by Eoin Molloy
When delivering a sermon in 1635 at the funeral of a local nobleman in Baena, Spain, the Dominican Priest Francisco de Leon began a scathing attack on the men of his day. He said: ‘Where are the men in Spain? What I see are effeminate men, men converted into women, men who take pleasure only when eating, drinking or dressing expensively.’
Four hundred years later, and more than a few hundred miles north, the same problem is recurring in modern-day Britain and Ireland. In recent years, the traditional ideas of what it means to be a man have been casually eroded by pervading social influences like the hit TV shows Geordie Shore and The Only Way Is Essex. Shows like these, when watched on a large scale as they are, are a damaging influence on the conventional view of so-called manliness.
Take any nightclub scene: just a few years ago you would likely be surrounded by sweaty, unshaven men in shirts, jeans and brown shoes. Men like these were not judged on their ability to ‘pull’, ‘smash’ or ‘buck’ girls, rather by how funny, personable and charming they were. The old ideals of male attractiveness have been tossed aside. Nowadays, one is likely to be surrounded by tank top-wearing, jagerbomb-guzzling muscle-heads with egos as swelled as their steroid-fuelled muscle mass.
At face value, this seems not to be a bad thing, but rather a balancing of gender roles. Thanks to waxed chests and shaped eyebrows, men are arguably as likely to be objectified as women are. An example of that fact can clearly be seen when tanned, aesthetically-pleasing airheads like Joey Essex are held up as something to be desired rather than admired. While this is all well-and-good, there are certainly better ways to balance gender discrimination. Rather than judging all humans based on their looks, we should aim to judge them on the content of their character.
On top of that, gym culture isn’t such a bad thing after-all. I mean, glorifying sculpted physiques may have adverse psychological effects on men down the road, but it is certainly a sure-fire way to combat widespread obesity amongst a younger, largely sedentary generation. The catalyst of this movement are powder forms of protein, a fast-growing industry that is worth over 300 million pounds in Britain alone (Vice, 2013).
The next question is whether the balancing of sexual objectification and positive physical effects of this movement outweigh the negative implications it is surely having. Vanity is surely an issue, with more and more men admitting to using hygiene products than ever before, not to mention the popularity of cancerous tanning salons.
Arrogance and unashamed ego is one of the most commonly-applied problems to this group of metro sexual vest wearers. The common perception of ‘haters’ being one’s ‘motivators’ is a completely skewed bit of life advice that accurately sums up this type of modern man. The idea that people hate you out of jealousy or because they are ‘miring’ you, is utter fallacy. Sorry guys, but people generally only hate other people because of the way they act.
Also, they usually attach their self-worth to the amount of women they ‘buck’. This may manifest itself as insecurity over time, if the aforementioned ‘buck squad’ do not acquire ample females whom they may ‘buck’ (God I hate that word). This arrogance causes previously-normal groups of young lads to act as though they are being followed around by a film crew for their very own reality TV show, as they sculpt their orange bodies, straighten their hair and shop for new fabulous plunge-neck t-shirts.
At the end of the day, the average member of society is not a ‘hater’ of the modern hyper -charged metro sexual man, partially because they do not wish to inadvertently become their motivators, but mainly because they recognise that these men are a product of the system.
In the last few decades, men have come to terms with the fact that women are equal in ability and intelligence to men, thus doing away with the perception that a man must be the breadwinner. This has, in a sense, freed men. They are no longer forced to look like Sean Connery to be considered attractive, and have instead repackaged themselves to look like overly-sexualised Dwayne Johnsons with spiky hair.
Also, faith in traditional institutions like politics has been undermined, causing young males to draw aspiration from elsewhere. Nowadays, most lads would rather be Mario Balotelli or Gaz than David Cameron or Enda Kenny. With the exposure of widespread corruption and perceived ineffectiveness of the political system, it’s not hard to see why. This phenomenon explains the glorification of physical fitness over intellectual ability.
The route problem here is that this is a generation of males without cause. There is no great war to go off and fight, no evils to combat. The Great Recession has lead to the demise of many traditionally-male industries like factory-work, construction and agriculture. This leaves many of our young males without a job, and therefore without any other source of fulfillment other than dolling themselves up and heading ‘out on that toon’. Even if they do have jobs, they are likely forced to be contented with monotonous, servile jobs in retail and hospitality.
Essentially, the buff, tanned, selfie-taking, pouting male is a being without a purpose outside of self-preservation and enjoyment. There is no evil at work here, just idleness and boredom. And before you ask, the author of this article does lift, just not weights.