NY Times Frets Over Whether ‘Modern Men’ Are ‘Manly Enough’
1:45 pm, July 13th | by Amy Tennery
The epidemic of “unmasculine” men in the U.S. is so rampant, so devastating, that the Times has devoted an entire eight-piece spread in its “Room For Debate” section to answer this singular question — “Are Modern Men Manly Enough?”
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction to this vital (eight-piece) collection of columns:
A-list actors are getting facials in “Mansome,” Morgan Spurlock’s newest documentary, and pumping their waxed chests in Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike,” one of the summer’s most popular movies.
But is all this exfoliated, chiseled perfection what women really want? And should men really be making it a priority?
What. What!? Didn’t we wrap up this “rise of the metrosexual” faux-debate back in 2003? The thrust of this (laughably heteronormative) introduction: The manliness of men is receding — and it’s all because men are trying to please women. And this is a bad thing.
I don’t mean to undermine every last part of this eight-piece package on modern manliness. And, in fact, behind the Times irritating, baiting headline are some interesting ideas in each of the eight writers’ columns. (Did I mention that the New York Times commissioned eight separate columns on this?)
But as we’ve discussed before, this trend of fretting over men’s manliness (which I dubbed the “Are You Sure You’re A Dude?” phenomenon) is a lot more dangerous than any erosion of traditional, 1950s masculinity — real or imagined. It’s in beer commercials, T.V. shows and now it’s in a headline in the New York Times. It’s saying “you guys are acting like chicks — and acting like a woman is a bad thing.” It says men need to start throwing a football and women need to get back in the kitchen. It’s ugly and backward. And we say this is all in good fun — but when studies show that men who prioritize “manliness” are more likely to display sexist behavior, I have a hard time laughing. We’re not a nation obsessed with facials and massages; we’re a nation obsessed with needling guys over their alleged masculine shortcomings.
Anyway, so long, guys. I’ve gotta go primp in the mirror for a bit. Gotta make sure I’m “ladyish” enough.