31 Comments on “Men In Pop Culture – Then And Now

  1. We do appear to live in the age of the competent beta male. I read a little while ago that some media seems designed to get its back on straight men. interesting idea.

  2. The only good thing about young men having beta role models is it gives an advantage to us older men who don’t kiss ass/pedestalize women like 90% of the young men out there do. We become even more appealing to young women as a result (i.e. tingles).

  3. I thought I was the only one who seen this pattern. I understand that cultures shift and evolve but a man should still be a man. Even though its all entertainment after the fact but nowadays men on TV are soft! Then they force feed sympathetic “villains” like Walter White in your brain when in he old days a guy like Bruce Willis would break his face in, smoke a cigarette and walk away. So yes times have changed.

  4. Where’s Vin Diesel and The Rock in men in pop culture now?

    It’s about prevalence. Who’s more prevalent, the Rock or Homer Simpson?

  5. It’s about prevalence. Who’s more prevalent, the Rock or Homer Simpson?

    Homer Simpson without a doubt. However, The Rock seems more prevalent than Shrek to me.

    Not that it matters. The fact that we’re having a debate over including at least one alpha male on the “Men…Now” list supports the overall point – they simply aren’t as well represented today as they were back then. 🙁

  6. Homer Simpson without a doubt. However, The Rock seems more prevalent than Shrek to me.

    The Shrek films are within the top ten highest-grossing box office movies in all of human history. Dwayne Johnson doesn’t hold a candle to that.

    I really did give some thought and research as to who I included in the pictures.

  7. There’s still confirmation bias here: you’re comparing action movie icons of yesteryears to clowns/comedians of the current era.

    I’d argue that “This is Sparta!” has just as much moxie behind it as “I’ll be back, Bennett!” 😉

  8. There’s still confirmation bias here

    Of course there is. There’s confirmation bias in everything human beings do, including hard statistics. If you want robotic perfection as I make valid points, my apologies as that is beyond my ability. 🙂

    you’re comparing action movie icons of yesteryears to clowns/comedians of the current era.

    Yes, because the clowns have become primary and mainstream. For example: Who were the main characters from the biggest cartoons of the 80s? Optimus Prime, Duke (G.I. Joe), He-Man. Who are the main characters from the biggest cartoons now? Peter Griffin, Homer Simpson (maybe Bart Simpson too). Who was the president in the 80s? Who is the president now? It’s not like I’m hunting very hard to make my point, nor need to.

    You may not like how I make the point, but the point is an easy one to make.

  9. How does an alpha male drive?

    Weird but awesome question.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I haven’t had a speeding ticket, or any kind of ticket, in 13 years. I also haven’t been in a car accident (that was my fault) since I was a teenager.

  10. That’s cool, but remember Reagan was a fake cowboy. Nothing Manly about him, everything about him was fake especially the myth of prosperity during his time, or conservative principles.

  11. Haha…you’re letting your emotions and biases interfere with you. You don’t like that I used Reagan because you don’t like Reagan. That’s fine; I don’t like him either, but you don’t have to like him, you just need to compare him to Obama in terms of alpha/beta and/or masculine/pussy. (And no, I’m not going to get into a political discussion, especially considering I can’t stand either president.)

  12. So, with very few exceptions, you’re comparing sex symbols from the 80’s to comic relief characters from the present day. And I don’t buy that you’re going off sheer prevalence- some of the present day examples are outdated, and two I don’t recognize. And you’re skipping right over the issue of whether any of these men are being held up as role models, or as examples of what not to do.

  13. So, with very few exceptions, you’re comparing sex symbols from the 80′s to comic relief characters from the present day. And I don’t buy that you’re going off sheer prevalence- some of the present day examples are outdated, and two I don’t recognize. And you’re skipping right over the issue of whether any of these men are being held up as role models, or as examples of what not to do.

    Eye carumba, did you not read my comments above?

    Okay, how about this: Instead of making arguments against how I’m making my point (which I keep shooting down anyway), why don’t you try to make an argument against my actual point.

    If anyone has the following opinion: That there are more masculine, Alpha Male type characters in mainstream pop culture of equal or greater popularity and prevalence now than in the 1970s or 1980s, then state your position, and back it up (if you can), and let’s have that discussion.

    I can’t wait!

