Although Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home demonstrate pronounced differences in setting and design, both novels employ a reflective narration of the past to address common themes of trauma, unorthodox family relationships, and sexuality. Both stories utilize this retrospective narrative to expose masculinity’s stratified hegemony as a driving force of internalized shame, violence, and the death of self. As The Bluest Eye’s Cholly and Fun Home’s Bruce are examined in terms of hegemonic masculinity’s influence, the common themes in both works can be understood as a result of masculinity’s hierarchical ascendency. To understand either work’s take on hegemonic masculinity, it is important to identify masculinity as a gendered hegemony. In her definition of gender, Judith Halberstam notes that gender is socially systematized, performed, and reproduced in cultures, institutions, and individual identities (Burgett, Bruce, and Hendler, 116). In a like manner, in her article on gendered violence, Mimi Schippers notes R.W. Connell’s research on masculinity to expand this definition, implying that masculinity is central to gender relations. In short, Connell defined masculinity as “simultaneously a place in gender relations, the practices through which men and women engage… in gender, and the effects of these practices on bodily experience, personality, and culture” (Schippers, 86). Here, masculinity is classified as a social position, the set and practice
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Women. When hearing that word alone, you think of weakness, their insignificance, and how lowly they are viewed in society. Females can be seen as unworthy or nothing without a man if they are not advocating them and are constantly being treated differently from men. However, in the book, “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, they live up to their reputations for how they view themselves. Specifically, being focused on women like Pecola, and Claudia. They are often questioning their worth from society’s judgement of beauty. Though one character, Frieda embraces it despite being black. With having everything temporary, the desire of grasping and having something permanent increases. The women desires to be of
One of the key concepts detailed by Pringle (2007), is the idea of hegemonic masculinity, which was originally coined by Connell (1995). Connell suggest that the concepts of hegemony and masculinity have been intertwined, which has created a social form of a masculine ideal, developed around male dominance, power and patriarchy over groups who are deemed “weaker” such as women and homosexual men. Hegemonic masculinity is essentially a socially elite or desirable status, with which the “performance of ‘masculinity’” can be legitimately practised within society.
Racist ideology is institutionalized when how people’s interactions reflects on an understanding that they share the same beliefs. However, in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, the topic of racism is approached in a very unique way. The characters within the novel are subjected to internalizing a set of beliefs that are extremely fragmented. In accepting white standards of beauty, the community compromises their children’s upbringing, their economic means, and social standings. Proving furthermore that the novel has more to do with these factors than actual ethnicity at all.
Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried portray heartbreakingly candid representations of what it means to be a man or woman in society unlike any novels one might read in their high school career. Both texts delineate the delicate relationships between men and women. O’Brien paints how toxic masculinity perverts men’s ability to have meaningful relationships with women while Morrison illustrates the demonization of maturity in women. Morrison and O’Brien elucidate the twisted infatuation people harbor for the innocence of women; they depict men abusing their power to pursue and corrupt women’s innocence, women shaming women for becoming “dirty”, and people idolizing the women they view as pure and clean.
Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970) takes place in Ohio towards the tail end of the depression. The story focuses on the character of Pecola Breedlove who wants to have blue eyes. Pecola becomes convinced that if she had blue eyes her life would be different. Through the eyes of our narrator, Claudia, and her sister Frieda we see the pervasive racism and abuse Pecola is subjected to. Claudia and Frieda act as witnesses to Pecola’s disintegration and as a result, they will spend the rest of their lives grappling with what happened to Pecola.
As Ehrmann states in the opening scene, “If you're going to be a man in this world, you better learn how to dominate and control people and circumstances.” This quote summarizes the never-ending goal men must meet in our society. This goal, of maintaining masculinity, has lead to the violence, depression, and confusion among males. In the film, they examine the cause and effect of male gender-policing in our society. Through personal anecdotes and expert testimony, the film sheds light on the painful cost of masculinity in America.
The movie “Tough Guise” examines and evaluates the relationship between cultural and social construction of masculinity and the images we see in mass media and popular culture. The movie recognizes immense violence in America as a product of gendered associated phenomenon, and identifies and explains its connection to cultural codes and ideals of “masculinity”. In the movie, Katz main thesis revolves around the idea: masculinity is created; it does not inherently exist, as opposed to one’s biological sex. Central to his argument is this concept: One may be born as male or female: which is one’s biological identity, but the concept of “masculinity” is a societal and cultural construct. To further empower his thesis he argues that media plays a vital role in dispensing and sustaining this cultural construct.
