Constellation: “We are all connected; to each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe, atomically.” – Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Ashley Morgan began her lecture on Masculinity with this quote, perfectly explaining the compatibility of the different keynote lectures with the range of courses in the room. As a graphic communication student, I understand that this unpicking of the term ‘Masculinity’ is important in understanding the target audience for my work and how to aim it specifically at those people when I am creating a piece of work. It is also important to understand social structures, how opinions of different types of people have changed and what character personalities are ‘popular’ in current pop culture. Ashley presented the representation of ‘masculine men’ in popular films and discussed how, in the past, they have more frequently been the main character. Gramsci labelled these men ‘hegemonic’- a term used for social practises which promote male dominance and female subordination. This was then compared with more current films and television programmes which feature ‘wimps, geeks and nerds…the ‘less masculine’ end of the male spectrum’ according to Connell. These types of men are shown in The Big Bang Theory, in which characters like Sheldon Cooper and Raj Koothrappali are the main focus. Looking at modern film and television, it is apparent that the traditional, strong, male protagonist is making way for men with other interests in life, particularly making room for men considered ‘geeks’ of whatever interest. These men are geniuses in their field; their storylines and narrative often being driven by other pursuits than the classic chase of women and sexual satisfaction. The presentation of ‘geeks’ in the media demonstrates how science can drive the narrative, just as much as social situations and everyday life, as seen previously in film and television.

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