Clearly, our society is currently obsessed with modern men and manliness, why?
By now, most of you have read or heard about The New York Times “Room for Debate” opinion page section that debated this question: Are Modern Men Manly Enough? The synopsis for their debate reads: “Are men spending too much time at the spa and the gym in lieu of grittier, manlier pursuits? And if so, is this making them less masculine?”
Writer Natasha Scripture weighs in with her piece: “Where are the Meat and Potato Men?” and Joel Stein has his say in his article, “Rediscover the Don Draper Within”. Natasha says she hasn’t met a manly man in some time, while Joel feels most modern men couldn’t fix a kitchen sink. There are six other writers who opine on the subject of 21st century manliness; in my opinion, author Shawn Taylor won the debate. Brilliant piece, Shawn!
To The New York Times writers and any other person who thinks modern men are not manly, I offer you this distinguished group of bona fide manly men: Aron Ralston, Pat Tillman (and every other man who has served – or is currently serving – in the United States Armed Forces), Man vs. Wild’s Bear Grylls, The cast of Deadliest Catch, the cast of Ice Road Truckers, every healthcare worker affiliated with Doctors Without Boarders, etc.
I could continue giving more examples of men who work in the trades or agriculture, but I’d also like to pay tribute to every chivalrous man who lives his life with integrity and humility. These men can be found everywhere – all over the world. They could be engineers, hairstylists, chefs, school teachers, musicians, nurses, etc. I don’t believe an occupation or a geographic location makes a man manly. Manliness does not have to connote power, strength, boldness, courage, fierceness or ruggedness. Every man is his own man and possesses his own brand of masculinity. I believe manliness comes from a man’s grace and his character; it’s in his soul.
Yes, there has been a superfluous amount of attention placed on 21st century men being “metrosexual” and overly feminized. And yes, companies in the fashion and beauty industries are marketing products for men – so what! I love seeing my husband look dapper and coiffed, the same way he enjoys seeing me styled with purpose. Being “mansome” does not make a man less of a man. All men take pleasure in being groomed and pampered – within their comfort zone.
We can thank the industrial revolution and advances in science and technology for soothing our primitive pursuits. Joel Stein, here’s a question for you: why would a man hunt for meat when he can go to the grocery store and buy a nice Delmonico steak? Furthermore, when was the last time you’ve been hunting? To be fair, Joel, I doubt you’d leave your journalism career to pursue cattle ranching. And here’s a fact for you, Natasha Scripture: men cry; yes, they actually shed tears. Deal with it, Natasha. It’s a beautiful thing.
Are modern men manly enough? I think that’s a ridiculous question. Interestingly enough, The New York Times would never debate this question on their opinion page: Are modern women womanly enough? Wow, can you imagine that! Feminists would crash The New York Times website. I hate to iron and I don’t know how to sew or bake apple pies. Does that make me less womanly? I don’t think so. Moreover, I know plenty of men who enjoy ironing and cooking. Does that make them less manly? Absolutely not!
Clearly, our society is currently obsessed with modern men and manliness, why? What do you think accounts for this scrutiny? Why is the evolution of a man’s gender identity being placed under a microscope?
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