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Hollywood Masculinities: Themes, Bodies and Ideologies in 1980s Hybrid Action Cinema

Dolby, Aidan (2019) Hollywood Masculinities: Themes, Bodies and Ideologies in 1980s Hybrid Action Cinema. Masters thesis, York St John University.

Text (MA by Research thesis)
DOLBY AIDAN FINAL THESIS.pdf - Published Version
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This thesis explores hypomasculinity in Hollywood action cinema of the 1980s. The form of masculinity explored, sits as a medium between hypermasculinity and masculinity in crisis on the masculinity spectrum. This thesis examines how hypomasculinity is a form of masculinity which is both strong and sensitive. From research hypomasculinity is noticeably absent within film studies and gender theory. This further demonstrates a critical void that necessitates a wider exploration, making this study an original contribution to knowledge. Orrin E. Klapp suggests, the stars who lead these films can have one of three relationships with prevalent demographics. The third relationships of Klapp’s theory, transcendence, presents the idea that ‘the hero produces a fresh point of view, a feeling of integrity and makes a new man’ (1969: 229) a perspective which aligns with that of hypomasculinity. Using the research methodologies of thematic and close analysis through a selection of hybrid action films, this thesis examines not only why hypomasculinity arose, but how and who communicated it through Hollywood cinema. Therefore this thesis covers many areas: the defining of hypomasculinity, the Reagan era’s effect on masculinity and the structural, financial and industrial shifts that took place within Hollywood throughout the 1980s, before finally considering existing masculinity theory and how hypomasculinity may be a more applicable and contemporary form of masculinity.

The conclusion of this thesis demonstrates the defining attributes of hypomasculinity, and how showcasing it in within Hollywood films of the 80s, perhaps exclusively hybrid action titles, hypomasculinity allowed American manhood to realise they could be a duality of strength and sensitivity.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Status: Published
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/4477

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