Representation of Different Masculinities

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Representation of Different Masculinities

It is contended that elements of Rutherford’s statements are invalid when applied to contemporary media representations of masculinity. Rutherford’s argument is threefold. Firstly, he contends that his contemporary media portrayed two polarised images of men; they were either sensitive “new” men or they were more stereotypical, patriarchal “retributive” men, arguing that there is no grey area in between or overlaps apparent. Secondly he proposes that this was an aspiration and thus an unreal construct; that these states were desired and that men strove to meet them, as they were somewhat out of the reality that most men conceived. He also here appears to
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Women are defined by Mulvey as being the “object of the look and men as being in control of the gaze” (Nelmes, 2003:254). This in essence places the men and women as being in binary opposition to one another. This is not to suggest that men are not looked at during the film of course this would be futile. But what Mulvey suggests is that the men are looked at by other men, not in terms of object but as a projection of who we would like to be. She identifies Lacan’s childhood development theories regarding reflection as key to this understanding:

“As the spectator identifies with the main male protagonist, he projects his look onto that of his like, his screen surrogate, so that the power of the male protagonist as he controls events coincides with the active power of the erotic look, both giving a satisfying sense of omnipotence. The male movie Star’s glamorous characteristics are thus not those of the erotic object, but those of the more perfect, more completely, more powerful ideal ego conceived in the front of the mirror” (Mulvey,1989:20)

Later Neale countered this argument. In his essay ‘Masculinity as Spectacle’ Steve Neale argues that there may be some drawbacks to the work of Mulvey and others who have examined the role of men and women in feature films. The main issue for Neale is that the discussions
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