What’s Up With Masculinity?

“Does my hair look manly to you?”

That’s an actual question that I asked my actual brother a few months ago. It’s important to note that I am a female with long hair several inches past my shoulders.

You see, when I visit home, I don’t bring much in terms of toiletries. I’ll bring mascara and eyeliner, but soap and lotion and combs are all things that my brother or parents also use so I just borrow. This extends to shampoo, I’ll just use whatever’s in the shower, because I really don’t care. But in one particular instance, the only shampoo there was my brother’s Dove For Men stuff. It was a sleek grey bottle and I took a second to read the back of it. Have any of you ladies read the backs of men’s shampoo bottles? They’re hilarious. The one I had read something along the lines of ’embrace your manly nature side’. I don’t remember exactly what it said and I’d rather not text my brother to ask (gosh, that’d be such a weird conversation). But you get the gist. That shampoo guaranteed to make its users hair super manly, so I was a little disappointed when my brother answered my original question with a “….no?”

And that got me thinking about shampoo in general. All shampoo is probably the same, right? So it’s silly how they’re so differently advertised in commercials/magazines and whatnot. Shampoo for females is all like Fortify your hair! Get strength and shine so you can look your best! where as men’s shampoo commercials are like Get rid of some dandruff so you can HOOK UP WITH LIKE SEVEN HOT CHICKS!!!!

While all shampoo ads (and really all ads) basically say that you’re inadequate until you use this specific product, men’s really push this hypermasculinity that’s really just uncomfortable.

No offense to men, but some of you need to think and rethink about things.

One time in high school a female friend and I were talking about some movie with a few other guys. Some male actor came up in the conversation and my friend asked one of the guys if this actor was his guy crush. After having to explain what a guy crush is (“like an actor of the same gender that you love despite your heterosexuality”), all the guys fiercely denied having a guy crush. But then they asked my friend and I if we had a girl crush. “Uh, of course!” we said and we both began listing some, to the guys’ amazement. What is it about men that they can’t accept that there are other dudes out there that they can have respect for without being considered gay?

Why are guys so worried about being gay? ‘No homo’ is a running joke in a way but I’ve actually spoken to a guy who has used it in all seriousness. And you’d think that if guys really were worried about being perceived as gay, then they’d stop taking every opportunity to casually touch each other or walk around shirtless. I’ve spent most of my social life with guys and I don’t get it. And they think women are confusing!

There’s no denying that society’s standards for women are messed up, but I think standards for men are too, only just between themselves. Like, they set their own odd standards. They always gotta be tough and think that musicals are lame and call each other “buddy” and think that The Interview is a quality example of a comedy movie. But no. Take it from me, a female, that it’s okay to have and express emotions or have “friends” or even watch a musical! Girls are still going to like you, if not even more, if you’re in touch with your ‘feminine side’.

I know I have some male readers/followers, so while I’d ideally love an explanation as to why your gender is so weird when it comes to the idea of hegemonic masculinity,  I feel like there is no logical reason, so instead, leave a comment telling me your guy crushes. And then I want to hear everyone’s opinion on the subject.

That’s all for now!

 

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13 thoughts on “What’s Up With Masculinity?

  1. Agreed in a lot of ways. As a woman — who has had many straight male friends, and one who considered himself gay, and yet he really enjoyed dating women (?) — I think there’s a huge double standard among men, and it doesn’t seem to really make sense. Of course, as a woman, I may not “get” men, anyway… 😛

    • There’s a double standard for everything in society, but with the men’s side, you’d think that since they almost control the mindset and habits of society, that they’d portray themselves and their ideal goals of masculinity in a better way.

      • I think there’s an issue with some men feeling uncomfortable with other things in society changing…for example, women feel more at ease being themselves, and not making excuses for it, and we don’t necessarily need to agree with what men think of us. (I wouldn’t call myself a feminist, but I don’t need my husband’s approval on absolutely everything I do, say, think, etc.) To some men – even younger men (20s), that’s an odd feeling…that things around them have changed pretty fast (the last 30 or so years), and maybe they’re not sure where their ideals fit in, or even if they do?

  2. Great post 🙂 Sometimes, folks forget that feminism isn’t just about women: it’s about men, too. You’re definitely right about society’s standards for men being screwed up. Society in general is pretty screwed up, regardless of one’s gender. Stereotypes are a huge issue!

