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Hard Bodies, Soft Hearts: Mixed-Race Men as Muscular Daddies in the Films of Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson

  • Andrea Schofield

Abstract

It has been more than twenty years since theorists like Susan Jeffords, Chris Holmlund, and Yvonne Tasker began writing critically about the muscled masculinities of the 1980s and 1990s action/adventure genre and its hard-bodied male stars, and yet these almost impossibly large male specimens are having a resurgence in Western popular culture. Specifically, extremely muscled men appear in a subgenre I term “hard daddy” films, in which they act as unlikely and sometimes unknowing biological fathers, but more often as step-, stand-in, or surrogate fathers to young children. While early examples include Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Kindergarten Cop (1990) and Junior (1994), and Hulk Hogan’s Mr. Nanny (1993), this chapter focuses on twenty-first-century versions of the genre: Vin Diesel’s The Pacifier (2005), and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s The Game Plan (2007), The Tooth Fairy (2010), and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012). Films such as these, undertheorized to date, offer an important contribution to fatherhood studies through their discourses of blended families and postracial stardom, and their valuing of father-daughter—as opposed to more typically rendered father-son—relationships.

Keywords

Football Player Female Character Hegemonic Masculinity Blended Family Game Plan 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Andrea Schofield 2016

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  • Andrea Schofield

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