Masculinity and ‘The Man’

“I got gas in the tank / I got money in the bank / I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man.

I got skin in the game / I don’t feel no pain / I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man.”

—The Killers, “The Man.”

Catchy single. While there is a sense of poking fun at defining masculinity in terms of strength, power, fame, money, or even a slight association of divinity, i.e, “[r]ight hand to God”, these ideas are often central to “male culture” in the United States (and elsewhere). Feminism, despite its many faults, does offer men the possibility of transcending the limitations imposed by popular notions of masculinity, which is no small thing.

Dialogue from “The Twilight Samurai”

“Kayano Iguchi: Father, If I learn to do needlework someday I can make kimonos. But what good will book learning ever do me?

Seibei Iguchi: Well, it probably won’t ever be as useful as needlework. But you know, book learning gives you the power to think. However the world might change, if you have the power to think you’ll always survive somehow. That’s true for boys and for girls. All right?

Kayano Iguchi: Yes.”

—Yamada, Yogi. “The Twilight Samurai”. Film. 2002.