Can the Neoliberal Subject Condemn [Him]self?: Locating Masculinity at FOX News in Bombshell
Keywords:Bombshell, Film, Masculinity, FOX News, Gender, Transnational Business Masculinity, Hegemonic Masculinity, Neoliberal
Director Jay Roach’s 2019 film Bombshell draws on a series of real-life sexual allegations against FOX News founder Roger Ailes, depicting the climate in the newsroom and portraying a number of FOX personalities. As a film marketed for mass audiences, it is crucial to question the extent to which the film successfully serves to critique sexism in the FOX News newsroom. The purpose of this paper is thus to examine the portrayal of masculinity and sexism and FOX News in Bombshell. To explore the dynamic of this newsroom, this paper centers on interrogating Bombshell against the notion of a “feminist film”. I first attempt to analyze and locate gendered dynamics within Bombshell, then reflect on portrayed gendered dynamics with reference to the history of FOX News and the way competing masculinities work in the news organization. The FOX News newsroom is unique in the ways varying dynamics of gender manifest within its locale: in front of the camera, a kind of neoconservative “traditionalist” morality and gender order; behind the camera, an “amoral” gender dynamic that aligns with neoliberal free-market principles. I then explore how a gender order is upheld in contradiction, often by the very subjects who are subjected under a masculine-dominant gender order. I question the possibility of any future of gender egalitarianism at FOX News, and conclude by arguing that Bombshell misses the mark in interrogating a gender order, instead problematically framing sexism as chiefly upheld by individuals.
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