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Hegemonic Masculinity In The 1980's

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However, this creates tension between hegemonic ideals of masculinity. At the beginning of Reagan’s presidency, males were considered ‘soft’ and thus Reagan endeavoured to bring back ‘traditional’ values of masculinity and gender roles and as such became the ‘masculine archetype of the 1980s’ (Vogel, 2015, p. 464-473). This hegemonic masculinity is defined as a ‘…young, married, urban…employed, of good complexion, weight, and height…’ (Brod & Kaufman, 1994, p.124; Phillips, 2006, p.407) And ‘…may never do anything that even remotely suggests femininity’, ‘Masculinity is measured by power, success, wealth, and status’, ‘…holding emotions in check…Boys don’t cry.’ (Brod & Kaufman, 1994, p.124). In addition to this, the 1980s brought in other…show more content…
Tension is created between how he expresses his identity and the conflicting messages of masculine identity. On the one hand, Bateman checks some of the boxes; he is young, employed, wealthy, and the reader knows he is of good weight due to his obsessive exercise regime at Xclusive, and he is definitely wealthy, as illustrated through his long lists of commodities. However, Bateman does not check all of the boxes, arguably as a result of a consumerist society and his conspicuous consumption. For example, consumerist society, as previously discussed, constantly bombards society with images of being a ‘perfect mannequin, thus putting pressure onto society, inclusive of males, to project a perfect image of themselves; however, males also have the competing ideals of masculinity to keep in mind. An illustration of this occurs when Bateman receives a facial (p.115); Bateman tries to impress the therapist by ‘flexing the muscles’ in his stomach and chest in a way that appears effortless, however, she seems impervious to his expression of masculinity (p.115). A facial would be seen as a feminine activity, however, consumerist culture encourages males to be more narcissistic in order to express social status, however, masculine ideals creates tension and thus Bateman feels the need to express his masculinity through his ‘perfect’ body, unfortunately, as women are more empowered in the 80s, she is unfazed by his display of
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