Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Toxic Masculinity in Mad Men and Friday Night Lights

         Marcotte’s article focused on television shows, such as Mad Men and Friday Night Lights, that appeared to celebrate masculinity and patriarchal power, but instead the plots encompassed toxic masculinity and the down fall of patriarchal power.  Although I have not seen much of Mad Men or Friday Night Lights, Marcotte’s article highlighted the story of men enjoying and celebrating their power and roles in life, until their realities shift and they find themselves in unfamiliar territory.  For Mad Men’s Don Draper, he finds himself without his family and job, while Eric Taylor of Friday Night Lights struggles with a new coaching job and his wife and daughter demanding more respect.  Why do these types of plots attract such a large audience and fan base?

            Personally, I would find myself drawn a show in which a character experiences a hard downfall, but then tries to undo his/her mistakes and grows to me an honorable and likeable character.  After reading Marcotte’s article, I believe I would find myself rooting for Don Draper and Eric Taylor because they are learning from the wrong doings and attempting to make changes no just for their benefits.  I think many viewers would have the same feelings towards the lead characters of these male dominant television shows.  There also appears to a large female fan base as well.  One commonality in these plots appears to be that a strong supporting female character comes to the rescue of the drowning lead male character.  Therefore, the presence of strong women in a male dominant television show may be the cause of a large female fan base.

            However, the most interesting part of the article was that dramas similar to that of Mad Men and Friday Night Light but instead with female leads have yet to achieve a large fan base and the popularity as dramas with male leads.  Instead, women are starting to dominate the comedic genre.  Marcotte suggests that society is not ready to deal with the questioning of gender roles and women being placed in dramatic and complex plots.  I hope that women find themselves in dramatic and complex roles in dramas sometime in the future, and are not limited to comedies.          



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