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It’s funny that, as a woman, I really can’t think of any, and I’ve been at it for about 7 minutes.

I turned it around and asked myself what are the films that spoke to social commentaries about men.


I found the question really difficult because what are the universal "male" social issues? Are there any that are relevant to us all? Are there movies about testicles?



A couple that I thought of were "Predator" because the testosterone in the movie drips off the screen. Realistically? No. But strongly (absurdly) 'male.'



And the movie "Falling Down" (1993 with Michael Douglas) because it deals with the pressure of being a provider. But it's perspective is from the perspective of a Western white male. So, in that sense it may not be universally "male."



Edit to add that maybe what are the "male" and "female" issues are not elemental but necessarily linked to social context.


Also, is it possible for the male to understand issues facing woman in society? Maybe not from a personal experience perspective, but certainly a man can study and read and be tuned in to the experience of others.


The first movie I thought of as having a strong feminine perspective, at least in terms of dealing with uniquely feminine pressures, was "Thelma and Louise." Maybe it wasn't insightful, but it was certainly told from a strongly feminine point of view. Edit to add that the movie deals directly with trying to liberate the elemental feminine from the societal and male influences that would otherwise try to define them. Of course, the only way they become truly liberated is to drive a beautiful '65 T-Bird convertible over a cliff. Not a very optimistic message about the possibility of unfettered feminism. We all have to swim in the waters of our own little fish bowl.



Victim of The Night
While I think that many challenges faced by women can also be faced by either other groups (ie women and racial minorities can face hiring discrimination) or by men (ie men can be victims of objectification or sexual violence), here are some films that I think offer social commentary on issues that are definitely linked to the gender of the main character (though that might not always be the main point of the film):


Visiting Hours

Good ol' Takoma.



I found the question really difficult because what are the universal "male" social issues? Are there any that are relevant to us all? Are there movies about testicles?
LOL.

But seriously, when I think about social issues facing men, I mainly think about the way that societies define masculinity and the idea of being a "real man".

To that end, I think of a film like All Quiet on the Western Front, where men are not only expected to participate in horrifically traumatizing events, but then to return from them and speak of them with a sense of pride and even gratitude.



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LOL.



To that end, I think of a film like All Quiet on the Western Front, where men are not only expected to participate in horrifically traumatizing events, but then to return from them and speak of them with a sense of pride and even gratitude.

Ah, the male's inclination for combat and competition. So, we have the older films' where war and sports (and politics?) are the exclusive domain of the men. Not so true anymore as women assume more and more of those roles.



Compare two movies about a dangerous river run: "Deliverance" and "The River Wild' (Streep). The former is a strongly masculine movie while the latter is strongly feminine. The action in the movies are not radically different, but the 'flavor' of the movies are.



In terms of a protest against male stereotyping, what about a film like "Animal House"? The movie is strongly male but it is also a frank protest against the rigid roles expected of young men.



And then there is the feminine stereotype for nurturing and child rearing. What about films like "Juno" and "Grandma" ? They seem to tackle womanhood from a particularly strong feminine angle.



And on the other side of the coin is the satire of "Mr. Mom" with Michael Keaton and Teri Garr,



We see the migration of women into roles more traditionally occupied by men in contemporary film. Outside of comedy and satire, do we see the opposite? Is that because women had so few roles in society (there are no roles for men to invade) or is it because no one wants to see stories of nurturing/strongly feminine men?



How about Chris Hemsworth' character is the 2016 re-boot of "Ghostbusters (2016)." Instead of a beautiful bubbleheaded woman secretary serving coffee ("Bialystock and Bloom! Bialystock and Bloom!"), we have the beautiful bubbleheaded hunk doing it instead. But it comes off as funny, an obvious irony and satire at the women stereotypes of older films. Does it work if done in earnest? Does the audience buy it?



Ah, the male's inclination for combat and competition. So, we have the older films' where war and sports (and politics?) are the exclusive domain of the men. Not so true anymore as women assume more and more of those roles.
I'm not talking so much about who gets to participate in war, but rather the idea of "real men" enduring situations like bloody battles and being expected to come back from them without any serious side effects. I think that some anti-war films rightfully ask, "What are we asking these men to do? And why are we expecting them to be okay with it?"



…or is it because no one wants to see stories of nurturing/strongly feminine men? *

How about Chris Hemsworth' character is the 2016 re-boot of "Ghostbusters (2016)." Instead of a beautiful bubbleheaded woman secretary serving coffee ("Bialystock and Bloom! Bialystock and Bloom!"), we have the beautiful bubbleheaded hunk doing it instead. But it comes off as funny, an obvious irony and satire at the women stereotypes of older films. Does it work if done in earnest? Does the audience buy it?
I certainly would not want to watch that. “Nurturing” is a broad one but “feminine” men as a deliberate characteristic, and an entire story constructed around that, how is that in itself of interest? I just don’t see the point in such gender swaps. I have never seen such a trope reversal “work in earnest” or “bought it”. If anything, it evokes a kind of annoyance in me, because why? It is incredibly artificial. There is the British secretary John Hooker in Mad Men who however insists he isn’t one at every opportunity, and I don’t think that’s made comic there, but let’s be honest, a male secretary is still a kind of aberration.

