Six String Samurai and movie portrayals of men

“Six String Samurai” is a post-apocalyptic film about a rock’n’roll musician who plays the guitar and uses this instrument just like a samurai uses his sword. Fantasy movies, such as this one, are set in fictional and improbable universes that desperately need a hero who can save the world and restore justice. In Six String Samurai we find ourselves in a destroyed America, bombed by the Russians, and the last hope for mankind and music is a young guitar player that has the abilities of a samurai which is a sacred Japanese warrior famous for its justice and correctness.

This movie has been appreciated by the fans of the genre and, like all fantasy and hero movies, has been criticized for creating one-dimensional characters that have just one defining feature: power. Masculinity, physical strength, power, good looks and the ability to play an instrument or shot a gun are defining traits for the main character in Six String Samurai. These qualities reveal nothing about the personality or the values of the character, but rather create a superficial environment in which men just have to be strong in order to achieve something.

Many ads have been created worldwide base on this superficial equivalency between man and masculinity defined by physical power. People browsing the internet will soon discover that all ads include the picture of a strong, muscled man who is happy and fulfilled in his sexual life just because he is covered in muscles. This stereotypical image is encouraged by fantasy movies that portray physical strong men as main characters and as important heroes that will ultimately save the world from destruction. In the end this has a negative impact on how men around the world feel about themselves.