What is interesting to me about the line of discussion regarding the
Terminator flix is how the fascination with the cyborg body dominates the
discussion of gender/masculinity. Isn't the frame of both these stories
developed around the need to buy time for John Connor, the boy, to grow
into John Connor, the man--also the good father, the warrior, the savior
of "human" (as opposed to machinic) civilization and order?
The film offers us an image of a benevolent patriarch, an idealized image
of human (again not machine) masculinity but throws this image over in
service to the pleasure that the viewer takes in the cyborg's body and
antics. What is interesting to me is that the film is ostensibly about
the cyborg reinforcing humanity's dominance at the top of the food chain.
The *narrative* is intended to reinforce this notion, and yet the
spectacle subverts the narrative frame. Nobody in this discussion, it
seems, has cared to comment, for instance, on how the idealized human is
represented in the form of John Connor because he is basically flat,
bland, and indistinguishable in that role. He, in fact, makes a more
interesting boy than a man, in the few glimpses of his heroic manhood
which we are given.
I wonder what comments about the representations of masculinity can be
gleaned from the tension between spectacle and narrative in this film...?
Just some wandering speculations, no particular conclusions...
University of Oregon
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