Disclaimer: I have no faith in secretaries of any kind, but I would not hire a male secretary. I don’t have a good argument for that, but a certain amalgamation of personal experience that suggests it wouldn’t be a good idea.



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LOL.

But seriously, when I think about social issues facing men, I mainly think about the way that societies define masculinity and the idea of being a "real man".

To that end, I think of a film like All Quiet on the Western Front, where men are not only expected to participate in horrifically traumatizing events, but then to return from them and speak of them with a sense of pride and even gratitude.

yeah, all the different voices you acquire in your head about "being a man" can be and often are as crappy as being expected to look pretty in a very specific fashion friendly way, play the role of "nurturing happy female", etc. The thing that generally bothers me about these conversations is it really is unique for each person, a lot of women who i've talked to have said "i only have guy friends because i don't like having female friends", so the diametrically opposed binaries don't apply. Appearing tough isn't much more than a shield and burden.


I was thinking about that in the movie "Dead Presidents" (not a good movie imo, btw): in the beginning the boy gets jealous of the main characters pool playing abilities and loses, then when the main character demands money for winning the boy slits his face with a knife and threatens him to get him to stfu around town...then when the main character comes back from the war, the boy who threatened him says in front of his friends "i kicked his ass years ago!", but nobody really cares about such pompous insecure behavior a lot of the time anyway, it's not impressive and more often than not un-attractive.



I certainly would not want to watch that. “Nurturing” is a broad one but “feminine” men as a deliberate characteristic, and an entire story constructed around that, how is that in itself of interest?
I don't think that the film would be constructed around a man being feminine. But to give a recent example, the lead character in tick tick BOOM had some feminine attributes, and I was genuinely surprised when his character turned out to be straight. (And not only straight, but his relationship with his girlfriend was a key plot thread).

Some men are just naturally more "feminine". I think that a narrative can be interesting if you see the way that someone functions when they don't have the outer appearance that is expected of them. And I also think that feminine men can be interesting characters outside of their mannerisms (as with tick tick BOOM).

Disclaimer: I have no faith in secretaries of any kind, but I would not hire a male secretary. I don’t have a good argument for that, but a certain amalgamation of personal experience that suggests it wouldn’t be a good idea.
Aw

I've worked with three different male secretaries via some sideline work I've done for my parents' business. Male secretaries are fine.



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I'm not talking so much about who gets to participate in war, but rather the idea of "real men" enduring situations like bloody battles and being expected to come back from them without any serious side effects. I think that some anti-war films rightfully ask, "What are we asking these men to do? And why are we expecting them to be okay with it?"

Film and literature handles this both ways; in terms of the glory of combat and in terms of human frailty and the tragic outcome of unspeakable physical and emotional trauma of military mayhem. And both takes are true.



Historically, the horrific nature of combat took a sharp turn with the American Civil War with the industrial revolution and the emergence of technologies of mass killing. But we still have voluntary military service.



Is this thirst for the glory of combat innate? For eons it was the exclusive endeavor of men. Now we see women here as well. Was it innate in women all along and simply denied them or, is the phenomenon of the soldiering woman an artifice and being fostered and nurtured as a social norm?



As for enduring and coming out of combat as a whole person, is that a determinant of a "real" man or just luck?



I don't think that the film would be constructed around a man being feminine. But to give a recent example, the lead character in tick tick BOOM had some feminine attributes, and I was genuinely surprised when his character turned out to be straight. (And not only straight, but his relationship with his girlfriend was a key plot thread).

Some men are just naturally more "feminine". I think that a narrative can be interesting if you see the way that someone functions when they don't have the outer appearance that is expected of them. And I also think that feminine men can be interesting characters outside of their mannerisms (as with tick tick BOOM).
Right. Haven’t seen that or heard of it - definitely worth checking out. I don’t think all/most effeminate men are gay, or anything like that, it’s far more complicated.

It’s all about approach. I think “effeminate” can mean an interest in fashion and whatnot, and, yes, looks, taking care of one’s appearance, but it’s when emotional reactions come into play that it gets tricky for me. I think this may have been brought up in the cliches thread, but it’s when men are portrayed as “whiny/hysterical/gutless” that the role reversal becomes a bit on the nose imo. And this happens a lot now. I’m not suggesting these reactions are unique to women, and I love male characters (especially antagonists/villains) who are not, on the face of it, tough - like Loki. they don’t have to be gay. But to me it’s a bit as in it’s not pc to have hysterical women any longer, so all hail hysterical men.

