Masculinity = Muscles?

“I’m gonna punch you in the ovary, that’s what I’m gonna do. A straight shot. Right to the babymaker.” – Will Ferrell in Anchorman

This quote is just one of the many ridiculous things Will Ferrell says. In a recent article, Colin Tait implies that Will Ferrell embodies the “absurdity of excessive masculinity”. He defines “absurdity of excessive masculinity” where the male protagonist depict man-children who haven’t grown up or are stuck in some sort of state of adolescent sexuality or man-child-ness. He argues that Ferrell’s appeal is his willingness to go beyond traditional notions of male power and stereotype in order to destabilize these concepts. For example, we normally see masculinity as big-muscled football watching, weight-lifting manly man. But in Ferrell’s case, his masculinity is depicted by a man-child who throws tantrums, says ridiculous and offensive jokes… and wears tight pants. Furthermore, his image is absurd from a traditional point of view and is highly portrayed in his roles like Anchorman and Elf.

Steve Carell also portrays this absurdity. He also portrays many roles that are childish and offensive. He played in the movie Anchorman along with Will Ferrell and both have similar characters. In the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin, Carell plays this ridiculous unconventional virgin who tries to loose his virginity. Carell’s character in The 40 Year Old Virgin and The Office also don’t fit into the normal masculinity ideal like Ferrell, both characters are nerdy and do ridiculous things. However, the difference between Ferrell and Carell is that Ferrell’s humor is more offensive and crude whereas Carell is more sarcastic and implied.

Source: Anne Helen Peterson


2 thoughts on “Masculinity = Muscles?

  1. I feel that steve Carell does really exempify the role of “excessive absurd masculinity” especially through his roles in the 40 Year Old Virgin and in Anchorman. In Anchorman he does exemplify the ridiculousness of the “child-man”. the role that he plays in that movie is very awkward and childlike. In the 40 year old vigin he plays a similar childlike role of a man who never grew up and is just ridiculous in his role beacuse he stilll hold onto childish hobbies to cope with his lack of a relationship.
    In Crazy Stupid Love he plays a more traditional father role and Ryan Gostling plays the absurd masculine role.

  2. I think you’re right on when you say that Carrell is more sarcastic and implied in his absurd excessive masculinity than offensive and crude like Ferrell. I personally prefer Carrell’s comedy to Ferrell’s. In terms of their star image and fame however, I think they are both equally appreciated for their representations on-screen. I also think it’s nice that Carell took on a different role in Crazy, Stupid, Love and obviously it was a successful hit. It added to his star image. I wonder if Will Ferrell were to do a role like that, what would happen, and how exactly his star image would alter. I think people would appreciate a role like that from him.

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