Thursday, January 09, 2014

Notes on Looking Good, part 5

Part 4.

In this concluding part, I want to go over the "masculinity" or "femininity" in one's appearance.

I find that fashion and trends, over the last few decades, have somehow veered toward androgyny.  Female models don't have curves, and male models don't have hair.  Long hair on women is becoming less and less common, and more and more males are becoming "metro-sexual" (indulging in manicures/pedicures/facials/bleaching/waxing).

There are reasons for both trends.  The virus of feminism has made women believe that acting like women is to be inferior.  The desk jobs, lack of exercise, an increasingly politically correct and censored climate, and a paucity of ways to be one's own master and to find one's own way has made men psychologically effeminate.

Some scientific studies point to an alarming trend of decreasing testosterone and increase in estrogen levels in the population as a whole, due to a proliferation of estrogenic chemicals in our food and body care products.

It would seem obvious to a psychologist that what attracts a man to a woman is her womanliness, and what attracts a woman to a man is his manliness.  So, leaving aside the chemical onslaught of estrogen, why are, for instance, men willing to shave their chest hair?  I can understand a man who has too much hair trimming it down, but what's the explanation for the shaving or waxing of a man's body?

I am not sure, but I have a few hypotheses.  First, in the absence of real expressions of one's masculinity, "sculpting" one's body has become a fad.  A muscle-bound body is increasingly considered a key component in a man's attractiveness.  It didn't use to be so.  Film heroes and models before 1950 were not muscle bound, certainly not to the extent we see today.  It used to be common only for bodybuilders.  Today, body-building is a sine qua non for celebrities.

Secondly, the infiltration of mass media in every home has meant that people are more and more influenced by what they see in celebrities.  A celebrity, having had a personal trainer, wants to show off his muscles and shaves/waxes his body.  That is what becomes the new currency of attractiveness.

Thirdly, pampering one's body like a woman, and keeping one's body hair-free is expensive.  It shows status.  It probably started with only the rich shaving themselves everyday, while the working class didn't have the time or the money and always carried a bit of stubble or a mustache.

And lastly, I believe urban/feminist women find metro-sexuality more comfortable and acceptable than a rugged masculinity.  It is less threatening, and shows that the man is "hip", "urbane", "fashionable" and is one who "takes care of himself".  Also, it shows that the man has a level of affluence that he can afford to be this way.  A rugged man might find himself being considered unfashionable and "cheap" in a nightclub.  Since men in cities want to be approved and chosen by women, they will do whatever they think is going to win them points.

Also, the social climate is increasingly becoming a celebration of femininity and a demonization of masculinity. To be seen as a traditional male is to invite a labeling of being a "MCP" or a misogynist or a patriarch or worse.  This is a more complex topic than can be covered in this essay, but in essence, "manliness" is under attack.

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