Gender roles have been a part of the social norm of society since the early existence of civilizations. These roles strictly incline to the two collective divisions of society known as males and females, thus, such gender roles are dubbed as masculinity and femininity. Masculinity is a term which refers to the characteristics attributed to the male populace of society, while femininity signifies qualities reflective to females (Devor, 58).
Generally, masculinity is applied with the integration of dominance and pride, in this sense, masculinity for the longest time has been commonly associated with agression and superiority in various aspects of human capability (Devor, 58). In an aesthetic context, motion pictures particularly often incorporate the stereotypical domineering qualities of males in the element of character.
Regardless if a role be a police officer, a cowboy, a superhero or an average individual, masculinity is always expressed in male Hollywood film characters, from Superman to Rambo to Terminator, the fundamentals of toughness, dominance and power are always the viewers’ heroes. Furthermore, machismo, in fact, seems to be the only reasonable and vital characteristic distinct to characters of major motion pictures.
Contemporary filmmakers, conversely resshaped the cinematic interpretations of heros, this modern approach is considered to be an augmentation of masculinity since these heroes express more humane qualities, emotion and sensitivity while still poised with conventional toughness. The exemplification of such hybrid portrayal of masculinity is evident in Bruce Willis’ film Live Free or Die Hard. The motion picture Live Fast or Die Hard gives the hybrid depiction of a hero in John McClaine’s (Bruce Willis) persona.
McClaine’s responsible yet femine character departs from the dogmatic and arrogant side of manliness. McClaine’s brawn elements, however, prove to be the only viable means to defeat his adversary, consequently, masculinity is portrayed to be valued and in turn advocates the ideology of male supremacy and patriarchy. The motion picture Live Free or Die Hard depicts John Mclaine at war with an internet based terrorist faction led by Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant).
In erference to the film’s plot may urge a disturbing thought on the emasculation of the conventional cowboy’s stature in the American film industry. In this regard Live Free or Die Hard may address to this cultural ordeal as it serves as the contemporary guide on the retention of American ideas on the aforementioned character. The film begins with the establishment of the modern hybrid hero, where McClaine is shown as a veteran detective of the New York Police Department receiving a degrading treatment from non-ranking members.
The principles of masculinity are epitomized by the law enforcing father’s over-protective nature results to a blatant display of masculinity when his daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is caught torridly kissing a guy in a car. The intimacy of the moment is interrupted when the young man tries to go to second base, McClaine then pry opens the door to apprehend the individual who is taking advantage of his daughter. McClaine’s knight-in-shining-armor routine, scares the male companion half dead as the latter is single-handedly pulled out of the vehicle. The subsequent scene bequeathes another panorama of the modern hero’s amlgamation.
The supposed macho hero is then found chauffeuring a computer hacker, Matt Farrell (Justin Long) to Washington, a total contraband to the archetypal duty of a hero of saving such national nerds from national bullies. The total drift on the popular notion of heroism is not only on the supporting characters’ treatment of McClaine but on the plot as well, there are several conflicts in the film that only Farrell can resolve. It is also important to take notice of Farrell’s qualities; scrawny physique, rebellious attitude and in the fact that Farrell requires some saving every once in a while.
There are, conversely, counter-villain moves that do not require the brain-bashing experties of McClaine, a very unorthodox execution of an action movie with an established character. Additionally, to add more insult to the injury of traditional masculine male heroes, Farrell gets to kill the last villain in the movie. The potential hybrid treatment of the hero is consequently transferred to the scrawny computer geek since he gets to battle the villains in the cyberworld, hence, this weak bodied geek gets to save the day. In this regard, the masculinity is now present in the person with the nerdy smarts.