Between Vietnam and 9/11: Arnold Schwarzenegger and a New Type of Masculinity in Twins and Kindergarten Cop

Tatiana Prorokova


In this article, I argue that the 1990s was a culturally pivotal period in the history of the U.S., trapped between the Vietnam War and 9/11. Therefore, realization and representation of such a phenomenon as “masculinity” in the 1990s differs considerably from its portrayal before the decade had started and after it was over. I demonstrate that with the release of Twins (1988) and Kindergarten Cop (1990), Arnold Schwarzenegger became a new hero of the 1990s, showcasing that masculinity of the 1990s was multifaceted. I contend that in the 1990s male masculinity was not defined by the notions of power, aggressiveness, and emotionless anymore, on the contrary, vulnerability, devotion, and care were the aspects that characterized it. 

Full Text:



Alegre, S.M. (June 1998). Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mister Universe? Hollywood masculinity and the search of the new man. Atlantis, 20 (1), 85-94.

Boyle, E. (2010). The intertextual Terminator: The role of film in branding “Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Journal of Communication Inquiry, 34 (1), 42-60.

Butter, M. (2011). From rough guy to family guy: The transformation of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s star persona in Twins and Kindergarten Cop. In M. Butter, P. Keller, & S. Wendt (Eds.), Arnold Schwarzenegger: interdisciplinary perspectives on body and image (pp. 149-167). Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter.

Grazer, B., Reitman I., Gross M.C., Kahn S., Medjuck J., & Webb G.A. (Producers), & Reitman I. (Director). (1990). Kindergarten cop [Motion picture]. United States: Universal Pictures.

Hoberman, J. (2000). Nietzsche’s boy. In J. Arroyo (Ed.), Action/spectacle cinema: a sight and sound reader (pp. 29-34). London: British Film Institute.

Hultman, M. (2013). The making of an environmental hero: A history of ecomodern masculinity, fuel cells and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Environmental Humanities, 2, 79-99. Retrieved November 9, 2014, from

Jeffords, S. 1994. Hard bodies: Hollywood masculinity in the Reagan era. New Brunswich, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

King, N. 1999. Heroes in hard times. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Malin, B.J. 2005. American masculinity under Clinton: Popular media and the nineties “crisis of masculinity.” New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Messner, M.A. (2007). The masculinity of the governor: Muscle and compassion in American politics. Gender & Society, 21 (4), 461-480.

Reitman I., Gross M.C., Kahn S., Medjuck J., & Webb G.A. (Producers), & Reitman I. (Director). (1988). Twins [Motion picture]. United States: Universal Pictures.

Sparks, R. (1996). Masculinity and heroism in the Hollywood ‘blockbaster’: The culture industry and contemporary images of crime and law enforcement. Spec. Issue of The British Journal of Criminology 36 (3), 348-360.

Tasker, Y. 1993. Spectacular bodies: Gender, genre and the action cinema. London: Routledge.

van Zoonen, Liesbet. 2005. Entertaining the citizen: When politics and popular culture converge. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Williams, L. R. (2012). Arnold Schwarzenegger: Corporeal charisma. In A. Everett (Ed.), Pretty people: movie stars of the 1990s (pp. 19-42). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

MSC - Masculinities and social change | ISSN: 2014-3605

Legal Deposit: B.34287-2012 | |