Fight Club Gender Essay

1994 Words 8 Pages
Masculine Sexuality Through Film
In this course we discussed the three level model of understanding Gender. These three levels are individual, interactional and institutional. According to Dr. Winfield’s lecture titled ‘Thinking Sociologically About Gender”, the individual level is how one identifies themselves; it is your personal portrayal of self in regards to feminity or masculinity. Lorber argues that the individual level is established at birth when babies are assigned to a sex category based off of their genetalia. The interactional level of understanding gender reinforces the individual identity. According to the lecture, the interactional level is an ongoing process. We are interested in how gender works on an interactional level.
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Unlike Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, Fight Club is a very alpha male oriented film and emphasizes hyper male sexuality over subordinate male sexuality. This film is an example of what societies expects men to be. The film is about the social construction of hegemonic and the subordinate masculinities that don’t equate to the alpha male. The two main characters in the film, create the fight club so that men could come and have a place to basically beat one another to a pulp. In doing so, they are proving who are the most masculine and/or the strongest of the group. The men determine who is the strongest based off of who takes the most beating as well as in other scenes, who can have the most sexual partners. This sense of hyper male sexuality is instilled institutionally from an early age as well. Men are taught as boys that they should be competitive and the best when it comes to sports. They should be athletic with a combination of being smart. As they get older and transition into their adolescent age, they are taught that they should be athletic, smart and very sexually advanced towards girls. In the movie Fight Club, Tyler is the Alpha male because he is athletic, very economically advanced and very sexually appealing to women in relation to Edward Norton’s character who is at first very conscious of his hygiene and very in tuned to his emotional …show more content…
In Kimmel’s Guyland, he argues argues that men do things in order to impress other men. It is a way of “male bonding” (205). For example, in the movie Fight Club, Edward’s character walks in on the aftermath of Tyler having really loud sex right above him. Out of curiosity, Edward’s character goes upstairs to see what is going on and is confronted with Tyler’s relations. Tyler gives him a smirk and keeps it moving. Schwartz argues that gendered experiences play a role in sexual desire. (452). As guys grow up, they begin to become more interested in sex because their friends are becoming more interested as well. It is encouraged and continues into adulthood. These two examples of “doing gender” are social interactions that perform what it means to have ideologies of a masculine sexuality. West and Zimmerman argue that in performing gender, we are purposefully acting in a way to recognize as a certain gender (2). In Fight Club, Tyler drives an expensive car and wears seemingly expensive clothing to be recognized as a macho man. His hypersexual persona also aids in recognizing him as a man. In Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, Bernadette wears makeup and keeps her hair long and straight to be identified as a woman. She is also standoffish when men advance her. These are two examples of how we understand the meaning of “doing gender” on an interactional

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