Modern Masculinity

I don’t really have the correct words to talk about this post. I’ve been pondering it for weeks now and just haven’t come up with what I really want to say about it.

I’ll just try to go all stream of consciousness and see whether or not I am able to produce a logical, intelligent post. Come join me for the fun!

It seems ridiculous to point out the ridiculousness of mens magazines. Being an avid bookstore browser, and an even more avid magazine section browser, I’m very familiar with what kind of material is covered in mens magazines. The content stays the same, month to month. In fact, I remember seeing a post on a blog I follow in which they show that a magazine actually recycled their cover from a few months back.

The types of things you see in mens magazine are just not something any normal man can/should really accept. I’m sorry, but the average man cannot afford the outfit that you have put on that model. Nor can the average man even pull it off. I’m not saying that mens magazines should appeal to the lowest common denominator, but at the same time, they should not idealize what men can wear/do/purchase, etc.

There’s apparently been a trend towards a more touchy feely approach to masculinity, one in which we focus on being a respectable, responsible man. I love this idea. I think it’s gotten to the point where many men don’t act that way – their goal is to just hook up, move from partner to partner, and maintain life in their 20s – as if they are in college still.

I’m not some sage in modern masculinity, but I do feel I’m a pretty decent example. I’m clearly not the most masculine person I know, nor am I the most feminine person I know. I’m that healthy medium, in which I can work in both realms. I cry when things get difficult, but I also tough it out when I need to.

It seems that we have created this ideal of masculinity in which any sense of emotion or sign of supposed weakness is derided. I hate that. I hate that we aren’t allowed to show our weakness, because we fear being mocked. I flaunt my weaknesses sometimes, because I want people to be aware of it and call me out on it. I love criticism (if its constructive).

But at the same time…we can’t accept this new touchy feely form of masculine too much. I think men should still follow what is traditionally considered masculine traits, but at the same time be accepting of what could be considered feminine traits. Work out your muscles! Work out your emotions! as long as you don’t let one thing overcome you.

The end of the Slate article is interesting – essentially, the author feels that by forcing this other ideal, this “new masculinity” of responsibility, loyalty, granola-y stuff, we will engender a hatred and distrust of it. We won’t be creating men who accept these ideals, but rather men who go against these ideals.

Masculinity (and on the other side of the coin, femininity) is such a strange concept. Two social constructs…how do we deal with their ever changing definitions?

Source: Real Men Cry and Do Laundry

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