Beyond boobs and beer: Analysis of masculine rites of passage in the “bro-film” Superbad
Huemmer, Jennifer Ann
MetadataShow full item record
Representations of “ideal” masculinity and the process of achieving that “ideal” in Western culture constantly change to reflect the current social standards. Although recent investigations of film representations of masculinity have identified a new focus on male anxiety and the male psyche, current film research has not explored representations of emerging adult masculinity. The purpose of this study was therefore to identify a current genre of “bro-films” and explore how masculinity is represented within these films. This critical case study of the 2007 American comedy film Superbad uses a textual analysis to identify how the film represents emerging masculinity and the process for achieving an “ideal” masculine status. The results indicate that representations of masculinity in the bro-film Superbad are divided into three categories consistent with Sigmund Freud’s concepts of id, ego and superego. The preferred reading of the film indicates a portrayal of “ideal” masculinity as a white, heterosexual, middle-class male. This is consistent with the power structure established within the boundaries of hegemonic masculinity. The results also indicated that representations of “ideal” masculinity within Superbad were related to alcohol consumption, masculine competition, and heterosexual sex. Future studies could include a study of the satirical representations of masculine authority within the film.