A crisis of masculinity

21Sep05

This weekend I read a number of seemingly unrelated things that all managed to strike a single chord – our society is having a crisis of masculinity. No one is sure what manly is anymore. Not in the states, at least.

it began with starting generation kill, which is turning out to be an amazing book – thanks johnny. When evan introduces us to the marines he’s embeddedwith and their culture, at first I was a bit shocked. Taken aback after living in the land of political correctness and peaceniks. But most the guys are smarter and more aware than they first sound and I cometo realize these guys have no fear of speaking their mind. These elite recon troops spend their time alternately bonding with and kick the asses of their platoon. The two become inextricably intertwined. This is the masculine culture of old. And this is the last group of men who society says can keep this alive.

but what about the rest of us? I mean I do fight and bond with a group of guys. But it’s not the same. Or reading about the recons I don’t think it’s the same. I guess I’m out to push myself like they do, but for less altruistic purposes. These guys understand they are the last spartans. I live in and condone a culture of materialism. I buy
things. Not as much as some but more than I could survive with, for sure.

owning thing has become the new way we prove our value as a man. That’s not really new. Hell, that’s what mishima was so upset about back in the 70s. Still, we are at a loss for how to define masculinity in this age with no physical proof of it being a part of the culture.

so straight men turn to traditionally gay methods of it and then feel like they have to defend themselves as still being straight, which was the focus of a very short piece in details this month. I haven’t picked up details in years but I was shocked to find a bunch of articles that would have been really interesting if they weren’t so goddamn short. No article in that magazine takes longer than a shit to read. Is that on purpose? Anyhow they had a piece on how words like metrosexual were the new homophobia. Prescient.

so I’m coming home from reading all these things on the train that runs from the ball park to my house. The game had just let out and the train was packed with families dressed in black and orange. The dad with two kids seated in front of me had the young one on his lap and the older standing next to them. Dad’s holding the younger captive and what does the older bro do? Gives him a kiss on the forehead. It probably would have been cute under different conditions but what I really needed to see was a little rough housing. Dennis Leary used to always say that with all the touchy feely crap in homes and schools now, that we were raising a generation of pussies. And I think it happened. All the post modern politically correct crap my generation grew up with created a generation of emasculated men. Now we see the next generation going either further (the emo / indie boys) or rebelling against it and becoming the freakin trenchcoat mafia or the yahoos who beat homos and blacks to death.

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