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Among them, both cultures identify the failure of fathers, the self-definition according to occupation, and consumerism as the cultural chains restricting the development of true “masculinity” for the modern American man.
So is Tyler Durden masculine because of his no nonsense attitude or are his law breaking antics and unusual lifestyle seen as a failure because he is a man with neither family, money nor a well respected job?
These typical aspirations are commonly defined as the male American dream, but does following life by the rulebook placed on males by society really make a male masculine?
Since the 1999 release of the film “Fight Club,” millions of people have resonated with Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden and Edward Norton’s unnamed “everyman” character.
The film prompted not only raving reviews from media analysts but also...
One unexpected sector of American society that has identified with the film, however, has been the religious right.
Various evangelical men’s ministries across the country have adopted the name “Fight Club,” drawing images and slogans from the film (e.g., the image of “soap,” and the slogan: “the first rule of [Christian] fight club is…”) and occasionally even initiating faith based mixed martial arts competitions.The second area for cultural analysis is the formation of true “masculinity.” As both cultures define true “masculinity” over and against the diminished masculinity in broader American society, both cultures propose that men need to overcome several hindrances to true masculinity common in American society today.Thus both the film “Fight Club” and the evangelical right offer not only a critique of the shortcomings of masculinity in broader American culture but also provide a paradigm for overcoming such shortcomings.If something does not have label that gives it a certain status then most consumers see its use is obsolete.There is a need to constantly have the best new product that is available, even if one already has purchased that need or if it is available for less money at the same quality.In the present paper, we will explore one area of ideological similarity between the movie “Fight Club” and the evangelical right that employs the “Fight Club” metaphor.By drawing upon the cultural semiotic theory of Yuri Lotman, we propose to compare and contrast the form and function of “masculinity” as a cultural symbol in both the film and the evangelical right.Both cultures present the struggle to overcome these cultural constraints as a battle to conquer the self.Finally, both cultures conclude with the assertion that the cause of true masculinity is best served when liberated men become a part of something larger than themselves.The resonances of the cult classic are still sounding as churches across the country adopt the name “Fight Club” for various men’s ministries.These ministries range from simple adoption of the name to assuming much of the language and ethos of the film (e.g., charters across the country, the first rule of Christian fight club is…) to actual mixed martial arts competitions.