Narcos and Traditional Masculinity

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Narcosand Traditional Masculinity

Narcosand Traditional Masculinity

So,what truly makes a man? What exactly is masculinity? Well, it is theopinion of Edwards (2006) that Masculinity can be defined as thetendencies, norms, and cultural practices that are normallyassociated with males. These tendencies are traditionally believed tobe inherent and natural in the male species. As the author continuesto explain, the motif of Western masculinity is one that portrays aman as a leader, patriarch, breadwinner, and protector/defender.Moreover, Connell (2005) also notes that Western (traditional)masculinity displays men as possessing traditional traits likedominance, strength, aggression, and stoic. Undoubtedly, the theme ofWestern masculinity is embodied and communicated through differentavenues like (but not limited to) film, music, and sports. Throughsuch media, we make sense of how individuals from differenttraditions understand the concept of manliness (Visero, 2002). Thisessay is an analysis of how the Western (traditional) masculinenarrative is brought out by the American film Narcos.

Narcosis a film that exhibits many elements that highlight the motif oftraditional masculine narrative. Moylan (2015) points out thatNarcos’storyline itself is a representation of traditional manliness.Bearing in mind that Narcosis built upon the life stories of Pablo Escobar and Steve Murphy, Ican confidently say that this specific component wraps up the overalltraditional masculine narrative of the film. According to Connell(2005), one of the traditional traits of a Western man is dominancemirrored by the dominance of these two characters in the general plotof Narcos.Additionally, Pablo is a very prosperous and respected business manin Medellin. Notwithstanding the fact that he is a kingpin, Pablo isbestowed with great respect from high ranking government officials inthe governments of the United States and Colombia. Echoing words ofEdwards (2006), Pablo’s manliness is acknowledged by prominentgovernment officials because of his untamed strength, stoic,dominance, and aggression. Clearly, this is an imagery of the motifof traditional masculinity.

Thesecond storyline representation of traditional masculinity emanatesfrom the centring of the film on Steve Murphy. Working closely withJavier Pena and other U.S. DEA agents, Steve succeeds to track downand kill the “untouchable” Pablo Escobar (Moylan, 2015). Steve’striumph over Pablo Escobar is a representation of Steve’smasculinity. A traditional masculine narrative is brought out byportraying Steve as strong, stoic, and an aggressive defender of thepolicies of the United States. His inherent trait of manliness as agood DEA leader is what makes his trip to Colombia a success. Per se,this mirrors the motif of traditional masculinity. Intrinsically, aclear pattern of storyline representation emerges. Pablo Escobar isdepicted as the villain whereas Steve Murphy is conflictingly giventhe role of the hero. Although Narcosfollows the lives of Pablo Escobar and Steve Murphy as the dominantcharacters, they are differently contrasted.

InNarcos,the theme of traditional maleness is also brought out when malemembers of the M-19 kidnap Martha Ochoa. The male members of the M-19maliciously pick on Martha as a soft target simply because she is afemale (The, 2016). The M-19 could abduct younger malemembers of the Ochoa family, but then they decide to abduct Marthabecause she is a woman and therefore, cannot fight back in defence.The M-19 bring into the picture, the motif of traditional maleness byemploying their strength and aggression to dominate over and leadMartha (Connell, 2005).

Ashort while after moving to Colombia, Steve Murphy sends Helena, afemale Colombian agent to perform reconnaissance in a drug lord’smeeting. However, The (2015) notes that Helena is in themeeting as a commercial sex worker just like all the other women.When the meeting is over, some of the kingpins retire to an apartmentwhere Helena is repetitively raped by all the male members in theroom. These men gang-rape Helena while whipping and burning her withcigarette butts. Helena’s sexual harassment is another illustrationof the motif of traditional masculinity as brought out in Narcos.The male members invite ladies to their meetings so that they cangratify their sexual desires. Echoing Visero’s (2002) words, themotif of traditional masculinity is brought out by these men’ssolicitation of their stoic, aggression, leadership skills, andstrength to sexually dominate over Helena.

Inthe course of engaging in the mass production of cocaine, PabloEscobar and Cockroach seek for ways and means of getting the drugacross the Colombian border and into the United States. Initially,Pablo Escobar and Cockroach used various means to transport theirprecious cargo. However, all their tricks are unearthed after aprominent Colombian police constable reports their ingenious deceitsto higher authorities following a disagreement on “unsettledpayments.” What do they do next? Pablo and Cockroach decide to getinvolved with human trafficking of cocaine. Specifically, they decideto target pregnant women for the reason that they have swollentummies (, 2015). In this regard, Pablo and his entouragesingle out many pregnant women who get paid once they deliver thedrugs to different drug kings in the United States. In the film,there is a lady who dies after pellets of cocaine open in her tummy.

Judgingby this instance, it becomes apparent that Pablo and his cliqueperceive of women as mere items. When the lady dies transportingdrugs for Pablo his clique, they do absolutely nothing for her. As amatter of fact, the death of this lady is what drives Connie Murphy(Steve’s wife), to joining him in defending the rights of womenagainst being used as drug hauliers (The, 2016). Fromthis point of perspective, it would be benign to argue that the motifof traditional masculinity is clearly represented when Pablo Escobarand his entourage use their strength, aggression, stoic, andresources to dominate over the ladies that transport their drugs. Mentake the role of “leader” in this scenario. Even in death, thedrug lords express their manliness by not being moved by the death ofa mere “female transporter.”

Narcosis a true-life story fixated on the life of the notorious Colombiankingpin Pablo Escobar with Steve Murphy (a DEA agent) as thenarrator. Narcosis film that narrates all the cat-and-mouse games between SteveMurphy as a DEA agent and Pablo Escobar as a drug kingpin. Beforeindulgence in the production and supply of cocaine, Pablo Escobar isan illegal goods dealer. After meeting Cockroach, both men decide toventure into the drugs business which forms the “meat” of thefilm. There are many themes exhibited in Narcos,but this essay has shed light on the theme of traditionalmasculinity. This traditional maleness motif is clearly presentedright from the plot itself because it is focused on the lives of twokey characters Pablo Escobar and Steve Murphy who happen to be male.

Additionally,the motif of traditional masculinity is brought out by the fashion inwhich the male members of Pablo’s entourage treat women. Women aretreated as “lesser” human beings because they are the prostitutesin drug meetings they are the “dogs” that transport cocaine.Also, the M-16 abducts Martha for the soft target she is as a woman.Thus, the motif of traditional masculinity narrative is evidentlyrepresented in Narcos.It is significant that this pattern has emerged because it is a truereflection of how women used to be treated then by their malecounterparts. Women used to be looked down upon in the 70’s, aconcept that has changed in the 21stcentury thanks to enlightenment.


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Connell,Raewyn. Masculinities.Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2005.

Edwards,Thomas. Culturesof Masculinity.New York: Routlege Publishers, 2006.

IMDb.&quotPlot Summary.&quot IMDb. 2015. Accessed August 23, 2016.

Moylan,Brian. &quotNarcos: History Turned Netflix Drama Traces PabloEscobar`s Rise to Power.&quot The Guardian. 2015. Accessed August26, 2016.

TheSpoilist. &quotNarcos: Failing Female Characters – The Spoilist.&quot 2015. Accessed August 23, 2016.

Visero,Robert. Menand Masculinity.Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002.

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