Toxic Masculinity and Self-love in “Money Heist”

In this post I would like to use Angels in America as a lens to look at this brief fragment of Money Heist. In both, the play and the TV show, we encounter figures that personalize the toxic masculinity. On the one hand, we need to pay special attention to Roy M. Cohn and particularly the scene 9 of Act One in which he is told by his doctor Henry that he has AIDS and that it may have been caused by the intercourse he had without protection with other men, from what Roy reacts defiantly and in a passive-aggressive and defensively tone: “No, say it. I mean it. Say: “Roy Cohn, you are a homosexual”. And I will proceed, systematically, to destroy your reputation and your practice and your career in New York State, Henry. Which you know I can do” (Kushner 45). His speech about being “an heterosexual man who fucks around with guys”, is the representation of his denial about his own identity, portrayed by Kushner as a way of highlighting how heteronormative social conventions and the discrimination against the queer community could make Roy deny his own sexual orientation so fiercely.

This confrontation between Roy and Henry resonated with the one existing between the characters Palermo and Nairobi in Money Heist. Palermo would be the equivalent to Roy in terms of toxic masculinity since he is the one that brags about using men as sexual objects and ghosting them afterwards without any kind of romantic perspective, calling this behaviour of him “Boom boom ciao”. This is probably how the authors of the screenplay show that this mask Palermo creates is another way of denial, he avoids to show his true emotions because vulnerability and sentivity in men are frown upon by society. Nairobi confronts him and says that “to love, you need  courage”.

In this sense, another interpretation can be drawn from this comparison: there could be even a parallelism between a coming-out and a declaration of love since in both situations you are being honest with yourself and the other person. In a coming-out you are declaring your love about who you are, your love for yourself. That special moment in which you decide that society and conventions do not have a say in how you should be or feel. In both cases, and as Nairobi states, “to love, you need courage”, and toxic masculinity is the opposite of bravery: cowardice in its purest form.

(English subtitles can be selected in the settings)


One thought on “Toxic Masculinity and Self-love in “Money Heist””

  1. I really liked your analysis and relationship between the characters in these two stories, and I agree that these they are a representation of toxic masculinity. Historically, toxic masculinity has been shown in different mass media as something natural and even positive, and I think that is why the fight against it and the personal deconstruction regarding these aspects has always been so difficult. Little by little we can see how more TV shows, movies and social networks repudiate this type of comments and attitudes, which is positive and hopeful.

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