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What is masculinity?

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Introduction

Kevin Mears

IS MASCULINITY IN CRISIS?

What is masculinity?  Look it up in the dictionary and you’ll be met with factual, rather than opinion based answers of:

  1. The quality or condition of being masculine.
  2. Something traditionally considered to be characteristic of a male.
  3. The trait of behaving in ways considered typical for men [ant: femininity.

Our fathers recall running down the garden path to meet their “old man” returning from a day’s work, rugged and unkempt.  The breadwinner of the family, who after breaking his back and his spirit everyday at work, came hope expecting his dinner ready for gorging and his paper, pipe and drink ready for afterwards.  The only luxury was soap, you drank and smoke, and you married and had kids.  This is what we hear nowadays from our own misty eyed parents, who complain that it “aint like it used to be”.  How right they are.

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Middle

wrong to hold a door open, pay the cheque or even stand up for a women, they were taking back what wasn’t theirs.  Luckily, not all women cut their hair short and changed their sexual preference to spite the male population, but they did take some bite out of the male’s bark.

Fast-forward to modern day, and masculinity is holding on, albeit in a much reduced state.  Thanks to popular culture and the media, us males can now stand tall (or hunched), with piercings, jewellery and cosmetics a part of our lifestyle, and no one except the elderly it seems will raise an unappreciative glance.  Celebrities such as David Beckham signify the way forward as far as the future of masculinity is concerned.  Beckham himself has opened up new doors, by being both masculine and fashionable in appearance.  But is this new feminist male going too far?

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Conclusion

The future of masculinity looks bleak.  Some feminists often believe men are only the carriers of the seed of life, and if more women use technological advancements such as artificial insemination, the fate of man on this planet may seem to be only that.  Writer Anthony Clare asks the question “Is there anything left of the male role as provider and protector”, a rather depressing but frighteningly truthful outlook.

 And so it seems that as the world progresses through time, the changes will cut through the masculine way of thinking, becoming greater and greater.    

“You can go and drink some beer, and hammer up some dry wall!”  (Courtney Cox’s opinions on men, from a Friends episode)

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