Masculinity : Male Traits in 1930s Portrayed in Public Enemies

Pita Merdeka, Kusumo Asri Kumoro


This article discusses the masculinity of John Dillinger as the main male character inPublic Enemies Film (2009); directed by Michael Mann, and produced by Universal Pictures. This film is clearly described that men who appear strong, physically attractive, charming, and smart fall into the category of masculine.This study used descriptive qualitative method by using Janet Saltzman Chafetz’s concept of masculinity in seven areas or forms such as the physical image, the function in life, the sexual aggressiveness, the emotion, the intelligence, the personality, and other personality characteristics. In the first part of analysis, the research reveals the characteristics of John Dillinger utilizing Edward Jones’ Characterization theory, before assigning them to the seven areas or forms of Chafetz’s concept of masculinity.The result shows that the main male character,John Dillinger adjusts his characteristics based on the person he interacts with.John Dillinger as the main male character in Public Enemies film defines his position as a man in the society in the 1930s. He plays andtakes a dominant role as a leader for his gang members; his lover, Billie Frechette,by caring, protecting, and supporting them. On the other side, Dillinger is apathetic against the authority. He also takes pride in his reputation, and believes that he can achieve ambitions to be on top of the world.

DOI: 10.15408/insaniyat.v2i2.7814


Masculinity; Characterization; Male Character


Gender,noun, 3b”. Oxford English Dictionary.Web. 22 August 2016.

“John Dillinger: Hero or Criminal?”.Matisak’s Blog (A Stamp on the World).Web. 22 August 2016.

“The Correspondents – Get Inspired By Men’s 1920’s Fashion Style”. Men’s StyleFashion. Web. 22 August 2016.

Alcky, Moch. Rasy.RepresentasiMaskulinitasdalam Film Public Enemies. Bandung, 2013, PDF.

Andriany, Any.The Representation of Masculinity through William James as Main Character in The Hurt Locker Movie. Ciputat, 2011.PDF.

Chafetz, Janet Saltzman. Masculine, Feminine or Human?. Adelaide, Australia: F.E. Peacock Publishers, 1978. EPUB.

Creswell, John W..Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Third Edition. California: Sage Publications, Inc.,2009. PDF.

Ila, ZataAmani. The Masculinity Analysis of Main Character in S1m0ne Film.Ciputat, 2014.PDF.

Jones, Edward H..Outlines of Literature: Short Stories, Novels, and Poems. New York: Macmillan, 1968. PDF.

Kurniawan, Aditia Putra. DinamikaMaskulinitasLaki-Laki in JurnalPerempuan, volume 64. Jakarta Selatan: YJP Press, 2005. PDF.

Levant, Ronald F.; Kopecky, Gini. Masculinity Reconstructed: Changing the Rules of Manhood—At Work, in Relationships, and in Family Life. New York: Dutton, 1995. PDF.

Pendergast, Tom. Horatio Alger Doesn’t Work Here Any More: Masculinity and American Magazines, 1919-1940 in American Studies, volume 38, number 1. 1997. PDF.

Public Enemies.Dir. Michael Mann.Universal Pictures, 2009.MKV.

Rosida, I., &Molalita, M. (2016). The Identity Construction of Jordanian Muslim Woman Reflected in Willow Trees Don’t Weep Novel (2014) by FadiaFaqir. Insaniyat: Journal of Islam and Humanities, 1(1), 41-56.

Rosida, I., &Soraya, A. (2017). Gender Relation in Willow Trees Don’t Weep Novel (2014) by FadiaFaqir: A Feminist Literary Criticism. Insaniyat: Journal of Islam and Humanities, 2(1), 13-28.

Scott, Joan. Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis in The AmericanHistorical Review. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. PDF.

Segal, Edwin S..Cultural Constructions of Gender. New York: Plenum Publisher, 2003. PDF.

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.15408/insaniyat.v2i2.7814


  • There are currently no refbacks.