    Thanks for bringing awareness to an important topic! 🙂

    • I think that as a female, I’m more used to dealing with the female’s side of this screwed up society, so I really had to consider things in another way for this post. My goal wasn’t as much to raise awareness as it was to call them out and maybe change the mindset of even one guy who subscribes to this toxic mindset.

      • Calling out the issue does raise awareness about it — I think they’re the same thing 🙂 However you want to word it, it’s an important issue, and it’s great that you stepped out of your own role and considered things from a male POV.

  3. Perhaps an intriguing thing to think about when watching male-geared beauty/skincare/cologne/fashion adverts is that they are almost always geared towards a gay male audience (received on several reliable authorities and research). It’s boring but quite interesting to look into demographics and what it all means – the female body appeals to the majority of genders and sexualities, the male body doesn’t. So how do you make the male body more appealing? Well seeing as the male gay demographic is a renowned consumer powerhouse, mix a little hetero rhetoric with the “homo” aesthetic/appeal, and hey presto.

    Societally, I think it is changing for guys to relate to each the way most girls are raised to, but you only have to look at the rate of male suicides and rise of body dysmorphia conditions to see it’s not changing quick enough (possibly never will). But like Natalie said above, the simple act of talking about it is as much of a game changer for guys as it was and still is for girls.

    Tl;dr I agree with you 🙂

    • That’s a good point- demographics are important. I mean, I guess these companies find that advertising in the way that they do works. It’s just unfortunate that it feeds into the culture the way that it does.
      Thanks for commenting!

  4. How… interesting… 😉
    I’ve never heard of “guy crush” and it sounds right weird. Mainly due to the “crush” bit, I think. It makes it sounds amorous and sexual rather than ‘respecting person for style/talent/attitude/whatever’. I can like Harrison Ford for his films but still think he’s a bit of a grumpy old sod. I would love to be his character in Star Wars or Indiana Jones, but don’t love him. That’s just odd – but that goes for female celebrities too. I can like a character, or a viewpoint or a style, but I don’t have a crush on the person. A friend asked me recently who would be my ultimate celebrity date and I told him I don’t have one, because celebrities aren’t ‘real people’. They might look great on the silver screen but be a ghastly arse in real life.
    As for advertising, yeah it’s all cocked up and I don’t pay much attention to it. Quite happy to use any old moisturiser if I need it, whether it’s ‘womens’ or ‘mens’. Whatever’s cheap & effective (I don’t do ‘brands’ either).

    • Well, at least I got you thinking! I’m not saying that everyone has to have a guy/girl crush, and you’re right that not all celebrities should qualify, but there are many celebrities who seem like fun, nice people on top of being talented and insanely gorgeous. I guess it depends how deep your interest/knowledge is on these people. 😛
      Thanks for commenting!

      • I kind of understand where you’re coming from, but I just don’t get the sex appeal bit and maybe that’s the case with a lot of other guys. Take David Beckham. I never used to think much about him other than 1) he’s a fantastic crosser of the ball and is a phenomenally committed soccer player; 2) he’s supposed to be a bit dim; and 3) he’s incredibly rich. And yet, the more I’ve seen of him in the past few years the more impressed I’ve been: he’s a genuinely nice, down-to-earth guy with a dry sense of humour, loves his family, does loads of charity work and speaks a bit of Spanish (which is more than I do). I could definitely spend an evening with him over a beer or two, have a kick about, etc. And I know a lot of women and gay guys find him gorgeous, but to me he’s just a bloke. Don’t find him attractive at all. Mind you, I don’t think too much of his missus either.
        I’m wondering whether this is more to do with women being more able to be intimate (not necessarily sexual) with each other, while generally intimacy between men makes our skin crawl. I don’t think there’s anything homophobic about it, it’s just that we don’t tend to do emotion terribly well. Oh, we have emotional responses (usually to our family, sport, music, cars, _things_) but don’t expect your average geezer to get intimate (non-sexually) with a friend. Unless we’re very, very drunk and the inhibitions come down. But in that state we tend to talk utter bollocks anyway, so it doesn’t count.
        Hope I’ve given you some insight into the male psyche (at least, a laid-back mid-40s British one).
        🙂

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