Friday, February 20, 2009

Masculinity and Gran Turino

Clint Eastwood brilliantly portrays a great, stereotypically male role in Gran Turino.

He is the old racist, sexist male living in a decaying urban neighborhood with Hmong neighbors.

Eastwood "Names" his neighbors using crude, rude stereotyped names. The neighbor's daughter gently accepts and plays on his words, accepting him into their extended family community, using food as a prime mediator.

Eastwood's guns and guts in standing up to the local Hmong gang members, including the cousin of his neighbors earns their respect. His teaching their lost son how to "be male" includes the tough outer persona as well as his work ethic.

In Eastwood - we can see both the positives and more clearly the negative parts that push us as men to cope with fear, using ridicule as we muddle through things, trying to ignore our feelings.

The movie is a brilliant tale, despite its limitations in tolerance -race and gender.


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