The Fight Club Path to Buddhist Heteronormativity

The Fight Club Path to Buddhist Heteronormativity

Photo by Jon Tyson

This paper demonstrates how Buddhist readings of David Fincher’s (1999) Fight Club dovetail with analyses that critique the film’s conclusion as championing heteronormativity. In contrast to previous religious studies readings that have largely overlooked the characters’ sexuality, I argue that Fight Club constructs a Buddhist heteronormativity. The protagonist Narrator’s alter-ego Tyler Durden is both the object of his narcissistic homoerotic desire and an obstacle to his liberation. The film concludes with the protagonist murdering his alter-ego to reach enlightenment and embrace a heterosexual relationship with the character Marla Singer. Of significance, the film’s messaging, to an extent, finds resonance with certain contemporary Western Buddhist discourses that express homophobic or hetero/(sexist)/(normative) sentiments. Bunkyo University Bulletin of the Faculty of Language and Literature 34 (1): 47-74