Of Hawkeye, Phil Dunphy, and 007

Stereotypes in popular culture usually place men into two categories: the “doofus dad” and the “toxic male.”

Alex Greenwood
5 min readJul 31

In contemporary society, the rapidly evolving discourse on gender roles and equality paradoxically yields a misperception that risks marginalizing men. This damaging narrative, perpetuated by media and pop culture, often portrays men as “doofus dads” or perpetrators of “toxic masculinity”. As we strive for gender equality, it is crucial to challenge these harmful, extreme stereotypes that inadvertently stigmatize men and eclipse the essence of positive masculinity.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova: https://www.pexels.com/photo/father-and-child-walking-on-shore-3968120/

Stereotypes in popular culture usually place men into two categories: the “doofus dad” and the “toxic male”. The “doofus dad” stereotype, prevalent across sitcoms and commercials, presents men as incompetent and incapable, particularly in family and home care roles. On the surface, this might appear as a harmless comedic device, but such a portrayal undermines the role of fathers and men as competent caregivers, perpetuating a damaging narrative in the long run.

James Bond Versus Hawkeye Pierce

Contrarily, the ‘toxic male’ stereotype often portrays men as inherently aggressive, dominant, or abusive, effectively equating masculinity with toxicity. As someone raised on James Bond movies in the seventies and eighties, I understand the confusion this can cause. Bond, a suave and womanizing assassin created by a man born in 1908, is hardly an ideal role model.

However, another hero balanced this image for me: Dr. Hawkeye Pierce of M*A*S*H. In earlier portrayals, Hawkeye was an unapologetic, yet lovable letch, later evolving into an exemplary figure of positive masculinity. Though I’m not a brilliant surgeon, I identify more with this version of Hawkeye than with Bond.

Perhaps there’s a little Captain James T. Kirk in my positive male makeup as well, (and please, finger-pointing young people, know that Star Trek’s Jim Kirk is a wonderful person. He loves women as people and uses his smarts far more than his fists to solve problems, okay? Sheesh).

It’s essential to acknowledge and address toxic behavior, but we must be careful not to imply that these traits are…

Alex Greenwood

PR Consultant, Speaker, Podcast Producer/Host, Editor, and Award-Winning Writer of the John Pilate Mystery Series. Accomplished belly laugher.