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Hollywood: Men vs. Boys

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Hollywood: Men vs. Boys

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:20 pm

http://dialectmagazine.com/2012/01/hollywood-men-vs-boys/

Hollywood: Men vs. Boys

Posted on 01.19.12
Post by Jackie Morrison

When it comes to deciding the men versus the boys it comes down to this, whom do you feel safe and protected beside?

Do you remember when Sir Sean Connery was James Bond? Or when Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando ruled the big screen? When Connery was only 17 he enlisted in the Royal Navy. Even as a minor he looked more man than boy in photographs. Being a man has nothing to do with age. A man has a particular presence and displays a certain type of maturity.

While it may be difficult to describe what a man is, you know one when you see one. The best way to define a man is by example. Usually these are the kind of males that other men want to be like. Last I checked, more heterosexual men at my gym wanted to emulate Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Tom Hardy, or Michael Fassbender instead of Justin Timberlake, Orlando Bloom, or Matthew Morrison.

For the last 30 years it appears that most Hollywood heartthrobs were boyishly charming and eternal adolescents in some way. Sometimes it had to do with mere appearance as the baby face of certain actors stay that way. For example, Matthew Morrison is 33 and Justin Timberlake is 31 but both give off a teenage vibe. Maybe it’s their voice. They don’t sound like they have an Adam’s apple. Bradley Cooper also has a soprano-tenor pitch that is no match for Tom Hardy, accent aside. Cooper still seems like an eternal college kid. As for action star Channing Tatum, well, same deal plus he is too pretty.

So here are the men: Gerard Butler, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, Hugh Jackman, and James McAvoy. As for the boys, these lads are: Bradley Cooper, Colin Egglesfield, Jackson Hurst, Matthew Morrison, Channing Tatum, and Justin Timberlake. Although this is a subjective analysis of the representation of masculinity in Hollywood there are a few characteristics that have been used to determine these sample lists.
Let’s start with the men. Like I said, you know one when you see one.

Gerard Butler
How telling is it that when Gerard Butler wears a kilt and is still the most masculine of them all? In 300, he made it all too clear that he was a typical predatory male. Even when he appears in romantic comedies he still has that testosterone rich presence. America hasn’t seen someone like this since Steve McQueen. Butler has been known to tell people that all the men in Scotland are like him. What does this say? Either the Highlands are a breeding ground for masculinity or there is something in how the men are brought up that allows them to transition from boy to man at the right age.

Michael Fassbender
One word describes him perfectly: Adonis. He may be lean but there is an inner strength to him still. He may not have the natural muscle of Butler or Hardy but something brews behind those piercing blue eyes. Fassbender possesses a confidence, virility, masculinity, and soft intensity that just wakes you up. He is another one who can get away with kissing a man on screen and not look any less masculine. The Argentinean bar scene in X-Men: First Class where he kills the Nazis displayed at cold lethal side that channeled Connery. His Teutonic chisel only makes him more XY to the nth degree.

Tom Hardy
Between his roles in Bronson, Warrior, and Black Hawk Down, Hardy seems born to play tough guys. He has a sweet side which was displayed in Wuthering Heights. Even when Hardy revealed that he had dabbled in bisexuality as a teenager and had a romantic crush on Gerard Butler, it didn’t detract from his masculinity. In fact, Hardy got praised for his honesty and was still seen as manly. This proves that he is not only a strong contender for James Bond but that his sense of being a man is so strong that even loving another man doesn’t take away from his alpha status. Hardy did a U.S. solider proud in Black Hawk Down far more than Channing Tatum did in Dear John.

Hugh Jackman
Early in his career, Hugh Jackman got compared to Clint Eastwood a la Dirty Harry. Wolverine solidified his status as a man’s man. Many times I have heard bodybuilders say that they are not gay but they think Hugh Jackman is hot. Now, these are men who are straight and usually do not notice actors but they notice Jackman. When he made the cover of Men’s Fitness just before Real Steel was released, men at my gym were gushing over his workout. Jackman is a committed husband and father, something only a man is capable of.

James McAvoy
Don’t be fooled by those sweet eyes and soulful face. Once upon a time Gerard Butler looked like this until he started bodybuilding. McAvoy’s depth and maturity was evident when he was 22-year-old actor fresh out of drama school. He holds his own against established stars like Angelina Jolie or Morgan Freeman. In The Last King of Scotland he gave a powerful performance that is unforgettable. McAvoy was barely 25 but his role as a Scottish doctor to Nigerian dictator Idi Amin was riveting. Could Matthew Morrison or Justin Timberlake with a Scottish accent pull that off? McAvoy has a strong sense of self and commitment to his wife and family. If that isn’t a man, what is?
Now let’s look at the boys.

