Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Julie Pelton


What makes a good man? For this research, I examine the ways that Captain America, also known as Steve Rogers, portrays masculinity in the highest grossing movie franchise of all time — The Marvel Cinematic Universe. I propose that the ways in which an American icon who represents the ideal man behaves reflects larger cultural expectations of masculinity, specifically the expectations for white men. In addition to holding up a mirror to society’s expectations for a ‘good man’, the social messaging about masculinity in these films should be examined to understand what American men of every generation are idolizing. I examined every scene that Steve Rogers as Captain America appeared in during his story arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throughout these appearances, I tracked different traits and behaviors that society would deem as masculine, including romantic relationships and usage of violence. I found that this character mainly reinforces traditional ideals of hegemonic masculinity that aligns with decades of research. In addition, I found that Captain America had the potential to be a more progressive pillar of masculinity in a queer relationship that was never fully played out on screen for assumedly monetary reasons. Despite the groundwork being laid for this character arc, Captain America ultimately chooses to go back to the past and embrace traditional masculinity over moving on to a new life.