Thursday, September 09, 2004

Early this year, the Orlando Sentinel ran a story about the new, sensitive Brawny Man. It was an interesting bit about the rise of kinder, gentler masculinity, made all the more interesting by the reaction in the story from Susan Faludi (of Backlash fame) who made this prediction:
In the past where there have been efforts to show a caring man or a Mister Mom, the popular culture has a very low threshold ... They'll have one or two Mister Moms and the media will be filled with stories about how the sensitivity of the politically correct male has gone too far. Then we'll be treated to a wave of trend stories saying 'Real men are back.' So I predict next year you'll be doing a story on a brawny Brawny Man.
I wrote that I didn't share Faludi's point of view. Us new-era Brawny Men were here to stay, I said.

But I saw one heck of a backlash piece in the New York Observer. (The piece ran in July, and I noticed it a couple of weeks ago, but the link was broken, for some reason.) The title: "Stuff It, Emo Boy." The bottom line: sensitive guys were on the rise (the article calls it a "rampant spread") and a pain in the ass for Manhattan women to date. Now I don't have a lot of experience with the Observer -- it has kick-ass media commentary (see this wonderful piece on Caitlin Flanagan) -- but I don't know much about the rest of the publication.

The "emo boy" story is long and littered with cutting comments from women disgusted with their emotionally in-touch boyfriends. There are a few folks thrown in there to argue that guys like this are what women keep asking for, but the article doesn't pretend to stay above the fray. I don't want to pretend that every new-age man is a riot to be with or that "bad boys" aren't worth dating. But the three authors take it a step further: they clearly believe that sensitive guys -- up to and including model husband/rock star Chris Martin -- are a menace. That Gwyneth must have a rough life living with that stroller-pushing wussy.

Fortunately, the times they are a changing. Thanks to Evan at Dads on the Couch for sharing a bit from his elementary school newsletter on how great it is that more dads are getting involved at school (and giving suggestions on further involvement). I can't seem to dig up the link, but I'll post it as soon as I find it.


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