Gender and Communication
Fight Club: A world of feminine influence barring open communication
David Fincher's Fight Club released in 1999 has acquired more than its due share of critical analysis by many critics and viewers while the film embodies a variety of themes including the often uttered gender and communication issues. Among other themes many have found isolation, emasculation, consumer culture, violence and even lack of father figure. In this paper we're going to look through the kaleidoscope of these themes to throw light on the issues of communication and gender (Giroux, 2001).
An effort to have communication among the isolated male folks
Isolation has been one of the major themes in this haunting film. We find that Jack's insomnia and lack of fulfillment branch mainly from his isolation. We never hear about any of his friends, nor do we come across any. The human connection is completely missing in his case and so he attends support group meetings just to experience it. He is in search of a specific place wherein he is able to communicate his feelings openly. Even if the feelings are dark in nature, he wants to communicate these to others. As he fails to find any meaning in his work or even his everyday life, he is in search of a truth. Similar to Jack, Marla Singer also suffers from the same isolation. This is how we come to feel that isolation has not been limited to a particular gender, male only. However, her openness puts Jack in an uncomfortable place and they fail to have meaningful communication among themselves. We can find traces of gender bias in this predicament. Though both these characters are imbued in deep isolation, they fail to communicate reciprocally. Jack finds a peculiar place where he can express his feelings and he has to pretend as if he were a testicular cancer victim like everyone else there. So men find a place for having communication only among themselves; and no interaction with the opposite sex is deemed effective (Lizardo, 2007).
Emasculated effeminized victims in a therapy session
A lot of viewers and critics have found emasculation as the major theme in this film while present day consumer culture comes under attack. The film can be construed as a depiction of a rebellion in opposition to the effeminizing as well as reducing powers of the consumer culture (Lizardo, 2007). The men want to take over the world; however they're not going to do it with effeminate brains as they think brains are for women. That is why men in Fight Club want to take over with muscle and pure explosive power but unfortunately we find them emasculated (Lizardo, 2007).
Many questions arise after watching this movie. For instance, what is the role of a man in today's modern society? Are they simply some workaholic husbands or stay at home dads? These men are no more brutes who used to settle disagreements by fighting. Thus the question of prejudice cannot be ignored from Fight Club (Giroux, 2001).
Fight Club claims that men in modern society have been downgraded to a cohort that has nothing to do on their own since the whole generation has been effeminized. They simply watch other people as their live passively passes by. The whole film has been centered on a primitive act, fighting, that the female world dissuades the men from doing though it can be an accurate determinant of our identity as a society (Giroux, 2001). That is why we find Jack, Tyler, as well as the other associates of "Fight Club" getting engaged in brute fighting. They aspire to let go off the redundant and explore their inner selves by placing themselves in the middle of the ring Giroux, 2001).
What Fight Club is presenting about masculinity is quite obvious. The film wants to say it's gone under the infiltration of masculine traits that men used to show, especially towards women, are no more. When we compare our generation with that of our parent's, we find men in the past were more masculine. Men are lacking in the ability to communicate their feelings in a masculine way (Giroux, 2001).
The reason for the decline in masculinity can be associated with the feminist movement. Feminists say that they are independent of men and can do all things themselves. So there is no need to have communication among women and men. Eventually women might ask their male counterparts to do the daily, routine tasks for them. Of course, the film finally champions a comeback to masculinity. It wants to connote that things were better in the past when they were dependent on each other as the males had been masculine and the females had been feminine. Also, more communication occurred in such a situation and so there was no need for men to go to therapy sessions to express their feelings (Giroux, 2001).
An Entire Generation nurtured and raised by women
Fight Club explains the nature of today's world by presenting the idea of how the world raised by women is. Women and corporations are pushing the men ahead to a world where masculinity is lacking. The consumer world is forcing us to desire things that we cannot buy. The feminine influence bars men communicate their real feelings and go against the consumer driven world. However, within the movie we find examples of the lack of modesty and normalcy when the feminine influence loses control. We see men fight, piss and spit (Lizardo, 2007).
Many call the film sexist though it might be a misnomer. When one sees the "Fight Club" formed, we see that the storyteller along with Tyler trying to moves towards comparatively simpler times in the past. In this "fight club" there is simply one rule that is frankly masculine and crudely primitive. This rule is the rule of fist. However, in today's world we have lost the physical persona of man that supported their role in society. Instead, we now have urbanization and global connections via the Internet. When the narrator realizes the predicament, he creates the "fight club." It is done in an honest attempt to represent the masculine power, which is now lost amidst the technological innovations. In this process we do not find much communication occurring among the characters. They are as if paralyzed to some extent and so fails to communicate verbally. So they take the alternative brute physical way. The effeminized world is thus incapable of honest communication (Lizardo, 2007).
Lack of a father figure and violence
In one of the main scenes in the movie, we find Tyler and the narrator recollecting about their fathers and this emphasizes on the thought that communication among men is possible in the modern feministic world. However, these two men state the truth about the absence of a father figure. They comment that their fathers had not been an influential figure in their early lives. Jack's father had abandoned him when he was fairly young. Tyler speaks with his father over the phone only once a year. We hear from him that the present generation is of men nurtured by women. So the male characters in Fight Club lack influential male figures to look up to while growing up. They are leading a life manipulated by advertisements with the aim to earn a good income and have kids after finding a good woman. This is how one sees the men of Fight Club being affected by the lack of male role models (Giroux, 2001).
Fight Club no doubt is a film with as well as of violence. The fighting among the men reminds them of how lively and energetic life can be. We see Tyler saying to Jack before their very first fight, "How can you even say that you know yourself when you have never fought any one before?" This is how we see that fighting is utilized as a means to acquire the center of male existence and meaning. It is true some analysts take the fighting as an effort by the men to emphasize their masculinity. On the other hand, some others take it as finding meaning after exploring for themselves what masculinity is instead of continuing to be told what masculinity is by their employers and the mass media (Giroux, 2001). Of course, violence has not been associated with the female world in the film. In fact, violence is also another means of communication among the men folk in the film. While they taste their blood, they get closer to each other in silent but violent communication.
Reclaim the lost masculinity and connect
Fight Club no doubt is glorified by many viewers for its unabashed glorification of not only violence but also concurrent rapture of accepting both punishment and pain as the highest value for men. It may be…
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