Bradley Cooper
When Bradley Cooper was announced as the 2010 ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ by People, it drew protests. His title was one of the most controversial ones in recent history. Cooper is the typical all-American good-looking male and he is a smart guy. There is still something about him that does not distinguish itself from eternal frat boy Matthew McConaughey. Nothing wrong with being a perpetual frat boy, except a frat boy is never a frat man. Well, you do get frat men roaming the streets but these are the types who are labeled midlife crisis sufferers. Cooper has charm, talent, and he does have a genuine presence. If any actor can break out of the boyish charm stereotype it is most likely going to be Cooper.

Colin Egglesfield and Jackson Hurst
I thought these two actors were the same person until I realized they weren’t. Jackson Hust is the actor who plays Grayson in Drop Dead Diva. Egglesfield was the actor in Something Borrowed who was engaged to Kate Hudson. They are new on the scene and are getting attention. While they are undeniably attractive, they are so much a pair of pretty boys that women can sense it hundred miles away. The problem with pretty boys is that they are associated with being players. Besides, if a man looks like he spends the same amount of time or more grooming himself like a woman, it detracts from his masculinity.

Matthew Morrison
Morrison was everywhere once Glee became a global hit. All those years on Broadway paid off. Matthew Morrison is talented and versatile but his boyish charm makes him look well boyish. His debut CD had several tracks that featured duets with Elton John and Sting. Unfortunately, not even the God’s of Rock ‘n Roll helped sell the CD. Matthew Morrison across as a guy in high school who ruled the hallways by being sarcastic. He is more leading boy than leading man. Somehow, Morrison appeals to the theater crowd or just people who enjoy show tunes. He shares the triple threat ability of acting, singing, and dancing with Hugh Jackman, but he’s lacking that strong presence.

Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum made his debut in the movie Step Up. Now that he is in his 30s he still feels like a frat boy or college football player enjoying his youth. When he starred as a Roman soldier in the movie The Eagle it instantly drew comparisons to Michael Fassbender’s role in Centurion. Critics seemed to consistently say that the man of the hour was Michael Fassbender. Both movies were about the missing Ninth Legion of Rome. Tatum had plenty of muscle and action scenes but it was like watching a Boy Scout in Roman gear instead of a man who survived an ambush like Fassbender’s character in Centurion.

Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake is the long-lost twin of Matthew Morrison in more ways than one. Not only has their voices remained that of a pre-Adam’s apple adolescent but between their curly locks and mannerisms, these two still seem like teenagers. Part of Timberlake’s image is still derived from his days as a boy band singer. While he has attempted to appear more mature in his solo singing career and acting roles, Timberlake just doesn’t seem like he has finished high school yet. James McAvoy is only two years older than Timberlake but seems centuries ahead of him in wisdom. Maybe this is partly Timberlake’s fault. He hasn’t divorced himself completely from his 16-year-old self.

For some reason it appears that in dividing the men from the boys, the list also became a European versus American one. This is either a coincidence or a reflection of how the aesthetic differs across the Atlantic Ocean. Or maybe it’s symbolic of how men are raised in North America versus older countries. A man is one who makes you feel safe walking down the dark alley. They also stand up to you. A man is someone you can’t imagine not winning a bar fight or being a confident road warrior on a superhighway.

A man makes a woman who emasculates boys suddenly become feminine in his presence. She won’t even think of pulling an emasculation tactic on him. Why? She won’t feel the need too. When a man is being a man he makes a woman relax enough to be a woman. Part of the problem may be feminism. Perhaps North American feminism made little girls grow up to be the sons we never had. Could it also be that the rise in single mother households played a role? The lack of a father may provoke a girl to develop the qualities of the absent man in her life in compensation.

No woman wants to be with a woman unless she is sexually oriented towards women. Most straight women want a man. The reason why Gerard Butler and Michael Fassbender have women panting is because they are all man and no boy. They make them females want to be women and are man crush objects of many straight men.

Manly men also have very masculine features. Typical male faces have strong jaws, broad shoulders, a piercing gaze, muscular arms and legs, and a six pack. These men are not mean but they are not too nice either. They pack a punch. Another consideration is that in Europe boys are taught how to be men. Feminism may never have swept Europe the way it did in North America. Whatever the case, both genders react to a man in a peculiar way.

Actors who represent a man’s man tend to have fans of both genders who are often worldlier. Actors who are boys simply attract girls who gush until the next celebrity crush comes along. No grown man wants to be told that they are just like Justin Timberlake. They want to be told that they are just like Gerard Butler. American cinema lost the alpha male when Brando, Connery, and McLean left the scene and got older. Now it looks like they are back. Besides, I’d want Gerard Butler or any of the other men on the sample list to walk me home at night. If it were one of the boys I’d worry we would both get robbed.

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