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Super man - Essay Example

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Summary
Masculinity construct builds on the opposition between what is "feminine" and what is “masculine.” "Feminine" traits are associated with softness, weakness, passiveness in contrast to masculine features of being hard, strong, active. Masculinity stereotypes are reflected in…
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Super man

Download file to see previous pages... Superman constructs a certain role model of manliness reflecting popular 20th century concepts of masculinity. The most attractive feature in Superman figure is that he can transform from his superhero image to “the mediocre man of flesh and blood” which serves the mask to his extraordinary abilities.
The personality of Superman is split. He has a private life which has nothing to do with his public heroism. In everyday life Superman is Clark Kent, ordinary journalist, clumsy and soft. The contrast between two identities is maximized to emphasise masculinity features.
The dual identity of the hero from the launch of Superman series became a formula of masculine image. On one hand the superhero has body which is vividly masculine as well as the confidence and power which suggest of the ideal of man, on the other hand he is soft, powerless, unconfident representing a feminized man.
Superhero images have always blended masculinity with muscles. The most obvious external signifier of masculinity has been the male body. Male body images reflect all the conventions related with male superiority. Muscles symbolizing masculine physical strength serve as a code for sexual difference. The muscular body is clear sign of masculine power. (Brown, 1999 p.25)
Muscles are associated with masculinity so strongly that women like professional body builders who exhibit ‘noticeable muscularity’ are accused in manliness while men who lack muscular power are criticized for being too feminine.
The contrast of two identities of the hero plays an important role in shaping masculinity image. That makes Superman a masculine ideal of 20th century. Superman possesses exceptional qualities like flying, gliding on air currents, seeing through walls. He gets more and more powers equalling to God. Besides, he is a defender of truth with exceptional feeling of justice and handsome looks.
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