I thought that because I was aware (through my study) of the hegemonies we have in our society; the masculine, heterosexual and white, which are just a few of them, I would not fall into the pitfalls of them. Seems that I was wrong. They are present in our society everywhere. The ideas that the various TV-show brains of Hollywood create around them is a perfect example. Where else in the world are stereotypes and ideals exploited to such an extend that in Hollywood. Movies are often merely the use of stereotypes and hegemonies.
Some try to make fun of these stereotypes but do not invalidate these stereotypes. A prime example is the TV-show community. Where Abed regularly makes comments and states movie references reminding us about these stereotypes.
Abed: Troy, make me proud. Be the first black man to make it to the end.
However community at the same time enforces them through other episodes. In the paintball episode in season one Troy is the first one to go. Jeff Winger the guy who has the most characteristics of all the hegemonies combines wins the game and is the hero by giving the price to the disadvantaged. He is white, male and obviously heterosexual through his sexual encounter with Britta in the episode. (You even see the hegemony of Jeff at play here, I know his last name and from the other people I don’t)
But back to the topic at hand. On Friday I saw the Bones finale of season six. I like the show but I was always critiquing it on its use of masculine stereotypes and masculine hegemony. Booth is the hegemonic masculine ideal that it is almost nauseating. Physically strong, a war hero, responsible, world wise, family man, strong and silent, not overly affections, concerned with his heterosexuality, ethical… just sum it up. Women are portrayed as subordinate to this masculine ideal.
Yes, Bones is a character that is very independent and successful, however she is portrayed as emotional distant and socially awkward person. And that those characteristics is the only reason that she became successful and achieved an career in forensic anthropology. The message it portraits is that career women have something wrong with them. Cam is another example, a women who is successful but she had to give up the notion of family to get her career. Later in her life she regrets this when her “biological clock” is starting to tick and she adopts a teenage girl who was orphaned. This shows the message that is portrait by the hegemonic masculinity that every woman wants and needs a family to care for. Caring is natural. Didn’t Bones want Booths baby because he was the masculine ideal.
In Fridays episode Angela gave birth to a baby boy and she talked with Bones about her experiences. Instead of being horrified at the message it conveyed, that of the naturality of motherhood and loving your child. Hollywood got under my skin but also under Angela’s. She was the best character in the bunch. She beyond the bound of existing hegemonic boundaries. Of race, sexuality, ethnicity and gender roles. Now she is reduced to a single thing a Mother. First Cam and now she. Women are to be Mothers is the message.
Is it my individual preference or are there societal influences at play. This made me think of the hegemonic masculinity in our society and I realised its influence on me.