the fire these times

53. Masculinity in Pop Culture: The Toxic and the Subversive


This episode was first published for monthly Patreon supporters. To become a monthly Patreon supporter, please click here. For other ways of supporting, including one-off donations, please click here.


This is a conversation with Jonathan McIntosh who runs the Pop Culture Detective Agency, the video essay series focusing on the intersections of masculinity, politics and entertainment. He was also a producer and co-writer on the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games YouTube video series created and hosted by Anita Sarkeesian.

You don’t have to watch his videos before listening to this  episode, but I think you’ll find it more informative if you do so first. At least the ones referenced below.

As the title suggests, this was largely a conversation about masculinity in pop culture. We spoke about the Big Bang Theory, Steven Universe, the character of Newt Scamander (of the Fantastic Beasts film series, but only the 1st movie), Stranger Things and Star Wars. So, you know, usual spoilers alert. We also spoke about one of the most dangerous fictional characters of recent years: Donald Trump.

Although Jonathan’s work focuses on Western and especially American movies and TV series, the episode is structured to highlight common tropes that are present throughout the world. After all, it is quite difficult to ignore the influence of Hollywood on movies throughout the world, not that other film industries are necessarily better or worse when it comes to unhealthy masculinity tropes.

Photo of Steven Universe taken from ‘notKiller’ on DeviantArt, modified for the preview image. You can check out their work here. I played around with the Big Bang Theory characters and added Trump’s hair on them.


If you like what I do, please consider supporting this project with only 1$ a month on Patreon or on BuyMeACoffee.com. You can also do so directly on PayPal if you prefer.

Patreon is for monthly, PayPal is for one-offs and BuyMeACoffee has both options.

If you can’t donate anything, you can still support this project by sharing with your friends and leaving a review wherever you get your podcasts!

The Fire These Times is available on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Radio Public, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Castro and RSS.

Music by Tarabeat.

3 replies to “53. Masculinity in Pop Culture: The Toxic and the Subversive

  1. Nice podcast! Culture Detective Agency was a serious eye-opener for me, and made me consider the kinds of toxic masculinity tropes that appear in popular fiction. Thanks for the podcast!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this:
close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star