A man's man or a softer side?

Shane Warne: a grooming too far? ©Chris Brown

He holds the door open for you, pays for your meal and walks you to your door. His appearance is impeccable, his manner unflawed. This is a man’s man – loosely defined as a strong masculine figure, gentlemanly and polite. In modern times of equality and rights campaigns, is a man’s man still what women want, or do we prefer a fashionable alternative?

There seems to be something of a compliment in referring to someone as a man’s man, and perhaps it has been the aim of past generations to achieve this title – fulfilling their ‘duties’, looking after ‘their’ women and gaining the respect of fellow men. This image of a man is no longer something women desire, and evidently bringing home the bacon is not a requirement of the modern man.

Macho stereotypes of strength and authority are forgotten traits of the past. Today we are flooded with images of the skinny-jean clad, eyeliner-wearing man, in touch with his feminine side and able to quietly blubber after watching The Notebook. Sensitivity is becoming all the more attractive, and what was once socially unacceptable behaviour for men is actually now considered appealing. However, there are still a select few of us who believe that cosmetics (especially fake tan!) and men should not mix – a line into femininity that should not be crossed.

Alas, it is no longer necessary for a man to walk a girl home at night, no longer needed for a man to pick you up before a date, and perhaps most significantly, no longer required for man to protect a woman. Of course there are still men who do these things, but in my experience it is becoming a rarity. Over the last century, attitudes have changed immensely, and views of gender equality have vastly improved; but how is it that we have lost some of our charming and quaint traditions in doing this?

It seems ironic to me, that in trying to create an even playing field for men and woman, this has somehow translated into a lack of respect for women. This irony also lies in the fact that the term ‘a man’s man’, has also been used to describe the ‘players’ of our era. Boys (interestingly I don’t want to use the word men here) that go out and compete to see how many numbers they can get, how many women they can ‘pull’ and how many they can get away without seeing again. Definitely not how I would describe gentlemanly and polite behaviour

It’s hard to know where the balance is, if men should play up to the man’s man, or be the more sensitive character. Could a man be both, or are they mutually exclusive? The impression I get overall is that women do want a man’s man. Just a modified up to date version of one, without the embedded sexist attitudes and with the ability to venture into the world of sensitivity on occasion, but not to live there!



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