‘What A Bummer for the Gooks’: representations of white American masculinity and the Vietnamese in the Vietnam War film genre 1977–87
Abstract:This article discusses how Hollywood’s Vietnam War genre 1977-87 articulated the racial discourses of American imperialism through a masculine/feminine division, considering the emergence of the genre’s sculpted torsos, symbolizing American virility, alongside the political ascendancy of the New Right. A strong, masculinized America reciprocates an effete Vietnam, mobilizing Oriental femininity already present in white imperial discourses. But the anxiety of white America, whose imperial expansion was perceived to begin to decline in Vietnam, expresses itself through ‘soft-bodied’ Americans, vulnerable to Oriental duplicity and sadism. This article emphasizes the interaction of racial and gender discourses, and their role in the remembrance of the Vietnam War.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Exeter
Publication date: 2003-10-01
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