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The Death of the Hollywood Alpha-Male

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SOCIONOMICS OF MASCULINITY
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“The alpha man is dying in film, the warrior is dying," actress Michelle Rodriguez (Machete, Avatar, Lost), tells Fox, adding, "Hello geek.” The article is interesting on a number of levels -- science has recently been focused on the apparent decline in masculinity traits, but what I want to focus on is the recognition of the trend itself, which has actually been in place for quite some time, because it suggests we may be nearer its end than the beginning or even halfway through it.

"So, is this shift in Hollywood’s leading men from macho to meek a reflection of a changing society in which women are becoming more independent, earning more money and perhaps don’t want a more dominant partner?," the article asks? "It could be so, according to an article published earlier this year by the Wall Street Journal, based on studies by FaceResearch.org, the online psychology laboratory of the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. The study concluded that the majority of the 4,800 female participants were more attracted to the more feminine-featured males."

The explanation from science follows this arc: "“In America today, we’re seeing a lot more boys disconnected with their own sense of masculinity, due in large part due to higher divorce rates, dad’s working longer hours – the strong father figure is often not around and that’s why the ‘geek’ has become much more mainstream,” explained psychiatrist Dr. Paul Dobransky, author of “Masculinity Code.”"

But the blurring of gender lines is a trait that Socionomics has found is associated with bear markets and downturns in social mood. Bob Prechter's 1985 study on cultural expressions of social mood trends found that during periods of falling transition sexual images focus on "feminine" caring men and "masculine" liberated women. Blurred gender roles, even an exchanging of roles, is also characteristic of peak negative social mood trends. This can also be expressed culturally via popular music and the images that come into favor during periods of falling transition and peak negativity. Think of the New York Dolls and David Bowie's experimentation with gender during the early 1970s.

But where exactly are we in this trend? If some Elliott Wave forecasters are correct, the scale is of such magnitude that we are still very early in the falling transition. But what if their interpretation of scale is incorrect? It's important to consider, because observations suggest we may be pretty well advanced. After all, by the time the Death of the Alpha-Male makes it into the mainstream news media, the trend by definition is fairly advanced.

As early as August 2009, the New York Times was observing blurred gender roles in the Style and Fashion sections. That's the "man corset" on the left.



From February 15: "A mannish suit, worn with a bolero budding with roses, sent a clear message at the start of Diane von Furstenberg’s show: women can be masculine and feminine at the same time."

And this article, from November 2009, noted, "It's All a Blut to Them": “There is a whole transition of men getting into women’s wear. It used to be that the people who did it were just the edgier ones. Now it’s much more common.”

In film, actor Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Juno, Superbad) is perhaps the poster man-child of the new geek hero. Yet, this is where things get even more interesting: There's a Michael Cera backlash that has been brewing for more than a year now.

"When did it go wrong for Michael Cera? Once upon a time, he was the hippest comic actor in the room, yet to judge from the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World box office, the audience has turned on him," observed Movie Line recently. Others have piled on as well.

Finally, while the success of the recent Stallone movie, "The Expendables," featuring almost all the strong male action heroes ever to have appeared in a film might be viewed as the last gasp of the Alpha-Male hero, it might also be indicative of the geek hero trend finally having reached exhaustion and viewers reconsidering and turning back toward the former action heroes of the last bull market.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.

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