Extra-Ordinary Men analyzes popular cinematic representations of white heterosexual masculinity as the "ordinary" form of male identity, one that enjoys considerable economic, social, political, and representational strength. Nicola Rehling argues that while this normative position affords white heterosexual masculinity ideological and political dominance, such "ordinariness" also engenders the anxiety that it is a depthless, vacuous, and unstable identity. At a time when the neutrality of white heterosexual masculinity has been challenged by identity politics, this insightful volume offers lucid accounts of contemporary theoretical debates on masculinity in popular cinema, and explores the strategies deployed in popular films to reassert white heterosexual male hegemony through detailed readings of films as diverse as Fight Club, Boys Don't Cry, and The Matrix. Accessible to undergraduates, but also of interest to film scholars, the book makes a distinctive contribution to our understanding of the ways in which popular film helps construct and maintain many unexamined assumptions about masculinity, gender, race, and sexuality.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Part 1 The Politics of the "White Male as Victim"
1 Losing Ground: Representations of White Male Disenfranchisement in Anglo-American Popular Cinema 23
2 Literalizing the Wound: Paternal Melodramas, Masochism, and White Heterosexual Masculinity in Popular U.S. Cinema 55
Part 2 Coming Apart at the Seams? White Heterosexual Masculinity and the Body in Popular Cinema
3 Fleshing Out White Heterosexual Masculinity: The Objectified and Commodified White Male Body 85
4 Terminal Bodies and Cartesian Trips: White Heterosexual Masculinity in Cyberfantasies 115
5 Queering White Heterosexual Masculinity: Cross-Dressing and Transgender Cinema 137
6 White Skin, Black Masks? Male "Wiggers" in Contemporary Popular Cinema 167
Part 3 Marking White Male Violence: The Gangster and the Serial Killer
7 White Male Violence in Quentin Tarantino's Gangster Films 203
8 Everyman and No Man: White Masculinity in Contemporary Serial Killer Movies 227
Select Filmography 271
About the Author 281
What People are Saying About This
This study is original while making an intelligent use of existing studies. Extremely well organized, this book moves gradually and rigorously from the general to the more specific and shows a remarkable ability to articulate plot summaries and textual analyzes, ongoing theoretical concerns, and personal statements thoroughly argued through to their conclusions.