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Fight Club: Identity, Misrecognition and Maculinity

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Essay title: Fight Club: Identity, Misrecognition and Maculinity


Mass-media has always been an important part of the cultural analysis. And films, as one of the most important aspect of the mass-media, have very much influence both on the shaping of the culture and also on the reflection of culture. It is really difficult to make the exact definition of culture but briefly it can be said that culture is the everything that surrounds people; how they are grown up, how they wear, how they think on exact topics etc. And movies can be very effective on the people of a culture that they can both impose different ideas to people and change the mindset of people and also be very critical about the culture. David Fincher’s movie Fight Club can be considered as a film that reflects the American consumer society, the power of mass-media and the representations of masculinity all of which can be examined through Lacan’s “Mirror Theory” and misrecognition, construction of identity within culture/popular culture and the masculinity within society with references to Stuart Hall’s “Encoding, Decoding” and Jean Baudrillard “The Finest Consumer Object: The Body”.

Lacan’s theory of “Mirror Stage” is about the young child's identification with his own image and it is a stage that occurs anywhere from 6-18 months of age. Mirror Stage concerns the ability of an infant to recognize its own image in mirror, before it is able to speak or have control over its motor skills. The child of that period has not yet mastered its own body and can not control its own movements. It does not see its body as a whole but as fragmented and therefore sees its hand, for instance, and cannot think that it is its hand, the hand could beong to anyone or noone. In the “Mirror Stage” the baby begins to anticipate being whole because it looks the real other as well and sees it as a whole and there occurs a sense of self that the child sees that it looks like what others look like. And in Fight Club, any audience who knows about the Lacan’s theory can easily catch the idea that Tyler is the person whom the narrator sees on the mirror. In other words, Tyler is the misrecognition of the narrator. Like the child who sees handsome, beautiful, people who represent the ideal image on Tv and thinks that the beautiful girl is her, Tyler is also the ideal for the narrator. The narrator who creates the ideal-Tyler- sees him as another person in the beginning but later on realizes that he is the misrecognition, he is the one who he wants to be. When looked from Baudrillard’s perspective, the reason of Tyler’s becoming the ideal is his body. He seems more fit and more handsome than the narrator and seems more strong, and becomes the ideal for the narrator: “[…] if you don’t make your bodily devotions, if you sin by omission, you will be punished. Everything that ails you comes from being culpubly irresposible towards yourself (your own salvation)”(130). As a result, it can be said that Fight Club can be shown as an example to Lacan’s “Mirror Stage “ in terms of misrecognition that Tyler becomes the misrecognition of the narrator because Tyler is more powerful and handsome when compared to the narrator.

Fight Club

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