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masculinity

Posted on December 5, 2016

House (1986) and House II (1987) Offer Insight into the Performance of Masculinity

Gwen

I initially delved into these movies with the aim of revisiting some great horror comedy. What I unearthed instead was an instruction manual for becoming a man in the 1980’s. These texts are just as rich with gender ideals as uncovering a 1950s Ladies Home Journal. Within both films I noticed a not so subtle description of what passes for appropriate masculinity. The narratives are different but the trajectory of the leading man is the same. In House, Roger Cobb (William Katt) has to overcome his failures in Vietnam to become man enough to have his family back. Similarly in House II Jesse (Arye Gross) isn’t even worthy enough to have a family until he butches up. Cue up your Betamax and your VHS as we are going to revisit the 1980s version of how to become a man.

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