Hegemonic Masculinity In 12 Years A Slave

In the film Twelve Years a Slave, portrays the slave narrative of the protagonist Solomon Northup. Due to the debilitating, traumatic, and degrading experience of Patsey, and other characters, viewers are able to deepen empathy and understanding regarding slavery. As a female slave Patsey experiences and imbalance relation between Mistress Epps and Master Epps. Patsey, also known as, the queen of the fields, is seen as an asset to Master Epps. Master Epps displays love and affection for Patsey by constantly raping and abusing her in a violent manner. Again, keep in mind that Epps is a character that displays hegemonic masculinity and he is constantly intimidated by his wife, Mistress Epps. For example, Mistress Epps vigorously mentions to Master …show more content…
Although Master Epps favors Patsey over the other slaves, Patsey is treated no differently from the other slaves. Instead, Patsey was severely traumatized and encountered the most brutal punishment on the plantation. In order to illustrate, viewers are able to see an act of female resistance when Mistress Epps, refused Patsey from cleaning herself. Thus, Patsey decided to leave the plantation without permission, in order to get a bar of soap from a neighbor. Upon returning to the Master Epps’ plantation, Patsey was accused of having a sexual encounter and was whipped constantly by Solomon, due to the demands of Mistress Epps. As described above, this scene illustrates the behavior plantation mistresses during slavery. Both DuBois and Dumenil reminds us that, “as in the North, [plantation mistresses] were supposed to be selfless, pure, pious, and possessed of great, if subtle, influence over husbands and sons” (DuBois and Dumenil 2005, 176). Basically, both DuBois and Dumenil are saying that, those were the common and superior character traits of a platation mistress. The main purpose Mistress Epps’ role is to distort the relationship between Patsey and Master Epps. Overall, viewers are also able to see that the plantation was a place of home and residence, and the white male, Master Epps, was not only considered the head of the household …show more content…
While viewing this film, I became even more fragile and vulnerable. I was able to place myself in Patsey’ body and question my thoughts and action. I also came to realize that the violence that was portrayed in this film, has also played a vital role in society. Living in a culture that categorizes people and is a male-dominant, pursues many disadvantages to society. For this reason, “Masculinity’s death tolls are attributed to its more specific manifestations: alcoholism, workaholism and violence. Even when it does not literally kill, it causes a sort of spiritual death, leaving many men traumatized, dissociated and often unknowingly depressed” (Holloway 2015). Basically, Holloway points out that, violence in our society is “heightened by race, class, sexuality and other marginalizing factors” (Holloway 2015). I believe that change is possible, especially when it comes to decreasing violence in our country. In order to accomplish this goal, changes should begin in the social institutions, such as, the family, church, and workplace. Again, “parents [are] unaware of the active role they played in socializing their children in accordance with gender norms. Fagot notes that all stated they treated sons and daughters the same, without regard to sex, a claim sharply contradicted by study findings” (Holloway 2015). Thus,

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