Being “Masculine is something that most of us, even women are very familiar with. When we think of masculinity we think of toxic masculinity or being hyper aggressive, non-emotional, hypersexual, and violent. For society, that is what masculinity is, toxic. In Jamie Lake’s I Got You, there were at least three different representations of masculinity. I believe that Jamie Lake gave
In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison strongly ties the contents of her novel to its structure and style through the presentation of chapter titles, dialogue, and the use of changing narrators. These structural assets highlight details and themes of the novel while eliciting strong responses and interpretations from readers. The structure of the novel also allows for creative and powerful presentations of information. Morrison is clever in her style, forcing readers to think deeply about the novel’s heavy content without using the structure to allow for vagueness.
the winning and holding of power and the formation (and destruction) of social groups in that process” (644) such that it is crucial that the ruling class establishes and maintains its domination. Moreover, it includes persuasion of a big part of the population, especially through the media and the organization of social institutions. Homophobia and heterosexuality form the foundation for hegemonic masculinity and all comprehension of its meaning is predicated “on the feminist insight that in general the relationship of men to women is oppressive” (644). Hegemonic masculinity is grounded in form of the hero and displayed through forms that deal with heroes, e.g., sagas, and westerns, in television, books, and movies (Connell qtd. in Donaldson 646). To define a specific form of masculinity as hegemonic, it is important to note that “its exaltation stabilizes a structure of dominance and oppression in the gender order as a whole” (Connell qtd. in Donaldson 646).
The notion of hegemonic masculinity has altered the field of gender studies and many academic arenas. An idea popularized by R.W. Connell, hegemonic masculinity has played an integral role in the emotional development of American men, articulating the impact that this societal construction has had on the concept of American masculinity. It is a contested topic, yet the impacts that it has in terms of sexuality, struggles for power and political leadership, and gender identities are valid (Connell 830). Although difficult to fully achieve, it acts as a guiding force for the stereotypically masculine. Hegemonic masculinity assumes the subordination of all other forms of masculinity, placing it at the top of the social hierarchy. At the same time, the idea of hegemonic masculinity has served as a bridge between the growing field of men’s’ studies and female studies (Connell 829). Several authors share the premise that men in American society conform to the standards of the social construct of hegemonic masculinity.
Masculinity, a seemingly simple concept. Yet, when examined more closely, it is clear that masculinity is constantly changing in its definition as well as in its most basic essence. Throughout the years, one can see this evolution firsthand by looking back at the men who have been portrayed in popular media in the United States of America. From the suave Don Draper types of the 1950s to the more casual, educated, and easygoing men- with perfectly chiseled abs, of course- that are portrayed in media today, the difference is clear. This drastic, yet unsurprising, shift in ideals, as well as the exponential increase of media consumed every day, has led to a change in how “masculinity” is perceived, as well as how it is enforced by society in the modern day. Alarmingly, this trend has led to the birth of so-called “toxic masculinity”, a bastardization of the original ideas behind masculinity which has created an enormous, detrimental effect on society as a whole. As defined in the article The Difference Between Toxic Masculinity and Being a Man, toxic masculinity is “manhood as defined by violence, sex, status, and aggression. It’s the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything… where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured,” (O’Malley) This is a clearly displayed truth, and it’s astounding to see how even from a young age boys are taught not to show emotions other than anger, conditioned to believe that being “like a girl” is the worst possible
According to Anthony Clare the heart of the masculinity crisis lies within the understanding of “the private and public sphere, the intimate and the impersonal, the emotional and the irrational” (Clare, 2000:212). Both men and women are both confined to their spaces and the line between the two has somewhat been blurred, thus resulting in a crisis. The way in which this line is blurred is by masculinity becoming more feminized. There have been two major shifts in masculinity over
Masculinities in the present epoch are supposedly in a state of dilapidation (Rodgers, 1994; Robinson, 2000). While Edwards (2004, pp.4) contends that the nature of this dilapidation is imprecise and protean, a number of common themes emerge in examining claims regarding a “crisis” – namely, threats to Anglo-American modes of masculinities from Others (Bederman, 1995), socio-economic change (Fine et al., 1997 pp.53), and most contentiously, the advent of feminism and gender equality (Patterson & Elliot, 2002, pp.235; Beynon, 2002, pp.83).
In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison shows that one’s family determines a character’s feeling of self-worth. According to Morrison, the world is teaching little black girls that they are not beautiful and unworthy of love. The world teaches this by depicting white people and objects that resemble them, as symbols of beauty. In this world, to be worthy of love you must be beautiful. Morrison shows that if a little black girl believes what the world is telling her, her self-esteem can develop low self-esteem and they may yearn to be white. Even in the absence of economic and racial privilege, Morrison suggests that a little black girl can look to her family to build up her self-esteem. For Morrison, having a family is