Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 112

108 Populär Culture Review study o f matter, but I prefer to see it as the study o f change” (“Pilot”). After seeing how much money methamphetamine production eams, W alter enters the drug trade with the intention o f gaining Status and respect. Although W alter continues to desire the aspirational reference of society, money, he perceives the institutionalized means, conventional labor, as inadequate because it denies him his conceptions o f masculinity. As a result, W alter quits his job as a carwash clerk by yelling, “fuck you and your eyebrows,” grabbing his genitals, and demands that his boss “wipe down this” (“Pilot”). With this act o f defiance, W alter reclaims his masculinity by refusing to succumb to the humiliation inherent in menial labor. As a result o f the W alter’s attraction to crime and his lack o f faith in society’s institutions, Breaking Bad presents conformity as an inappropriate means for acquiring life’s necessities and romanticizes innovation. Consistent emasculation, as aforementioned, furthers W alter’s social strain and he copes through deviant channels. Because W alter fails to achieve his intemalized ideal o f masculinity, he experiences gender role strain and desires to reassert his masculinity through criminal channels. Crime and delinquency often result ffom adverse situations that are disliked by an individual and, as a result, some individuals “may become angry and strike out in rage at the source o f aversion or a related target” (Agnew 156). W alter’s decision to cook methamphetamine not only stems from financial necessity, but also serves as an attempt to assert his masculinity over the men he feels have surpassed him in every way imaginable. This notion is evinced by W alter’s relationship with his brother-in-law. Hank— a perfect model o f conformity— works for the DEA, is consistently promoted throughout Breaking BacTs five seasons, and conventionally achieves financial prosperity and admiration. In response to H ank’s success, W alter constructs Heisenberg: a deviant alter ego that acts as a foil to his brother-in-law’s model o f conformity. M esserschmidt argues that “for many men, crime may serve as a suitable resource for ‘doing gender’— for separating themselves from the feminine . . . [as] particular types o f crime can provide an alternative resource for accomplishing gender and, therefore, affirming a particular type o f masculinity” (Masculinities 84). Although W alter understands that his illegal actions are wrong and damaging to society, he justifies his criminal lifestyle by suggesting he is cooking methamphetamine for a good reason. He perceives his horrific actions as an avenue for providing for his family and successfully doing gender, as deviant activities may