Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Closing Scope of Masculinity

Imagine a man with a sleek mustache, a boater with a ribbon, a pink ascot, and a cream, well-tailored, three piece suit. A hipster seeking a classy sugar daddy, right? Nope! Up until WWII, our dapper friend here was the height of masculinity! You may not believe it but, in the early 1900's, pink was a very masculine color.

Unless you were alive at the time (I tip my boater to you if you were), check up some gif.s and YouTube videos of The Beatles early in their career. Watch A Hard Day's Night. Pretty gay, right? Nope! That was masculine fifty years ago. Granted, this is Europe we're dealing with but I think we can let that slide.

Masculinity has gone through drastic changes in a relatively short amount of time, these examples are only an obvious few. Pat Boone, Mike Douglas, Bill Shirley and other suave singers in the 50's had no cause to doubt their manhood; but a man who sings about dreams and his heart flying with joy today just sounds fruity. Not only have the social standards for masculinity changed, but the scope of it has changed over time as well.

Mark Hamil has noted that, in thirty years' time, his action figures have gained at least fifty pounds in muscle. As the Y chromosome shrinks, so shrinks standards for masculinity. It's become a competition of manhood, with more and more men's archetypes falling into girly territory. When an individual man asserts his machismo to the point of emasculating others, it's pretty obvious that he's insecure in his own manhood. On such a cultural scale, though, could insecurity alone have brought about the closing gates of masculinity?

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