Kind, spontaneous and devoid of muscles: does Timothée Chalamet embody the masculinity of tomorrow? That’s what stands for Aline Laurent Mayardjournalist and author specializing in the genre, in her latest essay
Freed from masculinity – How Thimothée Chalamet made me believe in the new man (JC Lattes, 2022). For the author, it is important to rethink masculinity today because: “We are in a phase where we are trying to rebuild. It is all very well to say that gender-based and sexual violence against women sucks, but what are we doing? These actors show what could be a new way of experiencing masculinity.”
Morning Mood by Guillaume Erner
Far from the image of the bad boy
For decades, cinema has offered us mostly the same type of man to embody the masculine: muscle, courage, control, virility and sometimes violence. “If we think for example of the heyday of Hollywood, we have men who all looked alike, analyzes Aline Laurent-Mayard. Straight, square-shouldered and square-jawed, they stand very straight and are always soberly dressed. Ideally, they also had to look a bit macho, talk little, not express their feelings, look self-sufficient, which makes the feelings at the interior explode. Result: we have associated a lot with the great actors of the 20th century with risky behavior: driving fast, consuming alcohol, and drugs as well of course.
In his book Freed from masculinity, Aline Laurent-Mayard analyzes this toxic masculinity but above all, she highlights the role of popular actor like Chalamet who teaches us how to be a man differently.
2021. The turning point “Dune”
According to the gender specialist, there is one moment in particular that marked this revival: “
Dune was a highly anticipated film adaptation in the science fiction world, where the majority of the public is male, even masculinist. Usually, in sci-fi movies, the hero represents masculinity well. And there,
director Denis Villeneuve chose Timothée Chalamet, a “weak” actor. That is to say that all of a sudden, we said to ourselves that the savior of humanity did not need to have the physique of Bruce Willis.
In Dunes, released in 2021, there is even an explicit reference to this lack of muscles of the hero during a brief exchange with actor Jason Momoa who makes a joke about it.
“With Chalamet, we are more about a character who thinksresumes the specialist, he is someone who will be very attentive, close to women. Finally, this film reminds us of the reality: at the present time, muscles are no longer of much use. Apart from a few professions in which they are still useful. But if we’re going to save the planet from a fungus that turns us into zombies or global warming, we don’t need muscles.”
Timothée Chalamet frees himself from codes
Also on the red carpets of festivals around the world, Timothée Chalamet embodies another model of masculinity, says Aline Laurent-Mayard: “The specificity of Chalamet is a physical expression that goes beyond classic masculinity. He wears outfits that until now were offside for men: jewelry, satin clothes or even fitted cuts at the waist for example.
Of course, before Chalamet, other stars had questioned this model:
Frank Sinatraby his slim silhouette, Elvis, Presley by his famous game of hips on stage, or even
david bowie by her make-up and her androgynous allure. And even sometimes by their kindness as the reputation of a Tom Hanks or a Keanu Reeves proves. “But it was never shown as something sexy, worthwhile for a maninsists the essayist. Apart from being ultra popular, especially with young people, Timothée Chalamet, Tom Holland and Harry Styles have in common to talk about their feelings. Without having to say: “I claim my femininity, and the fact of consulting a shrink or writing my thoughts in a notebook when things are going badly. I claim to have women as mentors, to listen to women of all age. Timothée Chalamet, for example, maintains friendships with 60-year-old actresses. Claiming this kind of thing is a very new phenomenon.”
If Timothée Chalamet embodies a new way of being a man and can be an example to the youngest him, Harry Styles and Tom Holland are not heroes either, warns Aline Laurent-Mayard: “We are witnessing a reconfiguration of masculinity: perhaps that embodied by Chalamet and others will become the norm. But maybe in 20 years, we will have seen all the limits of this way of being a man and we will still hope for something new. This is a necessary phase if we want to overcome patriarchy, but it is not the final stage. We will always have to continue to act.”
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Timothée Chalamet, the future of masculinity