Friday, March 9, 2012

Blue is the New Masculine

Throughout this entire course thus far, one thing I have taken note was how the idea of masculinity has changed throughout the course of history. This example of American Choppers offers a completely new way of looking at masculinity through the lense of a blue-collar worker. Before this trend in blue-collar television, I believed masculinity to be defined as a high-powered businessman in a nicely tailored suit, a white-collared man. But through the popularity of American Coppers, a new idea of masculinity has emerged. Working class identity is now linked to hard work and patriotism. Throughout this article I kept thinking about the “Its Halftime in America” Chrysler commercial. Just like the men in American Choppers and other blue-collar hard working shows, they are referencing their masculinity through the idea that American was built through the blood, sweat and hard work. These men have had to make sacrifices in order to achieve the “American Dream”. This commercial explains how for sometime now the blue-collar of Detroit have been down and out, but they are back and ready to succeed. These men and women are the backbone of the American car industry and their hard work is needed for the industry to succeed. The Teutul’s are a vivid example of how through hard work and perseverance one can come from nothing and become a celebrity.

One thing that I though was extremely interesting was the use of recovery in the show as a symbol of masculinity. While I think this at times could reinforce stereotypes of the blue-collar labor class. Drug and alcohol addiction, depression, and destructive behavior are themes of the early years for the Teutul boys. But this is just used as another way to show masculinity. “American Chopper sites individual responsibility that eschews the welfare state as the proper way to deal with addiction. The example of Senior and Paulie’s self-help situates the privatization of public life under neoliberalism at the heart of a sentimentalized masculine citizenship”.

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