I rewatched Prisoners tonight. I enjoy it each time, though it’s not flawless. A lot of screen time is dedicated to setting up Keller as “tough”, contrasting with Franklin’s “softness” (he cries a lot, refuses to engage in physical violence, can’t keep secrets, what else… plays an instrument instead of hunting? ). I think that film is an uncomfortable watch on many levels, as was intended, but every time I revisit it I’m reminded that I would not want to go through any crisis with someone like Franklin by my side. Again, I know that is not Villeneuve’s “point”, but I think that is so far outside the realm of, I guess, biologically expected behaviour, that to me it would have to be a pretty central part of the plot.

I do agree in advance that if done well it becomes seamless.

Aw

I've worked with three different male secretaries via some sideline work I've done for my parents' business. Male secretaries are fine.
Again, I suppose that was a bit of dark humour on my part. I’m sure male secretaries are fine

But they often don’t like reporting to women and I don’t like the atmosphere that creates.



every time I revisit it I’m reminded that I would not want to go through any crisis with someone like Franklin by my side.
I think that going through a crisis with anyone who is very emotional is challenging, regardless of gender.

When done right, a hysterical/emotional character can work really well for a scene. Like the son in Moonstruck being all upset and his dying mother is like "Oh, for heaven's sake!". The most (irrationally) emotional/hysterical character in The Witch was the mother, in my opinion, but effectively so.

I do agree with you that hysterical women have gone a bit out of vogue when it comes to generating an easy laugh. Then again, I rarely find hysterical characters all that funny to begin with, so it's not a big loss from my point of view.

Again, I suppose that was a bit of dark humour on my part. I’m sure male secretaries are fine

But they often don’t like reporting to women and I don’t like the atmosphere that creates.
Yes, to be fair, two of the three male secretaries I worked with interacted directly with a male supervisor.



I think that going through a crisis with anyone who is very emotional is challenging, regardless of gender.

When done right, a hysterical/emotional character can work really well for a scene. Like the son in Moonlight being all upset and his dying mother is like "Oh, for heaven's sake!". The most (irrationally) emotional/hysterical character in The Witch was the mother, in my opinion, but effectively so.
That’s very true. And yes, dear me, The VVitch is great, but the mother was something else. I’ll revisit Moonlight for that alone.

You do have a point. In a sense that makes me think that hysterical characters in general are incredibly hard to get right. Don’t remember much about Girl, Interrupted, but I rewatched There Will Be Blood yesterday, and while Paul Dano’s Eli isn’t exactly hysterical, the religious ecstasy scenes made my spine tingle all over again.



That’s very true. And yes, dear me, The VVitch is great, but the mother was something else. I’ll revisit Moonlight for that alone.
Sorry, Moonstruck! Moonstruck! It was a mis-type. I just corrected it in my post.

You do have a point. In a sense that makes me think that hysterical characters in general are incredibly hard to get right.
Exactly.

It's not hard to make a hysterical character grating, but having them actually work as part of a scene is trickier if you want them to be more than one-note.



Sorry, Moonstruck! Moonstruck! It was a mis-type. I just corrected it in my post.
Ha, thank God! My mind went “WHAT!?”

Moonstruck is very weird but awesome.



Ha, thank God! My mind went “WHAT!?”
As soon as you very diplomatically were like "Yeah, I'll have to, um . . . rewatch Moonlight for that moment" I was like "I HAVE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE".



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Migrating a bit from the feminine, but the movie scene that has the best depiction of hysterical characters is "Return of The Living Dead (1985) where there is a long warehouse scene when a closeted corpse first comes to life and actors James Karen (who I love), Thom Mathews and later joined by Clu Gallagher absolutely nail the state of human panic. Awesome scene.



Migrating a bit from the feminine, but the movie scene that has the best depiction of hysterical characters is "Return of The Living Dead (1985) where there is a long warehouse scene when a closeted corpse first comes to life and actors James Karen (who I love), Thom Mathews and later joined by Clu Gallagher absolutely nail the state of human panic. Awesome scene.
Let's not sell the film short on it's social commentary about how hard it is to be a woman.

Specifically how hard it is to be a woman when you're just trying to dance naked in a graveyard and secret government gas gets acid-rained down on your nude body and also somehow your vulva has disappeared.

I mean, talk about a problem facing women every single day in this country!



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That situation is pretty cliched



That situation is pretty cliched
"I was watching a movie with this woman and . . ."

"Let me guess: she was dancing naked in a graveyard with a missing vulva and secret reanimating gas released from a nearby building acid-rained down on her? YAWN."