Saturday, June 25, 2011

M A S C U L I N I T Y 

Our lecture by Pamela Church Gibson pointed out some interesting details about masculinity yesterday.

The 1950s had a burst of youth cultures, and a questioning of traditional gender roles. Steven Cohan is known to have called the 1950s the age of the chest <---Click to read an extract from his 1997 book Masked Men:masculinity and the movies in the fifties.

And then the 1980s could be considered a revolution for menswear, as they started shopping for themselves -menswear stores opened, grooming products marketed for the man emerged, as well as having men in advertisements on billboards.

(You've got to excuse the rest of this post if it looks a bit too much like a 1980s teenager's bedroom wall)
The best visual translation of this 1980s menswear revolution can best be shown in the American Gigolo (1980, directed by Paul Schrader) scene where Richard Gere, who plays Julian, lays out his different outfit options and then chooses the one he wants to put on. As well as that we see a 'designed body', one that has been trained with physical fitness. As a note, this was the beginning of the menswear revolution, as this scene was not common at the beginning of the 80s.
Youtube video

This scene also reminds me of John Travolta, who plays Tony Manero, in Saturday Night Fever (1977, directed by John Badham). You can see him in his nickers, while music plays, choosing his shirt and pants, putting two gold chains on, and spending a good amount of time blow drying his hair into shape. It's not as clothes conscious as the American Gigolo scene, but it still displays an importance in how he plans to fashion himself for a night out.

Original images before converted into a digital polaroid, were sourced from -
left: filmfather  right: libarising

The next bit of inspiration was based around the hotel bedroom scene in Thelma and Louise (1991, directed by Ridley Scott) with Brad Pitt as J.D. and Geena Davies as Thelma. The interesting point, which was noted by Gibson in our lecture, was that there was a lot more of the male body shown, compared to the female; which is quite unusual for Hollywood. Below are some pics of Brad Pitt, in this scene.
Image: BradPittWorkout
Image: Zuguide
If you'd like to watch the scene, click HERE

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