Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tough Guise

Saw this pic and it made me think about "Tough Guise." What did you all think about it? Leandra

16 comments:

jorge mendoza said...

I was very taken with 'Tough Guise'; I say this never having watched a film that delves so much into the issue of violent culture being a major part of what society regards as being 'masculine'. In a way, I want to say much of what I saw had already been quite evident with my own perceptions of masculinity (and it's effect on views of femininity) in mainstream culture.

As representations of males became larger and more muscular in recent decades, the images of women became thinner, 'more waifish'. This fact if anyone pays enough attention is obvious, but the film explained why this is further, tying in how civil rights movements, particularly women's equal rights brought forth a new era where women started to work in traditionally patriarchal occupations and women began to have a greater voice in social policy and politics. This, and other civil rights movements, had a profound psychological effect on male culture, specifically white heterosexual males, in which a perceived threat to a longstanding patriarchal, 'traditional' way of life was now at stake. White, heterosexual males were still the majority in media power, and as times were changing, a resilient effort to push back and 're-assert' national masculinity' (after the results of the Vietnam War) came about, most notably through the conservative movement (promoted through Ronald Reagan's 'cowboy' image), and through the years of media representations of masculinity (everything from action figure body proportions, hyper-masculine film heroes, and the promotion of gun culture in relation to 'how big of a gun you carry measures a man's worth')

One important thing to take away from this film is this quote, "There's nothing natural about images". And that goes for media representations of masculinity and femininity. In the end, images are intended to market an often-times unrealistic ideal, one that is perpetuated by the people with powers to broadcast those images which they see as their 'ideal', into the broader culture.

Brian Homberger said...

I think the movie Tough Guise was an excellent way to start the class. The movie touches on several very important issues like male dominated crime and violence and also hyper masculinity in the movies and media. I think the movie's focus on crime raises interesting questions that need to be asked. For example, why the media only notes the individual's ethnicity, age, or socio-economic background but overlooks the fact that the perpetrator is almost always male. Ignoring the staggering statistic that 90% of violent crimes and 99% of rape are carried out by men is overlooking the possible prevention of future crimes but stopping the source.

I like how the movie connected the surge of male violence with the portrayal of men in movies, media, and other outlets such as wrestling or action figures. It was almost comical to see the progression of the size and power of the guns used by actors in movies. What was also interesting was not just the weapon of choice, but the actors themselves. In movies like The Terminator, Rocky, and even Batman the male protagonists are on the verge of deformity with unnatural amounts of muscle. Subsequently, the actors themselves become weapons and constantly fight. To think that this type of exposure to a hyper-masculine figure shooting or fighting everyone in sight has no effects on small boys or young adults would be a huge oversight. Hopefully if we address the issue of masculinity in the media we will have an opportunity to prevent future violent crime.

art. said...

My favorite part about Tough Guise is the animation early in the movie which demonstrates power dynamics.

Race, gender, and class grew are emphasized much more when people arrested come from subordinated groups.

I really liked the visual because it made it quite clear and easy to understand. I've found too often that I don't have a good response when someone uses the amount of reporting devoted to minority groups as an answer for ideas fueled by ideologies of oppression.

JBuck said...

First of all, wow! 'Tough Guise' was LOADED with information. For me, I was locked in hoping to absorb as much as possible. It excites me to know that we will dive into a lot of the topics braught up in the film.

The examples shown in the movie of men treating women so violently struck me. I have seen a good deal of the movies shown in the film and, honestly, the masculinities have never stood out the way I saw them in 'Tough Guise.' I feel that when I view such behavior in movies I think of it as character complexities and not so much of a potential bad influence on society.
Very seldomly am I faced with these violent acts so I tend to forget how seriously dangerous they are. After watching 'Tough Guise' I am eager to learn more on how these issues arise, and further more how to prevent them.

Ani Reina said...

The interesting thing about Tough Guise was how it brought it up the issue of minority/working class boys aspiring to be the characters in mafia movies. Mafia movies appeal to them not just because of the violence but because they represent the working class struggle within race. If any of us look at history we see that the second wave of immigrants saw an incredible backlash, some then formed mafias. Now in present day most of those once hated, despised, immigrant communities identify as white and live in mainstream America. Therefore these immigrants became Americanized and possibly fulfilled "the American dream". Now lets look at boys from an impoverished neighborhood that are not white, they see these movies about characters who feel like they do and who now are in business suits who are their parents bosses, who control their lives as teachers, doctors, government officials. All these boys want is to be in control, to not be at the bottom of the food chain. To me this is the issue that needs to be addressed as equally as masculinities; we can not ignore the issues within men's lives, just as the first and second wave of feminism ignored those issues.


