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Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era - Research Paper Example

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The Reagan era is often regarded as the era of bodies. The image followed after Ronald Reagan himself who was a healthy specimen of a human being who is not affected by the rigors of disease or aging…
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Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era
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Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era

Download file to see previous pages... The hard body status was no more only for the heroes but also for the common American individuals. The people liked to see the movie stars in such personas and attempted to identify themselves as a result. From the very early days of filmmaking, movies used to convey strong political and moral messages. Movies had the power of reshaping the whole society and the higher authorities were quick to realize that. That made them create a censorship so that they could control what the public was watching. Ronald Reagan was himself an actor in the past and the public could not help but link his presidency to his acting days. He was largely identified by the roles that he had played in his movies. However, in reality, it is very difficult to find a link between his politics and his acting days. As of Reagan himself, his marriage was once seen as a typical marriage in Hollywood. But with the passage of time, as Reagan’s daughter recollects, Reagan had and lesser contribution to the family decisions than his wife. When the couple broke up, Reagan remarried and formed a tradition of being masculine both at home and at the office. Also, Reagan’s political messages became more gendered. After the Vietnam War, the American society seemed to have become effeminate. Reagan ideology attempted to restore the lost sense of masculinity. Moreover, the restoration of masculinity seems to be limited to white men. Black men have not been an active part of this hard body movement. However, there are some exceptions. In the movies of the Reagan era, masculinity has been a dominant subject. These movies displayed the male body in a manner that emphasized on masculinity. These bodies were “the indefatigable, muscular, and invincible masculine body [that] became the linchpin of the Reagan imaginary.” (Jeffords, 24, 25) The action adventure movies became a norm and the display of hard bodies like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger epitomized the same. One of the most convincing embodiments of hard body virtues is the character of John Rambo. The movie series has such a thumb print on the genre of action movies that every subsequent action movie is compared to it. The original character of Rambo from David Morrell's 1972 novel is more of a sympathetic monster who is bound to destruction because of his actions. Prior to Rambo Series, there were not many movies that promoted masculinity. Even Alfred Hitchcock’s movies had limited masculinity. According to Peberdy, “…both Hitch and his clientele represent a softer side of masculinity, offering on the one hand additional insight in the ‘permeation of a discourse of masculinity crisis during the 1990s and 2000s.” (7) In the movie, First Blood, Rambo is made heroic and the police play the role of villains. Rambo is never directly responsible for the death of any of his pursuers. Being a veteran of the Vietnam War, Rambo is both physically and psychologically disturbed. He keeps up the appearance of being unaffected by the war but from the inside, he is torn apart. The character is played by Sylvester Stallone who is very a good physical specimen. Rambo goes through great physicality in the movie. He suffers a lot physically but shows great endurance to physical pain. In First Blood, he falls through pine trees from a height and one of the pine branches rips his arm. He screams in pain for a moment but as a vindictive policeman, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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