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[Short Read] American Psycho: Exploring Toxic Masculinity and Materialism


The 2000 movie American Psycho portrays the life of Patrick Bateman, a successful investment banker who lived in New York City in the 1980s. The hazardous consequences of toxic masculinity and mental instability are explored in the film.

Toxic Masculinity: The idea of toxic masculinity is personified by Patrick Bateman's character. He associates success with having authority over others and dominating them. Even if it means hurting others, Bateman develops an obsession on his appearance, material prosperity, and maintaining an illusion of success.


The Dark Side of Materialism: American Psycho also critiques society's obsession with money, material goods, and the desire to maintain a flawless look. Bateman's desire for luxury and need to be regarded as successful show the hollowness and pointlessness of such pursuits. The movie advises against valuing worldly possessions and society's approval too highly.


The movie American Psycho explores issues including toxic masculinity and the effects of mental instability. The film highlights the risks of putting consumerism, power, and control ahead of empathy, compassion, and real connections with other people. It acts as a reminder for us to reexamine our ideals and give kindness and understanding a higher priority in our lives.



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Interesting read! Another thing that American Psycho really nails down is the intertextuality and the signifier/signified references as we studied during our course. There are countless references to music and pop culture at what might seem odd times but actually builds upon the psychopathic and complex nature of Patrick Bateman's personality. It is due to this very character that it became a cult classic, relevant to this day and sparking discussions of the 'sigma male', a term that did not exist back in 2000. It somehow seems to contain such intertextuality that was ahead of its time and makes this a timeless classic to be observed with a semiotic approach.

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I was (pleasantly) surprised when I watched this film, because I was expecting it to be a psychological thriller, but instead it turned out to be a dark satire. Turns out the book (written by a man) is less satirical and the movie (directed by a woman) brings out the more ironic and humorous aspects of the book, and I definitely think that the film takes a lot of joy in mocking Bateman's character. He embodies 'toxic masculinity', vanity, and superficiality at its most extreme. The film is, in my opinion, a (humorous) critique of these traits and how they're glorified, as well as a commentary on how blind consumerism leads to a loss of identity and individuality. Also, about…

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American Psycho is an excellent depiction of the corporate capitalist society, in the face of which people lose their humanity. This is because the current societal structures are based on individual consumption which reduces care for other people and leads to consequences as in the movie. It shows how toxic masculinity leads to exercising control in every domain of their life and the lives of people around them. The time that this movie is set in makes the movie an accurate representation of the bourgeoisie.

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Your blog post on the movie American Psycho intricately explores the themes of toxic masculinity, the dark side of materialism, and mental instability. I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis, emphasizing the dangers of prioritizing dominance and material wealth over empathy and genuine connections. However, I would also like to highlight the film's nuanced portrayal of mental instability, reminding us to consider the impact of mental health on the protagonist's actions. Overall, the movie serves as a poignant reminder to reevaluate our values and prioritize compassion in our lives.

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This made me think about the whole trend of creating content on tiktok and instagram around the "sigma male" or "sigma grindset" concept inspired by patrick bateman's character and I think the underlying messages of toxic masculinity and perpetuation of harmful gender stereotypes are lost on some men who continue to idealise bateman's character (referring to the communities of incel men on reddit who practically worship this guy and everything that he stands for)

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A very valid reference! The trend of creating content around the "sigma male" ideology can indeed perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity. It is important to recognize the underlying messages and potential negative consequences of idealizing such characters, not to mention the detrimental impact this mindset can have on women.

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