Masculinity In The Dark Knight

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Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy constitutes a rather contemporary manifestation of an extensive body of artifacts in media culture. Media culture, Henry Giroux holds, “has become a substantial, if not the primary educational force in regulating the meanings, values, and tastes that set the norms, that offer up and legitimate particular subject positions – what it means to claim an identity as male, female, white, black, citizen, noncitizen” (2-3). Being the most popular remediation of the Batman over the past two decades, the Dark Knight Trilogy reveals contemporary attitudes of mainstream Hollywood film to issues revolving around sexuality and gender as two of the core facets of identity. In particular, the representation of masculinity,…show more content…
Alfred warning Wayne to maintain his father’s reputation and Rachel stating that Wayne’s father would have been very proud are only two examples of an abundance of utterances in which the movie emphasizes Wayne’s patrilineal descent. Furthermore, the treatment of the naked male body further underpins the investment of the trilogy in the patriarchy. In accordance with Laura Mulvey’s of the male gaze, Wayne/ Batman is the active male protagonist throughout the Dark Knight franchise. One can argue that there are instances in Batman Begins where the means of cinematography highlight Wayne’s body in an objectified manner. However, emphasis on the male body is only given in scenes which highlight the body in (violent) action. Shots of Wayne’s body in the trilogy and Bane’s body in The Dark Knight Rises always highlight scars and bruises as proof of the active role of men in patriarchal ideology. Moreover, The Dark Knight Rises provides an example of gender as “a performance with clearly punitive consequences” (Butler 522). In the cinematic world of Nolan’s Batman, soon-to-be Commissioner Foley tries to avoid fighting to stop anarchy in Gotham after Bane has declared martial law. When he finally joins the re-established police forces, his character gets killed by the anarchist…show more content…
In Batman Begins, Rachel constitutes the archetypical character of the innocent woman as Wayne’s central love interest. Before Rachel is forced to kill somebody in order to protect herself during the showdown, Batman rescues her, thus preserving her innocence. Furthermore, Rachel appears passive in her portrayal in Batman Begins and becomes the damsel in distress archetype when being captured by the Scarecrow. Despite the fact that Rachel is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal instead of Katie Holmes in The Dark Knight and although she is portrayed as a more capable woman, Rachel frequently ends up as the damsel in distress in the second Nolan movie as well. The regressive portrayal of women, however, is not confined to the female protagonists of the trilogy. Bruce Wayne is being escorted to social events by several women throughout the Dark Knight movies. Nolan renders these women shallow and nameless characters with the sole purpose of being pretty accessories to philanthropist Bruce Wayne. The Dark Knight epitomizes the objectification of the female body by providing viewers with a sequence in which Wayne buys an entire ballet ensemble. Thus, The Dark Knight literally renders women property of men and objects of sexual desire with the purpose of satisfying the voyeuristic tendencies of both men inside the

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