The Role of Femininity and the Masculine Man

In today’s American culture, men are regularly faced with a new challenge: figuring out how to define themselves beyond our outdated, gender polarized society. One incentive to this challenge is the liberation of the idea that self-care and maintenance are strictly acceptable for women.

Some men are decidedly incorporating feminine care routines into their everyday masculine lifestyles. For many this would be a common-sense practice since hygiene and appearance are more important for men than they used to be in the past.

“I don’t consider myself feminine just because I like to keep up with myself,” Travis Edwards said, a Stephen F. Austin graduate, “I have bushy eyebrows so I get them done just about as often as I go to the barbershop for a haircut, maybe even more so.”

Taking part in this trend of trimming and shaping one’s eyebrows is as commonplace, now, in the masculine culture as it is in its not-so-opposite feminine counterparts.

According to an article published on Oprah.com titled Why Men Are Becoming More Like Women, “To know a culture, look to its heroes… even our entertainment heroes have lost their masculine muscle. Arnold, Bruce and Stallone are long gone from the screen… Instead, our leading men are the likes of Zac Efron who now has to sing and dance charmingly to earn our affection.”

The fact that our new-age masculine role models and heroes are blurring the lines of what is manly and what’s not is helping to ease the divide between what’s acceptable of men and what’s not.

“My skin is a big problem for me,” said Bryan Cooksey, Texas Southern University Journalism Sophomore, “I need and use all kinds of products if I want to keep my skin smooth and clear. This routine isn’t something I consider to be feminine, though, it’s necessary for me so it must be masculine to some degree, right?”

Who wouldn’t agree with that logic? Self-care in the masculine community is rapidly growing but what do our women think of this softer side of American men?

“I love that my boyfriend takes care of himself,” said Angelique’ Whitehurst, hair stylist at Visible Changes, “I mean the manly rugged look will always be attractive but there’s a way to pull that look off and still be clean and well put together. I don’t want to have to remind my boyfriend that he needs to cut his nails or wash his hair so I’m glad it’s important enough for him to always be on top of his own routines.”

There are still a few individuals, however, that don’t seem to share the same opinion as these progressive men.

“There’s a difference between hygiene and being feminine,” said Tahara Garrett, Stephen F. Austin graduate, “showering regularly and brushing your teeth is cool but I’m not comfortable with going to a salon with my man and getting our eyebrows done together or getting manicures and pedicures with him.”

No matter what your opinion of this new and progressive trend is, at the very least you can appreciate that men partaking in the traditions of women is a hint that we’re moving in the right direction. No longer are we working with the stigma of “boys don’t cry” or “whiskey on the rocks.” Men are able to enjoy a good cry or an overpriced fruity drink while they are admired for their perfectly shaped eyebrows and that’s something to celebrate considering we’ve come a long way.

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