Some of my all-time favorite comedic movies include Anchorman and Step Brothers. I quote them daily and each one of them has completely different plots and themes with only one thing in common: the actor, Will Ferrell.
He appears in these movies to be overly enthusiastic and exaggerates every aspect of the character he is playing in a highly masculine manner or as Colin Tait suggests, Will Ferrell embodies the “absurdity of excessive masculinity”. In both of these movies he is a hyper sexual individual that is very inappropriate and degrades women in a way. His behavior is similar to that of a sexist man or a generally stereotypical figure of what men act like in society. He is highly driven by his hormones and does whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. He exemplifies what society used to believe a “real man” is.
While I can’t think of any actor that portrays the same kind of “absurdity of excessive masculinity”, I can think of one that defines masculinity in a different way. Daniel Craig is the man that comes to mind immediately. He is popularly known for his role as “James Bond” in which he plays incredibly masculine roles. Masculinity can be defined as hypersexual or it can be defined as having strength and being fearless in pursuit of protecting his women and taking out the bad guys. Daniel Craig clearly portrays the latter. He is a rugged man that women always fall for because of his rugged masculinity that serves as a sex symbol.
Will Ferrell and Daniel Craig both are good examples of “manly men”, but at the same time they differ dramatically in that they portray different types of masculinity. Will Ferrell plays the roles of child like men that are overly sexual and inappropriate and offensive, while Daniel Craig plays the role of a very classy man that is not afraid to kill and shows no fear of any sort. He is the sort to “laugh in the face of danger” however we all know that the stoic “James Bond” would never laugh at anything at the risk of showing any emotion. Will Ferrell is always comdic in his films and can be sensitive at times, always capable of falling in love, while Daniel Craig is a man that is always after lust and not love. This is also another defining and changing quality of masculinity. In the good old days, men were always seen as capable of love and very gentlemanly, while today, we see several movies that portray men as incapable of love.
As the era changes, the definition of masculinity changes with it. I wonder if in later times if the definition of masculinity will change at all now that the societal definition of “the man” is changing and as gender roles change as well.