Sep 24, 2013

What Does It Mean to Be a Man in 2013?

"The Cut," the lifestyle blog of New York Magazine, takes a look at the role and value of manhood in our contemporary era.

Citing some fascinating recent examples, author Ann Friedman states, 

What’s striking isn’t the lack of consensus on what defines masculinity now, but the utter confusion about how to go about doing so. That’s because America is finally getting around to having the conversation about what it means to be a man that, decades ago, feminism forced us to have about womanhood. Women still face social consequences when they don’t conform neatly to gender norms, but many of even the most ideologically progressive men are just now starting to talk about how to break with masculine stereotypes and still hang onto a sense of gender identity. Goldberg and Rosin, in using traditional definitions of manhood (the simple, stoic breadwinner), declare him dead, or at least less marketable to advertisers. Men’s magazines, which now peddle facial moisturizers but still often shy away from heartfelt confessionals, have spotted how hard it is for men to balance both embracing and rethinking masculine stereotypes — and they’ve made some attempts to address it, but mostly ended up documenting the confusion.

I actually find this article quite interesting, and particularly germane to the kind of conversations and questions that a site light ManMade (hopefully) brings up: finding the balance between traditional and postmodern masculinity while trying to minimize the problematic elements of both.

Do give it a read, and come back to share your thoughts in the comments below. 

What Does Manhood Mean in 2013? [NYMag.com]


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Brian on Sep 25, 2013:

Thanks Chris! I think I just have a lot of issues with quite a few of the statements and (what I percieve as)assumptions made in the article. I also think the answer more simple than we think  and often complicated by overthinking it. I could very well be wrong in my views (as I have been wrong plenty of times in my life), but I would be free to discuss further and exchange ideas.

Chris on Sep 25, 2013:

Hi Brian - Thanks for weighing in, and sharing your thoughts. I totally hear and respect your point, and I reread the article. I still think there's a really relevant conversation here. This quote sums up the lack of clarity nicely. "Sometimes the thick beard and the artisanal pickax on the mantel betray the fact that — gender enlightenment aside — a man may not be completely ready to abandon the traditional greatness of being a guy. Even if he wanted to, it would be tough to pull off. “How can guys pick themselves up by their bootstraps and bring home the bacon when we're also embracing the idea that everyone is entitled to whatever bacon they want, however they want to get it?” asked my friend Dylan Lathrop. The real challenge is compromise and balance."

But, of course, I absolutely get what you're coming from, and I appreciate your engagement with the content. Thank you. 



Brian on Sep 25, 2013:

I feel that the exert from Ann Friedman misses the mark (unless I am reading it wrong). I don't want to spark a lengthy discussion on the matter, but perhaps the discussion feminists had decades ago is when the confusion on what is means to be a man started. The essence of being a man today is no different that it was 10, 20, or 50 years ago.