Popular Culture

by AhmedElshabory on February 17, 2017 - 9:17pm

 Breaking bad a famous television show for its plot around protagonist Walter White, a chemistry teacher diagnosed with stage III Cancer. Walter is given two years to live, he decides to use his chemistry experience to make, and sell crystal meth with one of his former students to secure money for his family’s future. Walter is portrayed as a man committing crimes as a solution to difficult life circumstances. He is the main source of income at home, works to provide for his family.  Knowing the struggles his wife and child will go through. This is an example of media socially constructing society’s perception on gender roles. Gender perspectives play a large role in crimes. One thing that influences it is statistics for example types of crime and the variance, who the crime is mostly inflicted on. This creates a general bias amongst law enforcement to listen and care for the women’s needs.  Men are statistically more likely to commit crimes than women as discussed in lecture readings.  The message this creates about gender expectations is men are more likely to be partaking in more serious crimes such as drug dealing, murder, robbery, etc. While women are less likely to committee thee crimes as their job is to nurture.  In the show Walter’s accomplice is his former student which happens to be male. When it comes to crime women are usually accomplices to robberies as they lure men who are weak and vulnerable into the hands of the robber who is a male. Society is surprised whenever a woman commits a serious crime such as murder and label the women’s actions as masculine behavior.  Women are expected to commit smaller offences than men such as theft, and are usually not repeated offenders. Men are mostly the offenders in movies, and television shows as society has expects more serious crimes from men. Men committee serious crimes due to factors such as ego. Men try to impress women which most of the time causes violence.  There has been an ongoing debate on why men are more violent than women. From physiological view, men have developed aggressive behaviors passed down from decades to modern time. The sociological view on why men are more violent than women is due social inequality between both sexes. Both are interesting views that helps people understand different perspectives on men’s violence.


Male violence is a pertinent topic to cover, and your example of Breaking Bad nicely depicts this issue. You also bring up various relevant information on gender expectations and effectively compare how male are expected to act versus their female counterparts. Indeed, as you noted, the frequency of crimes committed by men is directly correlated with gender roles, perspectives, and norms set by society. As women are required to be passive, quiet, and nurturing, socialization of men is in fact triggered by something called the “man box.” (Feel free to take a look at the link below; it is an interesting article written by Mark Greene which thoroughly explains the reality of the “man box” and the plethora of consequences related to it.) From a very young age, boys are conditioned and pressured to adhere to the strict demands of the patriarchal world. Masculinity is synonym to big, tough, strong, powerful, intimidating, dominant, and aggressive. As young boys grow up, they realize they have no choice but to remain within the boundaries of the “man box,” for fear of being punished and rejected by their pairs and society. According to this perspective of masculinity, to be a man also means to strip oneself of emotions because “to feel” is associated with weakness and femininity. As the article suggests, this repression of emotions is also an important factor that can lead to male aggressive behaviors. Thus, the socially constructed concept of “man box” is undoubtedly a direct cause of male violence and of the significant increase of crimes committed by men like Walter White.

“The Man Box: The Link Between Emotional Suppression and Male Violence” by Mark Greene:

Interesting article and I enjoyed how you were able to incorporate “Breaking Bad”. It was clearly able to illustrate how men are supposed to act, and the certain criteria they have to fit in, in today’s society; being dominant, patriarchal, the bread winners, etc. These are examples of characteristics of the “Man Box”, which is the idea of how all men should act if they want to be seen as masculine. They cannot show emotion, can’t be weak, etc. or else they will be called discriminatory names (usually related to being feminine) and will not accepted by society. Men so desperately fight to stay in the “Man Box” which can then lead to violent or criminal acts, similarly to Walter White. Even though he is sick, he can’t show his suffering and must keep a strong front for his family, which continues to enforce the idea of patriarchy. Ever since men are young, the “Man Box” has continuously been enforced in their life, even if it is unconsciously. If a boy is hurt and crying he is told to “man up”, little boys are also given toys of soldiers and superhero’s, all strong/buff men, usually saving a woman in distress. By watching films of superhero’s or even just playing with them, men are always the ones saving the day and it is usually with the use of violence. Not only does this continue to reinforce inequality between men and women but it also sends the message that violence is the only method asserting your dominance and masculinity.
Here is an article on “The Man Box” that you might find interesting: “Escape the ‘Act Like a Man’ Box” by Charlie Glickman https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/megasahd-escape-the-act-like...

Your article clarifies the issue concerning social construct perceptions of gender roles. I find your article easily comprehensive and really interesting. Relating the issue to "Breaking Bad" allows your article to appeal as more unique and fun to read. For many years, men and women have been expected to conform to certain social expectations such as the distinguished roles between men and women. Women are considered as inferior to men. They are labeled as emotional, physically weak and irrational. Therefore, women who show masculine behaviour are criticized. Walter White and his student happen to be men, which proves that gender plays a big role in crime. It is so rare that women commit such actions, and if so, they are judged and it is perceived as unacceptable. It is socially acceptable for men to act up verbally and physically violent when necessary. On the other hand, men are expected to be in control of political, economic, religious, social and familiar power. This is known as patriarchy. Hegemonic masculinity is a type of masculinity that dominates our society, it encourages male dominance and male power. Moreover, the “man box” that men conform to helps you further comprehend how men are expected to behave. If a man conforms to characteristics outside the man box he is considered weak. (Here is a link to what the “man box” is: http://tokiscool.blogspot.ca/2012/03/man-box.html)