What Ever Happened To Men?
A helluva lot, and nothing. It’s a matter of perspective and each man defining himself as the times change seemingly faster by the hour.
I was part of the team that came up with the ad campaign for 1800 tequila that asked, “what ever happened to tequila?” Now, two years and one advertising agency later, the campaign revolves around the phrase, “what ever happened to?’. There is one execution focused on men and according to the brand, how soft they’ve become. It’s a timely and multifaceted issue. With so much focus placed on women and their overdue recognition, maybe it’s time that we devote a Guy’s Guy column to exploring how we perceive modern man.
Is James Bond a reflection of the social position of men?
In some ways, you could make that argument. Back in the late eighties Timothy Dalton played a new, more sensitive James Bond. He reflected a softening of the macho side of men. But, after few years he was replaced by a more action oriented Pierce Brosnan. This guy was born to play Bond. Handsome as a devil, suave, smooth, and British. Bond was now back to where he needed to be. But was he? In many ways, Brosnan worked for the female moviegoers, but Brosnan did not necessarily connect for men or for Ian Fleming, the writer who created this famous character. More recently a feral Daniel Craig took the reigns as Bond and the franchise was reborn. Yeah, this guy is not so damn pretty and he kicks ass. The point is, our society places men under the microscope, and every time we try to soften them up so they’re more user friendly, those underlying animal qualities are missed and we insist that the inner male again be unleashed.
But what about right now?
In 2012 we are at a crossroads in redefining and reinterpreting men. On one hand we have MMA, misogynistic music, big booty worship, and buzz cuts galore. On the flip side we have metrosexuals, bromances, mantyhose, mangagement rings, he-waxes, guylons, broisery, mandals, and he-tards. What’s going on? It’s all good, but that’s how all over the place we are about men and their changing roles.
What can we do?
It helps knowing that women care about guys. But it is up to the individual male to determine his identity. That means being open, but not blindly yielding to outside pressure about how to feel, act, or express himself as a man. Guys can start addressing the craziness by looking inside. It’s the first step in understanding yourself and defining the outside. Just because we live in a crazy, confused world, it is not acceptable for men to “hate” each other or women. It’s about coexistence, not competition.
It’s not easy, but this is a perfect time for men to step forward and lead by example. Leading is not standing in front of women. It’s standing beside them and respecting all genders, races, and religions.
As your resident Guy’s Guy, I think that this is a wonderful time for men to be…men. And it’s important that women understand the current assault on masculinity and help their guys behave like men. Women need to be patient, understanding, yet clear in their expectations of the men in their life.
Are you giving your man the opportunity to be the man you want him to be?