Monday, April 6, 2009

Being a Man and Woman in Fight Club

Throughout Fight Club, there are several scenes that portray men as a pack of wild wolves, following the leader without question, “saving” humanity by fully embracing their masculinity. One scene, however, shows the pack turning against the leader (albeit by following original orders), and trying to steal manhood. At the police station, the nameless narrator is restrained by his drones, who attempt to cut off his genitalia. Obviously, this is a physical deconstruction of the male leader, to which he would no longer be a “man”, nor a representation of what a “man” is. The would-be castration strongly suggests that being a man is having genitalia, something that the nameless narrator pretended to experience earlier in the film at a cancer self-help clinic.

Similarly, Marla characterizes women simply by not having genitals herself. Her role is an effectively constructed sexist view of women, and aside from sex, she only provides a parallel to the narrator. As Tyler Durden reflects on the sex they share, he states, “You, me? It doesn’t really matter to her,” which strongly suggests that she is simply servicing man’s primal desires. Furthermore, by being taken from the bus to Tyler/narrator, she is being used as an object that the herd offers to their leader. She never takes control of the narrator, and is strictly a sex object to Tyler, an idea that she never fully protests. Clearly, physical discrepancies between man and woman help define the definitions of sexuality in Fight Club.

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