Sunday, August 21, 2011

Twelve. Reset the Counter.

I've felt cooler and sexier the past week than I think I've felt in a long time. An increase in alcoholic intake may or may not have something to do with it.

I will also blame an increase in time spent with friends — I saw both Jeremy and Laura during the week, though unfortunately not together (hopefully to be remedied this coming week?), as well as getting the chance to help Claire celebrate her American citizenship. And, more directly, I can attribute the feeling to seeing more live music this week than I have in a long time. I got to be a minor groupie Saturday afternoon/evening, and felt utterly awesome for it.

The groupie thing led to dinner, which led to drinking, which led to a discussion of a project that actually has my interest piqued. I hope it honestly had his piqued, too. We shall see, and at least it's something else to look forward to, on top of everything else September has in store for me.

At any rate, there was a column on the Huffington Post recently (someone on Facebook linked to it, I'm terribly not a regular Huff-Po reader my self) about the disappearance of the "tough girl". And of course, as a woman who knits, cooks and takes Krav Maga, I took a bit of offense (as did pretty much all the commenters). I do think that there has been a shift back towards the home in terms of redefining womanhood, but considering that the home is still the basic unit of what communities and nations are composed of, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

But on top of that, I think Ms. Aloi, the columnist, misses an important point: women (and we're talking about Western First World women, of course) aren't the only ones "losing their toughness", if they are even doing such a thing. In fact, they'd be losing it far less rapidly than their male counterparts. Men can cry now, and that's all dandy, but I get the impression more and more than it also gives men an incentive to keep feeling entitled to being taken care of by society and other people. He goes out to restaurants more because that means he doesn't have to learn how to cook for himself. He doesn't have to be macho anymore, which means he can let his beard grow out and develop the watery lank musculature of the walking-not-working man. He can have an entire wardrobe of t-shirts with 80s cartoon characters on them. Taking care of himself involves paying someone else to launder his Nordstrom Rack purchases, having a maid over to clean his apartment once a week, and keeping his mustache trimmed all by himself. Violence is a big no-no, and guns are scary and should be banned. Don't forget to admire the new electronic toy he just bought, it comes in pretty colors.

Yes, women are going along the same route. But why not talk about the supposedly-true toughies, the men, doing this, before we bemoan the death of G.I. Jane?

By the way, yes I know I'm criticizing really only one group of men. But Ms. Aloi's article seems to really only be criticizing that same group of women.

1 comment:

gm/ny said...

Good post, Kent, and great link. I don't actually disagree much with Ms. Aloi, but I feel like a lot of the arguments are essentially a rehash of the old "Sex in the City" is destroying the feminist movement argument. That being said, there does feel like more of a shift from a woman living in herself and not at the mercy of societal pressures to have kids, be a homemaker, etc. I do think that has been lost some from my own generation (it sometimes feels like the whole riot grrl thing was a cruel, harsh joke).

As for the issue with men, I think I remember reading an article on this shortly after Blue Valentine was released. Basically, men, trying to prove they're not the Mailers and Updikes of Roths of their forefathers have been, in fiction, much more whiny, much more needy, and showing this newfound respect through the symbolic act of cunnilingus. If I could find the link, I'd post it. But I'm sure you can imagine what happens when you google search "cunnilingus."