Guys Blow Things Up
by PancakeCustomerService on March 20, 2016 - 6:24pm
Tom Fordy’s article “What the Expendables tells us about the state of masculinity” argues that the “manliness” conveyed in movies like The Expendables and others of its kind, blatantly present its audience with what arguably a “real” man should be, ultimately showing all the traits that reside in the man box. Fordy uses satire in his argument that the Expendables is out of its prime and no longer represent today’s masculinity. Masculinity is no longer defined by men smashing and destroying everything around them (i.e. Rambo and Terminator), but rather by good looks or personality, which are both embedded in Chris Pratt’s role in Guardians of Galaxy. In general, Tom Fordy explores the progressive meanings of masculinity.
Fordy critiques Stallone and Swarzenegger as they seem to be the only living and breathing remnants of 80s and 90s action. The author continues to verbally berate these actors with “bulging muscles” and states that they are now “merely symbols of a bygone era of pneumatic manliness” (Fordy). This is a fair assumption and is justified and explained in Tough Guise 2.0, where movies that portray men whose masculinities are composed of mindless violence and hurting others. In term, this subliminally leads men and little boys to believe what a “man” SHOULD be. Tom Fordy also touches upon the aesthetics of a so called “man”, and how its evolved as the years went by. We went from a “soft” looking batman who looked like an average man, to a jacked up suited Batman in the Batman trilogy. Also, how the persona and look of James Bond changed drastically over time. Arguably, muscles became a symbol of strength and “bigger is better”, ultimately even transforming kids toys like G.I. Joes into juiced up looking bodybuilders (Tough Guise). In sum, the author’s critique of the masculinity complex portrayed in the media was definitely a problem and he has every reason to think of bulked up action stars as supporters of the man box.
Though the Hulk like action star body types has slowly died down, Fordy also touches upon today’s masculinity and how it still isn’t helping with the “Men should be like this” mentality. For instance, Fordy brings up an extremely compelling piece of evidence in Chris Pratt’s role in Guardians Of The Galaxy: though Pratt looks nothing like Dwayne Johnson, still became an image of masculinity. He had the body, the personality and the humour, ultimately making up a new construct of masculinity as implied by Fordy. In other words, movies have their own way of building masculinity without needing the muscles that the 90’s did. This assumption could be disregarded in the article due to Fordy’s seemingly over the top satire, but in reality, this same sarcasm aid in getting his point across. Actually, this same argument of subliminal masculinity is shown in the Tough Guise Documentary. Movies like Shark Tales or How to Train your Dragon don’t have anything to do with men at first glance, but prove to be a perpetrator of masculinity as the characters are supposed to follow a male template. In Short, Fordy makes a solid case when it comes to the man box still being in the media today.
In sum, Tom Fordy is very critical of the depiction of masculinity in action movies like The Expendables, although his constant satire may seem to downplay his arguments, they actually reinforce the meaning of his points and ideas.
Fordy Tom, TelegraphUK, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/11029079/What-the-Expendables-tells-us-about-the-state-of-masculinity.html , Aug 13 2014 (Web). Consulted March 18th 2016
Katz,Jackson, Tough Guise 2.0 (2013)