The Construction of Masculinity in The Matrix

Nóra Koller
2005 Anachronist  
The purpose of this paper is to explore the different modes of the representation of genders in the The Matrix (1999). Depicting a process of initiation and development, the film has for its major objective the production of a solo male protagonist that will fulfil the role of saving humanity from apocalyptic danger. This mission is a commonplace characteristic of films made in the science fiction/cyberpunk genre; the construction of the hero is, however, represented in a unique and
more » ... y way, especially with respect to gender and sexuality, and the phenomenon of masculinity crisis as the basis of identity formation. My claim is that in the formation of both the self and the social - two intertwined processes - performances of masculinities and femininities are determining. As the result of the homogenizing perspective of the film, femininity and masculinity come to be defined as mutually exhaustive categories in order to frustrate the notion of gender as performative. The final ascension of the triumphal, heteronormative masculinity reinforces gender hierarchy, underlining femininity as embodiment. Also, it serves to invalidate the homoeroticism the relationships between male characters are invested with throughout the film.
doi:10.53720/txlm3217 fatcat:dhvrbtxc6jh7lji4a2sjw5dmsu