Psych Siren

This is era of the metrosexual. Androgyny is in. Beautiful men prevail in fashion
and in film. The days of the macho man are numbered.

At first glance, it seems as if this whole commotion about the quintessential
contemporary man: the ‘metrosexual’ is merely a marketing gimmick. A sales pitch to include men as a target market for health and beauty products. Today, we see men going to the salon instead of the barbershop. ‘Kikay’ kits for women now have a male counterpart in the tote bag.

But is this whole metrosexual craze as harmless as it seems? After all, it did not just change the way men look. With it comes a shift in the definition of manhood. Look around you. Television and movies typically portray men as either dumb, weak, self-centered, gay or women haters.

Male bashing is everywhere. It sells and it is politically correct—almost to the
point where being feminist means being anti-male. Being macho these days is almost like a crime against women. When in fact, the term simply meant being manly. It originally did not have the negative implications of womanizing, abuse and braggadocio.

Obviously, we have a lot of rethinking to do about what defines a man. I believe that my generation of women will not and should not put up as patiently with womanizing, abuse and braggadocio as our mothers perhaps did. But neither does the swing to the opposite end of the pendulum signal the emergence of a higher plane of manhood. It does very little to advance the feminist agenda of equal rights for women. Tearing men down is like tearing half of what forms the basic fabric of society.

If neither machismo nor metrosexuality are healthy definitions of manhood, what is? I honestly don’t know. That is a question so broad it would be impossible to answer in a single blog post. Plus, there is the obvious problem of me being a woman. Nevertheless, as a woman, I have a mouthful to say about what a manly man shouldn’t be like. Men, there is no need to be tough under the guise that boys don’t cry. Like my husband says — “Boys don’t cry. Real men do.” Women, don’t rant too much if your man isn’t as sensitive and vulnerable as you’d like him to be. His strength is part of what makes him a man.

Fathers, make room for sons who do not typify your own brands of manliness. Being different doesn’t exactly automatically mean being gay. Mothers, don’t fashion your sons to become like you. They’re male and different. Make way for male bonding. Your sons need it.

Husband, love your wives. Wives, respect your husbands.

It is not my intention to preach but I believe that true masculinity lies in
celebrating femininity. True masculinity does not mean minimizing or degrading femininity as in machismo. Neither can true masculinity emerge from simply becoming more feminine as in the metrosexual. I believe reclaiming manhood needs more than just a change in appearance but a shift in perspective.

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