New forms of masculinity in Western films: The end of the Marlboro Man?
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Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
Blanco-Herrero, D. (David); Rodríguez-Contreras, L. (Laura); Gutiérrez-San-Miguel, B. (Begoña). "New forms of masculinity in Western films: The end of the Marlboro Man?". Communication & Society. 34 (2), 2021, 1 - 14
Westerns are one of the most masculine and stereotypical of film genres. In a social and film context where gender equality is increasingly important, it is worth looking at the evolution of the genre in recent years. Especially because, as André Bazin said, the Western is “cinema par excellence” (1966) and its analysis allows a reflection on cinema itself. Taking the figure of the Marlboro Man as a prototype, this study carries out an analysis of three selected case studies: Brokeback Mountain, Jane Got a Gun and Godless, two films and a miniseries with main characters that do not follow heteronormative masculinity. Ang Lee’s work broke new ground not only in Westerns but also in industrial cinema by making homosexuality visible, while Gavin O’Connor’s showed the possibility of a woman playing the leading role in a classic Western. The miniseries produced by Netflix combines both by giving leading roles to female characters, some of them gay, while reflecting on homosexuality. It was noted that the portrayal of masculinity in Western films remains valid in all three cases, but it allows women and homosexuals to access leading roles, often by acquiring typically masculine attributes.

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