Essay about Fight Club and Feminism

Essay about Fight Club and Feminism

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The issue at the heart of the David Fincher film, Fight Club, is not that of man’s rebellion against a society of “men raised by women”. This is a film that outwardly exhibits itself as promoting the resurrection of the ‘ultra-male’, surreptitiously holding women accountable for the decay of manhood. However, the underlying truth of the film is not of resisting the force of destruction that is ‘woman’, or of resisting the corruption of manhood at her hand, but of penetrating the apathy needed to survive in an environment ruled by commercial desire, not need. In reality, Fight Club is a careful examination, through parody, of what it means to be a man; carefully examining the role of women in a society busy rushing towards sexual homogeneity. Proponents of lesbian feminist theory, and feminist theorists such as Hélène Cixous and Julia Kristeva, would dismiss Fight Club as mere validation of their conceptualized male, of the “phallocrat”, for its sympathetic portrayal of the whining, emasculated modern-male, and his ‘oppression’ at the hands of a society that values submission over independence (Kristeva 476).
At the beginning of Fight Club, Jack, the protagonist, is a disaffected corporate peon, another “slave to the IKEA nesting instinct”. His apartment reflects his personality, but not in the way he thinks—what his addiction to “clever furniture” does, is reveal the commercially dependent worker-bee for what he is. The film has caricatured modernity, mocking our dependence upon comforts and extravagance, while suggesting that—with the crack at maternity (“nesting instinct”)—masculinity has departed. Jack represents the decay of conceptualized masculinity; his society needs his intellect, not his back. Jack finds himself drawn t...

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...lle: Florida State University Press, 1986. 309-320.
Faludi, Susan. Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1999.
Fight Club. Dir. David Fincher. Perfs. Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 1999.
Giroux, Henry A. “Private Satisfactions and Public Disorders: Fight Club, Patriarchy, and the Politics of Masculine Violence.” 3 July 2000. UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. 19 April 2009
Kristeva, Julia. “Women’s Time”. Adams, Hazard and Leroy Searle. Critical Theory Since 1965. Gainesville: Florida State University Press, 1986. 471-484.
Wollstonecraft, Mary. “A Vindication of the Rights of Women”. Adams, Hazard and Leroy Searle. Critical Theory Since Plato. Third Edition. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, 2005. 442-446.

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