Breaking Bad’s Walter White Facing Masculinity


Violence, agression, sex, wealth is all associated with the ultimate power which men try to achieve. The situation with Walter White exemplifies the keypoints of Michael Kimmel’s article. Walter White is a middle-aged high-school chemistry teacher who never acquired the true respect and reputation for his work and after he learnt that he has cancer, he rolled up his sleeves to gain billions of dollars for his family’s future through producing methanphetamine. In his struggle for making billions, we witness the portrayal of a masculin-to-be man trying to carry the burden of his new job.

For example, Walter kept his silence at all times before he received the bad news of cancer and he still managed to be tranquil because his fear of being unable to leave behind a great deal of legacy to his family became the primary source for his silence.

Another time when we undoubtedly accept Walter’s masculinity is when he learns that he has cancer, he decides to make love to his wife in an aggresive, manly and adventurous way. Because that way of sexually satisfying himself is what a man should do according to popular culture police.

His willingness to fight against one of the most notorious drug dealers is another way to boost the hypermasculinity and hegemonic masculinity in men. That drive for domination is closely connected to his lack of fear and manliness because it is what the manipulative society reinforces as being powerful and macho.

“It’s a cruel world, grow up!” – Saul Goodman

“When you have children, you always have family. They will always be your priority, your responsibility. And a man, a man provides. And he does it even when he’s not appreciated or respected or even loved. He simply bears up and he does it. Because he’s a man.” –Gus Fring

The quotes, especially the latter one, shows that being in control and providing for family’s needs is often encouraged and emphasized from the beginning of puberty until retirement. A man feels himself responsible of earning enough salary to provide to his family. However, a family should be neither a patriarchal or matriarhal foundation, both parents should contribute and share the responsibility. In Walter White’s case, his prolonged abscence of power led him to become more masculine through embracing the responsibility of being the breadwinner.


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