Document Type

Forum Theme 1


The development of the character of Det. Andy Sipowicz, on the ABC drama, NYPD: Blue, effectively demonstrates that the obstinance of traditional forms of masculinity may ultimately be a key factor in their undoing. Rather than effecting a superficial change based on consumer choice, as concurrent characters do, Sipowicz undergoes a transformation of his social behavior. Sipowicz regularly behaves in a manner consistent with Robert Connell’s definition of “hegemonic masculinity”: he resorts to violence, he resists change and he resents women and minorities (131). His alcoholism and quick temper tend to hinder his ability to adapt. However, change has occurred around him in the form of gay coworkers, minority bosses and even a spouse who was better educated, earned more and held a more esteemed position than he did. In every instance, Sipowicz’ stubborn adherence to the patriarchal dictums to “get over it” or to “deal with it” results in his eventual conversion from hegemonic masculinity to a more tolerant masculine formation.1 That NYPD: Blue belongs to the basic genre of the “cop drama” makes Sipowicz’ negotiation of masculine behaviors more extraordinary since this genre traditionally relies on hypermasculine modes, often to the exclusion and even detriment of women and minorities.2

Publication Date

Fall 2006

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Last Page



©2006 Marc Ouellette



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