Grayson Perry is an English artist known for his ceramic vases and cross-dressing, so says the first line of his wikipedia entry. It should not have to be explained that a real man does not dress up in women’s clothing. But it is symptomatic of our diseased times that a man who pretends to be a woman would be employed to write a continuing series in The Guardian titled, Men discuss what it means to be a man today.
What follows is a series of short excerpts from seven different men on the topic. Here is a brief series of choice quotes from each of them.
Perry underlines his first male choice with the heading, I learned everything I know from my mother. It is not an auspicious beginning.
As a man who grew up in a household with my mum and sister but no dad, I have always been more exposed to women and the more feminine aspects of life than my male friends. I was never taught how to shave, or how to “pick up girls”, or any of the other crap the media generally tells us dads are supposed to teach their children.
So our first example of modern maleness is a poor individual who pours scorn on the notion that having a father is a valuable thing.
Next we have Craig whose title is, Being a man is about showing respect to everyone. I assume that includes transvestite interviewers.
When, as a younger man, I started to date in London turning up with my shoes shined, a decent side parting and a suit and tie on a first encounter I was often scoffed at. I was even laughed at for standing at a table in a restaurant when my date got up to use the rest room.
He goes on to say he was ridiculed for this behavior but he still holds fast to his respectful outlook on others. He has also displayed good knowledge of the 12th trait so he is to be commended for that.
Next we have a man from India.
What it means to be a man depends on the society you live in. I live in a very small town in India and not much has changed over the years in terms of male and female roles. The society I come from is still very patriachal and men are expected to be above women, and anyone who comes in with new ideas about equality is seen as a “sissy”.
I have no doubt that this is a strategic placement by the editors to demonstrate to their readership that there is still so much to be done for equalities the world over. I hope for their sake that they are able to continue to resist.
Next we have our token homosexual.
… take a look through the dating apps, or head out on to the scene, and you’ll find the phrase “masc 4 masc” – gay men making it clear they’re only interested in guys who show no signs of femininity. Many gay men are still, it seems, concerned with adhering to the machismo, desperate to display their masculinity, in compensation for the fact that their sex life makes them feel they’re not “real men”. It’s the remnants of a homophobic society, an internalised homophobia that might soon be a thing of the past.
So there you go. Even gay men are homophobic now. They’re not going to be happy until even their own kind are mincing queers.
Our next man on offer is from Chile.
Unfortunately, being a successful man in the modern world means earning a lot and looking good. Every day we are bombarded with adverts and images of the “perfect man”, who can do whatever he wants because he has money and muscles. In my time being a man was more about protecting your family; now it’s much more superficial. I have changed my behaviour a bit to live up to this, and started to take care of myself a bit more.
Time to move to South America.
Our second last example of a modern man is the saddest of them all.
I class myself as quite confident and “alpha”. I am considerate of all genders, and am a firm advocate for feminism. The idea peddled nowadays that you can either be a new-age man who is sensitive or a cavemanesque alpha is the biggest lie portrayed to young men. You can be both.
Sorry, bud. An advocate for feminism? If alpha is planet Mercury you’re somewhere back beyond Pluto.
Our final example:
Being a modern man is confusing, challenging, and everyone has an opinion, least of all your better half, who – let’s face it – is the opinion you should probably listen to most of all. That’s probably what being a modern man is. Understanding how women think, being emotional yet strong, a listener, a gentleman, a chef, a mechanic, and ultimately a role model to the next generation of men coming through.
Was he worried that his wife was going to read this or is this how he really thinks? I feel somewhat depressed and sad for some of these guys. They don’t know what it means to be a man, they’re confused and lost, but they’re trying to do their best in a world that has swept the rug out from under them.
It is deplorable that their issues have been so actively mocked by The Guardian in this way. Sending out a transvestite to interview them on this topic is demeaning and insulting to all men. Modern men are lost, at least in The West. Articles like this triumphantly rub our faces in it.
Piece by piece we must reclaim what it really means to be a man.