Macho, Macho Man

         At some point, everyone has met that macho man that can conquer anything with his fists. Stanley Kowalski is the perfect example of that man. In the 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, and the 1951 film, directed by Elia Kazan, Stanley shows all the masculinity of the perfect "man's man." He is the breadwinner, the head of the household, and he never lets his wife, Stella, stand in his way of anything! While doing this, Stanley neglects his wife's needs and abuses her in many ways.

         In the film, Marlon Brando portrays Stanley Kowalski, and he does an excellent job as a "tough guy." He has the toned and chiseled chest and abdomen, as well as the rebellious attractiveness and gleam in his eyes. It is evident that no one is going to tell him "who's boss."

         On the other hand, take Stanley's wife, Stella (Kim Hunter). Stella stays at home in their humble abode, tending to all of the household duties. She cooks and cleans, all which must be to Stanley's liking. She hardly ever makes a fuss if something dissatisfies her, mostly agreeing with and answering to Stanley.

         Stanley will come home after working all day, expecting supper to be on the table. He hopes that it will be a meal to his liking; otherwise he will throw a huge temper tantrum. After dinner is finished, he will play poker with the guys until the wee hours, getting increasingly drunk as the night goes on. See, Stanley is somewhat of an alcoholic. One evening, Stella asks Stanley if he would please end his poker game because it is very late. In the film, he is so drunk that he demolishes the poker table, making a huge scene.

         These "scenes" that Stanley would make have caused Stella much grief. It has been very embarrassing to her. This alcohol-induced Stanley is not the Stanley that Stella had fallen in love with. She had fallen in love with the loving, kind Stanley that she saw only when he was not drinking.

         The question is does a man have to drink, throw things, hit people, and be in complete control to really be a man? No, he does not. A real man is one who can provide for his family, no questions asked, who is grateful when his wife does things for him, who can respect his wife and family and show them the love they deserve, and who knows the boundary that separates being macho from being a bully. One things for sure, Stanley Kowalski definitely needs some lessons on how to be a real man!

Sarah Poat

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