Men Growing Up to Be Boys
Madison Avenue Cultivates a Peter Pan Version of Masculinity
Cell phones, fast food, beer, deodorants ... all offer up an infantilized version of masculinity.
"These pop culture images are all the more striking because they directly contradict the experiences of men in the real world," writes Lakshmi Chaudhry, senior editor at In These Times.
Susan Faludi foreshadowed the rise of the metrosexual in her 1999 book, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, which describes an “ornamental culture” that tells men “manhood is displayed, not demonstrated. The internal qualities once said to embody manhood—sure-footedness, inner strength, confidence of purpose—are merchandised to men to enhance their manliness. What passes for the essence of masculinity is being extracted and bottled and sold back to men. Literally, in the case of Viagra.”
As Neil Chethik, author of the newly published book VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework, and Commitment, found, most American men—the flesh-and-blood variety—embrace their roles as fathers and husbands. “I found in my research that the values of duty, honor, and taking responsibility are far from forgotten by men in our culture,” Chethik says. “Certainly, most men struggle to fulfill the ideals they set for themselves in this area. But they recognize that being a ‘real man’ requires that they are honest and respectful and willing to sacrifice. I saw this among men who worked at jobs they didn’t love, who took care of an ill spouse or child, who helped in their communities without recognition or compensation. There are millions of such men.”
Chaudhry is the kind of independent thinker I like to champion. For the complete article, visit In These Times.