Masculinity as a Central Theme in Fight Club
Chelsea Roman, 10012196
GNDS 125 – Rachael Johnstone
March 1st 2013
Masculinity is a common theme throughout the movie Fight Club based off the book by Chuck Palahniuk. Masculinity can be defined as exerting some form of dominance over others. It could also be defined as possessing the sexual characteristics of a man, having strength, and having an attractive body. I believe masculinity has a lot to do with confidence in the sense that men with more confidence are regarded as more masculine. Anne Fausto-Sterling from the article How to Build a Man states that “men are made, not born. We construct masculinity through social discourse.” (Fausto-Sterling, 127) According to her, it is the social world which shapes us into being who we are. Society has an image of what they believe masculinity to be, and that causes men to act a certain way in order to express their masculinity. The movie establishes the importance of manhood to a man through the demonstration of masculinity being lost and then regained throughout the movie. The theme of masculinity can be seen through the creation of the fight club, the threat of castration and the narrator’s relationship with Bob, and through the narrator’s relationship with and creation of his alter ego, Tyler Durden.
A man’s search for identity in the form of manhood demonstrates the theme of masculinity when the narrator and his alter ego, Tyler Durden, create the fight club in order to rediscover themselves. It was created as a way to feel powerful, feel alive, and experience feeling in a society where men are otherwise numb. “We’re a generation of men raised by women” states Tyler Durden (Fight Club). This suggests that men have lost their manhood and are living in a world where their priorities have changed as a result of advancing society. Men used to be hunters who had to fight and kill in order to survive. In this newer society their priorities are no longer about...