Apparently there’s a crisis sweeping the nation, one that even merited the airtime of CNN International last Friday. In case you’ve haven’t heard the news, masculinity has taken a battering and it’s time to bring back the lost of masculinity. Hipsters and metrosexuals be damned! The evil feminists have destroyed men, who no longer occupy their rightful place. Men have become too soft and lazy, reduced to mere objects of ridicule.
Give me a break!
At what point did we catapult into the post-feminist, post-biphobic, post-homophobic world?
We haven’t and that’s the point. While certain people are waxing poetic about supposedly manly virtues, some have already pointed out that the gig is up. I can only hope the phenomenon of the retrosexual vanishes before it has a chance to take hold.
Yes my friends, you read right – retrosexual. Thanks to shows like Mad Men and the efforts of bloggers, we can now all learn how to be real men again and take pride in doing so. We can learn to lionize ‘great’ men like Teddy Roosevelt and John Wayne. We can dress like real men dress, read what real men read, and take up manly hobbies. Perhaps we can learn to duel in order to preserve our honor. Maybe you feel like you lost out on a particularly gruesome male initiation ritual.
Well I think there is a crisis in masculinity–it’s very existence.
Women got it right. Feminism has razed the bulwark of femininity to the ground thus opening the doors of possibility wide open.
We men, on the other hand, are often still caught in the vice grip of masculinity and the dead hand of male gender roles. Look around and you see all the advertising pandering to male insecurities. Trying to be a real man seems to be the most important obsession for the male of the species.
It makes me think of the song “Real Men” from Joe Jackson’s 1982 album, Night and Day. The song asks “What’s a man now?/What’s a man mean?/Is he rough or is he rugged/Cultural and clean?/Now it’s all changed/It’s got to change more/We thinks it’s getting better/But nobody’s really sure.”
By the time I heard this song, I had already discovered that being attracted to other men meant my ‘guy quotient’ tanked. I discovered soon after that being attracted to both genders put me in a no man’s land–pun intended. I had a choice: play to a script or live my life. I chose to live my life.
I’m not saying it’s been easy but it’s been authentic. Along the way, I’ve come across plenty of other men just living their lives without obsessing about manliness. What I have found is that bisexual men tend to have a good handle on the theater of the absurd that masculinity is. Hold the door open for a woman and you’re either a gentleman or a dinosaur. Hold the door open for another man–well why would you? Or just hold the door open for other people and be polite.
How about this: some of us are human beings who happen to be male. We’re neither smarter or more stupid, tougher or more tender than those who are female. I’m still not sure we know what a real man is, but does it really matter?