Earlier today i was talking to my partner about this movie, i mentioned that action figures saw an increase in muscle size. He mentioned to me that comic books did the same thing. During Reagonomics characters became hyper-masculine, they have remained so just like action figures. Thought some of you might read comic books and have witnessed this or would like to address it as well.

Kevin Alvarez said...

This is my third time watching Tough Guise and it was probably the time I got the most out of it. When I first saw the film I saw it as a critique of men and watched it almost as if I wasn't a man. This time around I was able to sort of watch it as a form of self-reflection and a tool to analyze the men I have encountered in my life.

When Mr. Katz spoke on the subject of men always feeling as though they need to have the upper hand in relationships whether it's physically, emotionally, verbally, or intellectually it reminded me of a young man I knew that perpetually strove to being better than everyone. Now I don't think that this was a conscious reaction to his feeling powerless in the midst of strong women and men of color, but it definitely had something to do with an internal struggle with his masculinity.

While I felt that the film could've used a wider range of speakers (not to downplay Jackson Katz, I think he's amazing) it still is an amazing and rare film that makes boys and men reflect on the images and roles we were told to assume growing up. The first time I ever saw this film I saw it with 3 other men and while 2 of them were a little more receptive to it all of them basically thought the movie was shit once it came to criticizing popular culture icons (more specifically Rocky). Looking back at this I believe that the reason there was such a backlash was not because they are movie connoisseurs but because the movie was so ingrained as being a movie they were supposed to like because it was a story of a man overcoming the odds placed on him. While I don't think there's ever anything wrong it taking a story for its worth, it also is worth it to analyze its context and meaning.

Cristina said...

I really enjoyed this film and even found myself using the phrase "tough guise" later in the week when discussing issues of masculinity. I had scene a snippet of this film already but watching it in its entirety opened my eyes to just how much the media plays a role in constructing what is masculine and how their portrayal has changed throughout the years. For instance, the size of guns growing from hand held to bazooka, and G.I. Joe's astounding muscles, that seemed to grow overnight.

I was unaware of the underlying propaganda in "Rocky", depicting the white, middle class boxer versus the black "Muhammad Ali type" (as the movie said) and Rocky being a convenient icon for the white working class man during the time of civil rights issues. And just how some men of the time may have identified with Rocky, boys and men today of varying races and class do the same with The Godfather. I didn't realize how much of an influence this movie had and the progression of hip hop artists copying this mafia stereotype and artists like Kid Rock then copying them.

I also realized how much we DON'T talk about gender when it comes to men and violence. When school shootings happen the media attacks the violent video games boys play, but never why violence is marketed towards young men and that violence is depicted as a right of passage for boys to become men.

I think this film gave a great introduction to what we will be discussing in the future and I enjoyed Jackson Katz and his intro to Men Speak Out and hope to read more from him :)

Jo said...

This was the second time I have seen the movie Tough Guise; I was glad to get to watch it again. I think it’s a really important film. I wish it could be shown to more young men, outside of a women’s studies class – maybe in middle school.
The movie struck me as it reminded me that while women’s rights issues were in the forefront of my mind even as a kid, I didn’t give a second thought to men’s masculinity until I gave birth to a son. The pressure to raise a “man’s man” was heavy among many of my male friends and family. On the occasions that I comforted his pain or gave him a toy perceived as girly (i.e. vacuum, kitchen, etc.) I received a great deal of flack from some of the males in my life. When I told people that weapons weren’t allowed in my house I got a lot of strange looks. The desire to introduce weapons to young boys is really strong in many people. The thought of giving weapons to small children, it is probably a little off-putting. However, when I talk about giving them to small boys, the response is likely to be something like “boys will be boys.” That’s always been very interesting to me.

Kelly T said...

This is probably the second time I’ve seen this movie and I still gasp at the things I see and hear. From watching “Tough Guise’ I have realized that we are very open about women’s issues and women’s rights but we never factor in masculinity. Although this movie was talking about how society molds young boys to be what is perceived as “masculine”, I mainly saw the role that this shaping of “masculine” boys plays in feminism. It is because of this masculine standard that boy’s feel they must live up to that causes a lot of the issues that we are working on as a feminist movement. After seeing this movie in our first class meeting I spoke to a few close friends of mine about the issues presented and it seems that while they think about women in society and how men affect women’s rights, we rarely think about how masculinity affects women’s rights. I even found myself using the term ‘tough guise’ in everyday conversation. I now read things and watch television with an even more critical eye. Before this class I could pick out sexist things and be offended or disgusted with how women were portrayed, but now I’m more aware of the messages being sent to men as well. It just seems that society in general is messed up and we keep going around in circles with these issues of femininity and masculinity.

Abigail said...

