Are modern women womanly enough? I wouldn’t dare go there, as my hate mail box couldn’t possibly handle the load. So why are we so worried about “manliness” these days?
We have endless blog posts and magazine articles blasting us with these ideas of what it means to be manly, to be a man. But why? Have modern men lost their manliness, or is manliness simply changing. Back to the original question are modern women womanly enough? Yes, no question about it. It seems that in this brave new post-feminist world, it’s now men who can’t find the way and who are undoubtedly uncomfortable in their own skin. We’ve fully adjusted to the idea that a woman can do and become everything she wants without the restraints of gender conventions but the converse seems to escape us. If women can be comfortable and accepted in this modern world exhibiting “masculine” behaviors, working traditionally male jobs or enjoying traditionally male hobbies, men should be able to adopt and appropriate traditionally “feminine” behaviors too, right?
We are bombarded with influences that tell us no. The Art of Manliness for example, a site featured often in our link roundups, is a site that dedicates itself to “reviving the lost art of manliness.” What the hell is the lost “art of manliness?” There are countless sources of manly intervention. Reddit has countless subreddits devoted to reviving manliness, hell we’ve even mistakenly tried to fix the unbroken. Do we all have to live 1800 style lives to be manly? Must I be a straight shaving, lumberjack that enjoys old-school body building, drinking gin and womanizing to earn my mancard?
No. Modern men are manly enough for the modern world, and we are no less manly than in any other age. Using a waterproof electric shaver to shave while showering instead of going through a half-hour long straight shaving routine is not less manly, it just makes sense. Wasting time and doing things the hard way is not the ticket to manliness.
Likewise, male adoption of vanity is not inherently un-manly. Being interested in fitness for sculpted pectorals and abs as opposed to putting up bigger numbers or faster times is perfectly acceptable. Male vanity is only one part of the metrosexual revolution that we are now finding so much issue with. Men have also become more interested in cooking, baking, child-rearing, being sensitive, showing emotion and in being sensual.
Don’t worry yourselves so much. Men are not the new women. Men are, instead, the new everything. Women took comfort in the role long ago and now is our time. Stop worrying about your “manliness” and accept it. Besides, continuing to fret over and worry about such things just means being sold into bullshit list of “manly” dos and do nots. And lets be real, “manliness” was and likely still is about repression and homophobia. A gay man isn’t “manly” right? Well, why the hell not? I know gay men that squat 500 pounds, who hunt big game and who enjoy a tall whiskey over a card game by the fire like any traditionally defined manly man they also have more fulfilling relationships with women than most of my straight friends and they often dress better, eat better and workout harder too.
Lets stop kidding ourselves. The “menaissance” is nothing more than fear, repression, Victorianism and homophobia repackaged to make you feel special. It’s a dodgy daydream of a “manly” past in which everything was perfect because men did everything inefficiently, drank too much, smoked pipes, and played with their wood a lot. It’s entirely fictional. It’s this whole “women got their feminism movement, so we need one too” attitude and it’s only holding us back.
To be quite honest, I don’t see the problem with being less “manly” in the eyes of these manliness revolutionaries. I enjoy cooking, I like baking, I enjoy working out for vanity, I like having intelligent conversations about things other than tits, I like having an open and close relationship with my wife, I like shaving in the damn shower. If those things make me less manly, so be it. Our culture has thrived upon the testosterone pumped, rugged, hairy, aggressive, controlling, male figure for too long.
What does it mean to be a man? It means taking responsibility. It means saying a little and doing a lot without begging for credit. It means respecting achievement, age, experience, the other gender and fighting for the underdog. It means accepting others despite their beliefs, color, gender or sex. It means opening the door, or stooping to pick up a dropped item for anyone. It means accepting that some men and women are gay, that some women enjoy traditionally male roles and some men female ones, that some enjoy it all. It means being a good person and doesn’t have a damn thing to do with your being a man, driving a pickup truck, staying unshaven, talking in a gruff voice, picking on the weak, acting tough, enjoying certain sports, hating gays, shooting things, voting republican or calling someone a wimp.