Before I go on please let me say I have nothing against men who find the models of traditional masculinity to be the ones that work for them these are just some observations I’ve made from studying certain online sources most notably the site official man card – which I admit to becoming scarily addicted to over the last week – Noah linked to in his gender enforcement in the wild post.
It occurs to me that, put side by side with something like Hooking up Smart, there really is no difference in the advice they are giving in regards as how to conduct yourself in accordance with your gender: it’s just as narrow, just as hectoring and just… well, prissy.
Although I’m not the first person to make this observation far from it, journalist (and coiner of the phrase Metrosexual) Mark Simpson has been saying it for years:
“all those self-consciously butch – i.e. ridiculously camp – “retrosexuals” clutching “menaissance” books with their prissy lists of “manly” do’s and don’ts. Regular guys, whatever they were, are now just another – very annoying – fad..”
I’ve always felt the facade of traditional gender roles is fragile at best; it requires constant vigilance to maintain, and with all this constant policing and fussing it’s only natural that you’re going to notice when someone else does something you’ve trained yourself to spot as being outside of self-imposed norms.
That’s when you head to places like Man Cards to gossip with your fellow real men about how totally saw Dave wearing eye liner, crying over some girly film, or eating something other than red meat and cheese and like a bunch of spiteful mean girls from a cliché high school comedy they have their little bitch fests.
This is something that could only exist on the internet as well; could you imagine what would happen if these guys uttered their critiques of their friends to their faces, so they do it in private where their intentions and their prissiness won’t be called into question.
I should say again that I don’t have a problem with so called “traditional behaviours” as long as they are not being enforced or are being touted as the only way men and women can lead happy lives because they’re really not.