I’m so glad we watched this movie. It broke down so many aspects of masculinity, or I should say masculinities. I’m glad that so many examples were provided as to explain how boys, or really all people, are socialized to be a certain way because it’s easy for us to get caught up with theory and theorizing theory. Sometime you just have to show people straight forward real world examples.
My most ah-ha moment was when the movie discussed how focusing on men and male issues is uncomfortable and strange for some people. Society almost always affiliates a social issue or category with the disenfranchised or minority group but rarely do we examine and question the dominant group.
I love, love, love this movie and wish that more men would have the chance and desire to watch it.

Debonair said...

The film was very interesting it pointed out norms within our society and made you feel uncomfortable about them. One point of the movie that I found most interesting was when they showed how action figures have changed over the years. I often think about Barbie's and baby-dolls and point out how women are gendered within American society, but seeing the action figures pointed out that males are subjected to gendering as well and it is often over looked. The action figures also pointed out another point that males are pressured to fit a particular body-image; of being a “macho man” or working out to attain the “perfect bod”.

The film did a great job of pointing out how the heterosexual male is often over looked when considering gender and it examines the ways in which males are gendered within society. The most enjoyable part of the film is that it takes what you think of when you hear the word gender and then shows you the other side of the coin, it shows the importance of evaluation all groups and not just the minority population.

Andrea said...
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Andrea said...
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Richarddd said...

This film was chock-full-o'information! As I watched this film and absorbed logical tidbits of information, many thoughts traversed my mind. First, as a sociology major and former longtime psychology major, I typically look at things through various social science perspectives and compare and contrast how each of these disciplines would handle various bits information with which I am presented. With this film, I kept thinking about various social problems that both sociology and psychology analyze and try to solve and the various fields or tracts which have emerged as major areas of study in these disciplines (ie. domestic violence, social stratification, criminology, gender issues, race issues, etc.) and kept going back to the point the film made at the very beginning - that so many of these social problems stem out of male violence or more generally out of patriarchy and the crappy views of how gender roles are supposed to be historically in our society. This is definitely a film that I want to watch from time to time, to keep me motivated to fight oppression and stupid norms.

Merritt Johnson said...

I think I posted this on the wrong sopt, so here is my view agin...I found Tough Guise to be a very interesting movie. I enjoyed all of the examples. A few stuck out in particular though. It made me mad how Dice Clay, the comesdiea would talk shit about females and the sudience would clap and love it. Laso, how Howard Stern re-infored olf fashioned sexist values. I didn't like how those women were on his show flashing themselves, I feel like they should respect themselves more and Stern should not be an ass and show stuff like that. The star wars bodies of the axtion toys showed how men looked back then and how they are trying to look now. It upset me about all of the harassment toward gays. How 1/3 of teen suicides are gays and how people left hate messages on machines of gays. I do not agree that being a man you have to be in control, it is what boys and men are taught, and it disgusts me. My best friend is a guy, I dated him but now were best friends. He works out to make himself healthy and feel good. He is quiet, respectful and modest. He never judges anyone and i find he cries more than I do. This makes me love him more as a man not less. It said you gain respect by disrespecting a person and "real man" is intimidating and controlling.. AHHH this all makes me want to scream. Men think it's okay to yell, burp, fight, curse, punch, demand becasue this is" the norm" for men. I know when and if i have a son, he will be brought up in a nice way. The examples in the movie is no way a man should act. In movies all men have crazy wild sex, hve 2 pack abs, bulging muscles, win every fight they start, this is not the norm and this is making everday men try harder and harder to be like this.

Merritt Johnson said...

Oops, I had a lot of spelling errors on the first post. I found Tough Guise to be a very interesting movie. I enjoyed all of the examples. A few stuck out in particular though. It made me mad how Dice Clay, the comedian would talk shit about females and the audience would clap and love it. Also, how Howard Stern re-enforced old fashioned sexist values. I didn't like how those women were on his show flashing themselves, I feel like they should respect themselves more and Stern should not be an ass and show stuff like that. The star wars bodies of the action toys showed how men looked back then and how they are trying to look now. It upset me about all of the harassment toward gays. How 1/3 of teen suicides are gays and how people left hate messages on machines of gays. I do not agree that being a man you have to be in control, it is what boys and men are taught, and it disgusts me. My best friend is a guy, I dated him but now were best friends. He works out to make himself healthy and feel good. He is quiet, respectful and modest. He never judges anyone and i find he cries more than I do. This makes me love him more as a man not less. It said you gain respect by disrespecting a person and "real man" is intimidating and controlling.. AHHH this all makes me want to scream. Men think it's okay to yell, burp, fight, curse, punch, demand because this is" the norm" for men. I know when and if i have a son, he will be brought up in a nice way. The examples in the movie is no way a man should act. In movies all men have crazy wild sex, have 2 pack abs, bulging muscles, win every fight they start, this is not the norm and this is making everyday men try harder and harder to be like this.