The Revenant offers up the epitome of macho endurance – through brute force and unwavering determination, DiCaprio survives extreme temperatures, near exhaustion and even a bear attack.
This form of masculinity, one of almost archaic manliness, was dominant a few years ago, but now we are seeing manliness expressed in many different forms. This is something that is evident within the film category alone. The Danish Girl, released just weeks apart from The Revenant tells the story of a man who embarks on a very different journey. In his quest to become a woman, Einar Wegener displays unwavering bravery and determination: qualities often deemed masculine.
Quite simply, the boundaries around what we perceive to be ‘masculine’ are changing, and brands are taking note. Lynx’s new superbowl advert highlights that a man’s most attractive is playing to his own strengths, rather than attempting to fit into a single form of masculinity. Louis Vuitton have also raised questions about what it means to be masculine, by putting Jaden Smith at the forefront of their most recent ad campaign for women’s clothing.
The release and box office success of The Revenant proves that brute manliness is still a prevalent way for masculinity to be expressed. But when the film is put into the context of wider culture, it’s clear that this is just one of many guises that masculinity can take. In this ever-shifting world brands have the freedom to connect with the ‘masculine’ in many different ways.