Last week in my Gender in the Media class, we were dissecting the media's presentation of the angry, white male and how masculinity is often associated with violence. The example screened was scenes from fight club, which showcased Brad Pitt and his rippling muscles, alongside bloody, secretly angry Edward Norton. I hadn't seen this movie since high school, and I don't think I ever really understood it. I had seen it multiple times, but the images portrayed had I guess become NORMALIZED, as nothing really seemed abnormal about it. I would watch it with my best guy friends all the time. But then something changed. My best dude friends idolized this movie, literally. They read the book, then watched the movie every week, learned all the lines of the script, started listening to the PIxies, beat each other up to be funny, then found the anarchist cookbook and started building bombs in their basements, and blowing them up in the fields outside of my hometown. This affected me because instead of watching movies with my guy friends on the weekends, I didn't have any guy friends anymore because they had taken the media's message about masculinity to heart. The message that as boys, being violent is glamourous and cool. Or perhaps being the upper-middle class, white, Protestant males that they were, felt that they could identify with the angry, escapist, masochistic ideals endorsed by Tyler Durden and Jack. They needed to identify with those ideals. All I remember, being a 16-17 year old female, is that losing friends sucks.
I guess as a result of that screening, I've been thinking a lot about media effects, and of course, how everybody has their personal experiences. For me, I was able to connect the dots a little this week, with a dramatic example of how the media really can alter an individual's perception of the world.