Male Myths and Icons: Masculinity in Popular Culture (Policy)

Male Myths and Icons: Masculinity in Popular Culture (Policy)

Language: English

Pages: 203

ISBN: 0312126239

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This book studies some important myths of masculinity in various popular genres, including the western, the horror film, rock music and pornography. The author argues that popular culture gives us highly complex and ambivalent images of men. The hero turns into the anti-hero; feminine and homoerotic material leak in; the male is often shown as the victim. Attention is also paid to important theoretical issues in gender studies and cultural studies, such as identification and the relation between subject and text.

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an external one. Crucially, the unconscious itself can be seen as maternal, from which the ego rises as a new-born son, and to which it will one day return. Thus, the Christ myth can be interpreted psychologically as an image of an idealized ego-Self relationship. Indeed many mythological systems can be related to this relationship of ego and unconscious - for example many fairy stories can be interpreted along these lines.24 Jung also stressed the importance of religion as a mythical system that

in an apron standing at the door of the cabin is overwhelming in the long run, but can be resisted temporarily. The western is also deeply anti-technology. Cars are often portrayed with heavy irony, as in The Ballad of Cable Hogue, in which Jason Robards, in a scene of great farce and pathos, is killed by one at the end of the film. The railroad - seen positively in early westerns such as The Iron Horse (1924) and Union Pacific (1939) - becomes in later westerns the symbol of a destructive

Dracula presses a woman's mouth to his own breast, and makes her suck the blood. He breast-feeds her with his blood. Thus in Dracula we see a hybrid male/female parental figure, who may well correspond to infantile perceptions about sexuality and gender. The vampire is usually portrayed as a most primitive creature: for example, he casts no reflection in mirrors. This can be related to Lacan's notion of the mirror-stage, that is, the stage when the human infant can identify with its own image in

twentieth century. The music critic Peter Gammond puts this quite graphically: In the whole of musical history, let alone popular musical history, there has never been quite such a revolutionary and drastic change of emphasis as that brought about by the implantation of the emerging AfroAmerican idiom on the existing white American strains ... The revolution that occurred might well have appeared to be a sudden one; but in fact it was simmering for centuries. The emergence of black music was of a

1988); on Eastwood, Amy Taubin, 'An Upright Man', Sight and Sound 3:9 (1993) pp. 9-10. Psychological Approaches to Culture 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Lionel Trilling, 'Freud and Literature', in David Lodge (ed.), 20th Century Literary Criticism: A Reader (London: Longman, 1972) p. 279. Ernest Jones, Hamlet and Oedipus (New York: W. W. Norton, 1949). L. Trilling, 'Freud and Literature', p. 287. D. W. Harding, 'Regulated Hatred: an aspect of the work of Jane Austen', in D. Lodge (ed.), 20th

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