Thursday, March 8, 2012
The American Dream and a Shift in Working-Class Masculinities
I found that this article took on a very interesting perspective by analyzing American Chopper. Over the past few years, with the American economy in turmoil, we have seen a shift in TV shows reflecting this ideal of blue-collar work, and people still striving for the American Dream even when unemployment is still very high in this country. However, what this article observes is that the decline in traditional "masculine" jobs has led to a rise in insecurity in the American male psyche, and that American men are becoming increasingly marginalized in our society, so much so that its causing a "crisis to masculinity."
And I guess I honestly have to agree. While shows like American Chopper are presenting, "idealized realm of masculine interaction that reproduces traditionally coded divisions of public and private, masculine and feminine, labor and leisure while updating those divisions in the face of the corrosive pressures of the neoliberal service economy" (p. 280) we are seeing more and more, TV shows where the stereotypical masculine identity it put into question or has shifted. Reality based shows such as, Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis, It's a Brad Brad World, or Million Dollar Listing show this similar theme of striving for the American Dream, but it's taken from a much more gender fluid and more feminist viewpoint. So I could understand where there could be questions raised about this "crisis to masculinity" that we are seeing in the media, however, I wonder if this is even a threat at all, but rather just engaging more with the spectrum of gender roles and stereotypes that our culture possesses now?