  14. @Dean: Sure, Bruce would beat up Walter…then a couple of days later he would die of ricin poison, or die in some kind of explosion, or would get killed by some hitman. Walter White is awesome. And Jack Sparrow is a great character too. Call it beta if you want, but some times I prefer to watch the hero winning by outsmarting his enemies rather than just by having the biggest muscles.

    Also, I kind of agree with the fact that male characters used to be more masculine back then, but I would still say you are cherry picking way too much. Where is Wolverine, or Batman, or the blonde guy from american pie who fucks everyone? These are much more popular than some of the characters in the second set of pics, some of which I dont even recognize.

  15. I agree with the overall sentiment. But to nitpick (just for fun), cartoonwise, you’re comparing prime-time show characters to saturday-morning show characters that were specifically targeted towards boys.

    Naturally the modern prime time characters are going to be beta, as they need to appeal to the female demographic. (As 90% of non-sports TV does anyway.)

  16. to nitpick (just for fun), cartoonwise, you’re comparing prime-time show characters to saturday-morning show characters that were specifically targeted towards boys.

    Naturally the modern prime time characters are going to be beta, as they need to appeal to the female demographic.

    Do you really believe Simpsons and Family Guy’s primary demographic is females? Is that the target audience they had mind when they created these shows, and when they continue to write for these shows?

    Much of this nitpicking is proving my point for me.

  17. @Dean But I think Walter White is a good alpha character. He started off beta, but he evolved into an alpha. He walks, speaks, moves differently, down to the way he looks at other people. I think we can learn a thing or 2 just by contrasting old Mr. White and Heisenberg Mr. White.

  18. Those muscle men of yore have been over taken by MMA champs and get tough brutes. But we should not forget that Einstein and Woody Allen did well enough with women too.

  19. Yh that dad from modern family makes me cringe. Anyway, I grew up with Dragon Ball Z and that beats everything on your list 🙂

  20. reagan was fucking awesome. I opposed almost every position he espoused but the man was a communication genius. Bill Clinton:another genius. Obama is a Harvard weenie. Urkle incarnate.

    Everything about a man getting younger girls is about confidence and frame. Even an out of shape bald 50 year old can pull more girls than a 25 year old man, as long as the 50 y/o has confidence. Age is a small issue for men. I am 50 years, I am not a tall man. But I have plenty of interest from the under 30 crowd of women. It’s really not that hard to do.

  21. BD, This post has a great concept.. but way to on the bias side for me. Yes pop icons have gotten slightly more feminine as betaization becomes more mainstream, but not to this extent.

    In your era there we’re many (just not as much as there are now) un-alpha Pop culture icons in mainstream media.

    “The KING of pop” Michael Jackson
    “Prince” The King of Pops Predecessor
    Boy George
    Paul Young

    Just off the top of my head.. Those ring any bells? If only I had any pics to show how feminine these boys we’re.

    Betaization didn’t just begin in the 80’s – which is what this large contrast of characters assumes..

    So yeah, you got a point – but it’s not that big of a slant from then to now.

  22. I agree that an apples to apples comparison would be more effective.

    Sean Connery vs Daniel Craig?

    Arnold vs Dwayne Johnson?

    William Shatner vs Chris Pine?

    Clint Eastwood vs Liam Neeson?

    Tom Selleck vs Mark Walberg? – I’m 28 and have no idea whom best to compare with Walberg.

    Compare and see if we’ve pussified/toned down the alpha in our action heroes (probably).

    As for prevelence: “Fired up. Just named FORBES TOP GROSSING ACTOR OF 2013 ($1.3 billion)” – Dwayne Johnson. That’s total $$ his movies made. I’d say there is hope.

  23. Funny, I recently broke down all the main Star Trek franchise main characters by “alpha” and “beta”. My instinct originally was Picard was beta, but I realized later he’s alpha as fuck (with a strong emotional undercurrent). Maybe I was thrown off because of the UBER alpha Riker being second in command.

  24. My placement of the first two series:

    TOS:
    -Kirk: alpha
    -Bones: alpha
    -Spock: sigma
    -Scotty: beta
    -Sulu: beta
    -Chekov: beta

    TNG:
    -Picard: alpha (an emotional one, deep down)
    -Riker: ALPHA
    -Worf: sigma
    -LaForge: beta
    -Data: beta
    -Barclay: omega

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