1st Edition

American Masculinities in Contemporary Documentary Film Up Close Behind the Mask

By Sara Martín Copyright 2023

    Most documentaries deal with men, but what do they actually say about masculinity? In this groundbreaking volume Sara Martín analyses more than forty 21st-century documentaries to explore how they represent American men and masculinity.

    From Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s The Mask You Live In to Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, this volume explores sixteen different faces of American masculinity: the good man, the activist, the politician, the whistleblower, the criminal, the sexual abuser, the wrongly accused, the dependent man, the soldier, the capitalist, the adventurer, the sportsman, the architect, the photographer, the musician, and the writer. The collective portrait drawn by the documentaries discloses a firm critical stance against the contradictions inherent in patriarchy, which makes American men promises of empowerment it cannot fulfill. The filmmakers’ view of American masculinity emphasizes the vulnerability of disempowered men before the abuses of the patriarchal system run by hegemonic men and a loss of bearings about how to be a man after the impact of feminism, accompanied nonetheless by a celebration of resilient masculinity and of the good American man.

    Firmly positioning documentaries as an immensely flexible, relevant tool to understand 21st-century American men and masculinity, their past, present, and future, this book will interest students and scholars of film studies, documentary film, American cultural studies, gender, and masculinity.

    Introduction. The Man Behind the Mask; PART I . VALUES; Chapter 1. The Good Man; Chapter 2. The Activist; Chapter 3. The Politician; Chapter 4. The Whistleblower; PART II. DAMAGE; Chapter 5. The Murderer; Chapter 6. The Child Abuser; Chapter 7. The Wrongly Accused; Chapter 8. The Dependent Man;PART III. ACTION; Chapter 9. The Soldier; Chapter 10. The Capitalist; Chapter 11. The Adventurer; Chapter 12. The Sportsman; PART IV. ART; Chapter 13. The Architect; Chapter 14. The Musician; Chapter 15. The Photographer; Chapter 16. The Writer


    Sara Martín is Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Cultural Studies at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. Dr Martín specializes in Gender Studies, particularly Masculinities Studies, which she applies to the study of popular fictions in English (both print and film), with an emphasis on science fiction and, secondarily, horror and fantasy.