Positive and Negative Influences of Cinema on Popular American Culture

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Positive and Negative Influences of Cinema on Popular American Culture

By | March 2008
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The definition of masculinity is not the exact opposite of femininity, nor is it the exact opposite of homosexuality. Masculinity is the culmination of many ideas ebbing and flowing within the social context that come together as an idea of the masses. The portrayal of virile, breadwinning, heterosexual, and until recently, white men in cinema, has clouded our perception of reality, a reality in which men are sometimes physically strong, sometimes weak, sometimes callous, sometimes passionate. “The representations of the so-called typical American male… [his] sexed identities, desires, and bodies are performative, the effects of a masquerade that is neither singular or continuous…” (Cohan, 1997) Men have been required since the decades starting around the nineteen forties to live as men of society and alternatively as primitive men. Many times they have been taken from a society in which feminism and masculinity are intertwined, respect and social conscience are fundamental, to a war in which they are surrounded solely by other men participating in the innately male dynamics of violence, polygamy, and competition. In the fifties (the periods immediately before and after as well as the years 1950-1959) there seems to be an expectation of maleness in cinema that follows well into the nineteen nineties, possibly beyond, in which a man provides emotional strength as well as financial stability for the woman and the family. These expectations mirror the role of the average man in our society, however, as the roles of women have changed so have the role of the man of the house. He used to be the bread-winner, the disciplinarian, the final say in the matter, but expectations began to change. More and more frequently to be a man one had to be a good listener, a homemaker, a laundress, a chef, a child care provider, a passionate and creative lover, a faithful partner, and a handy man. (Examples of those roles should be found and entered as proof of...
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