 

Published by TanyX Goffy

I am an author, poet, and playwright. My current WIPs are a doppelganger Dark Academia and sad vampires. I blog about YA LGBTQIAP+ books, with the occasional straight person book for diversity. They/them Wishlist: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2EVVFTZUX00P0?ref_=wl_share

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