Out Now: Deconstructing the Superhero(villian) Rhetoric

Release of my most recent publication exploring supervillian masculinity in film. 

Title: Deconstructing the Super(hero)villain: Megamind and the Cinematic Representations of Masculinities

Abstract: The archetype of the superhero has long been related to cultural imaginings of masculinity and manhood. As geek culture has become more mainstream, there has been a steady rise in popularity of films featuring superheroes and supervillains. While deconstructions and analyses of superheroes’ masculinity and sexuality are very common, there has surprisingly been little attention paid to supervillains in their own formulations of gender and identity. Common ways of approaching the supervillain have generally been through designations of being a feminised or emasculated Other. However, the supervillain can also be representative of conflicting and new ways of being masculine. This paper moves beyond typical focus on the male superhero, to the supervillain, and dismantle the assumption that he can only be understood as feminised, marginalised, or emasculated. Using Megamind (2010) as a point of analysis, and drawing from sociological conceptions of masculinity, this paper explores the masculine construction of the supervillain in film, and examines the ways such productions not only reflect certain ideals about masculinity and manhood, but are also affirmed, problematised and reimagined. I argue that Megamind’s inversion of the superhero/supervillain narrative links to broader social shifts, anxieties and concerns pertaining to men, masculinity and manhood in Western culture, potentially challenging traditional models in a consumerist, globalised and postfeminist environment. This paper explores how anti-intellectualism, sexuality, vulnerability, and binaries of the material/natural are entangled within complex imaginings of what it means to be a man, and what such entanglements can bring to our understanding of masculinity in the broader sociocultural and political environment.

Link: http://humanjournal.org/issue-6-masculinity-on-film/ 

(To Cite):

Waling, Andrea. (2016). Deconstructing the Super(hero)villain: Megamind and the Cinematic Representations of Masculinities. The Human, Issue 6; 4-21.