Television and Masculinity

We’ve been hearing a lot of the end of the angry male protagonist in modern-day television. Breaking Bad and Mad Men are over, plus other TV shows with those similar main character tropes. What does this say about masculinity? Are we seeing more diverse male characters? Does this allow for better representation of what a man is?

  • Reading your post, I've literally just clocked how Breaking Bad is a representation of toxic masculinity, and how a man can be made to feel emasculated through a failure to provide for his family, both in terms of security and monetarily. – mooreben92 6 years ago
  • Great topic-I really hope that the representation of masculinity branches out more. I think more 'complex' representation outside of angry and/or cocky white man trope (Harvey Specter in Suits, etc) needs to be incorporated into mainstream media, and especially in more popular shows. I think it would allow for better representation of masculinity/men. I think an analysis on an older show featuring the trope you described above in comparison to a newer show with a different kind of male character would be a great topic to write on as well. – jmclaren 6 years ago
  • Even in Breaking Bad, Walter White had two sides. One that was frightened (long before his cancer diagnosis), afraid of success and resentful of others accomplishments. We all know what the other side became: ruthless, yet with a habit of picking on those weaker than him, selfish and greedy. The show's character of Jesse Pinkman gave us a young man who had many flaws, mainly addiction and confusion, but who had extreme compassion, especially for kids, and tolerance of others. He only became a criminal because Walter manipulated him and he was too trusting and weak. This is the kind of guy I think we are seeing now. In Mr. Robot, Elliot Alderson, a practical orphan, takes out his rage at society and the death of his father by hacking people, snorting morphine and eventually bringing down a huge corporation. He tries (fairly successfully) to justify his actions due to the horrors of Capitalism and what his sister Darlene blithely calls "The Oligarchy". Yet even after a (more or less) successful revolution, he still doubts himself, still uses and spends most of his time fighting with his deceased father, who exists as his "dark half". The modern man is often just as broken by society as someone like Ray Milland in "The Lost Weekend" or the couple in "Days of Wine and Roses". The 1950's consumerism traps them and even the fight to escape or destroy it causes more destruction and pain. – SharonGenet 6 years ago
  • Oh, please please write this. And definitely bring up male characters that make a break with toxic masculinity, like Terry from Brooklyn 99. It's interesting that the male characters that tend to play with expectations of masculinity and tropes of male/female gender roles are often featured in sitcoms rather than action or dramatic movies/tv. – Eden 6 years ago

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