Lately there have been a low rumble emanating from the deep repressed souls of some men regarding their place and image in society. As per usual the narrative seemed to mainly revolve around the Caucasian male and his diminishing privileged status in the new world order. Rarely does it include men from other ethnic groups such as the Asian continent, or the men of North East Africa (middle East) and their own uncertainty in a world were women are rightfully taking back their right to own their bodies mind and even their lives. However, when the narrative comes around to African men and their century long loss of dignity, manhood and place in the old world, much less the new one being crafted in secret places, our story is rarely told. If we have been paying attention we would have heard for years, how the media have delivered the direst of prognoses, that men or the defining “thing” that makes a man are “in decline.” Articles such as “guys are getting stiffed,” the “war on boys” has begun, to name a few have been put out there dealing with the subject. Atlantic magazine’s online edition, The Atlantic went so far as to declare that “The End of Men” is upon us.
Now many prognotists have insisted that as the U.S. economy transitioned from brawn to brain over the past three decades, the country has seen a growing number of women going off to work. Men’s ( mainly Caucasians) share of the labor force has declined from 70 percent in 1945 to less than 50 percent today, and in the country’s biggest cities, young, single, childless women—that is, the next generation—earn 8 percent more than their male peers. Women have matched or overtaken men as a percentage of students in college and graduate school, while men have retained their lead in alcoholism, suicide, homelessness, violence, and criminality. Factor in the Great Recession, which has decimated male-heavy industries like construction and manufacturing, and it’s no wonder so many anthropologists are down on men. But while the state of American manhood has inspired plenty of anxious trendy pieces, few observers have bothered to address the obvious question: if men are unsure of their manhood, how do they regain it?
Well with the increased interest or re-interest in sporting events like mixed martial arts,boxing, the jack ass series of nonsense as examples, some men have turned to old models and mores of manhood for salvation. Men such as Rutgers University anthropologist Lionel Tiger, wants to reclaim “maleness as a force, as a phenomenon”, into a trend again. Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield advocates action and aggression. And the term “retrosexual” has all but replaced “metrosexual”, whatever the hell that meant, in the lifestyle sections of national magazines, which are full of stories about affluent urbanites (read Caucasians) wearing hunting garb, buying designer axes, and writing about the art of manliness on blogs with names like… the Art of Manliness. Throwback masculinity dominates other media as well, with The Dangerous Book for Boys and Shop Class as Soulcraft topping reading lists, and television shows such as Dirty Jobs, Ax Men,and Deadliest Catch re-romanticizing soot-collared work. A rapper’s saggy jeans, a hunter’s concealed weapon, a suburbanite’s man cave, a hipster’s obsession with Don Draper: all might be seen as variations of the same coping mechanism. The impulse does transcends ethnicity and class.
I wanted to write this piece because i tend to get flack from my female associates who feel that they must always comment negatively on how i look, when i grow out my beard. You see my beard would never be confused for a barber shop constructed special. More like Kimbo slice. Also the fact that while i am not the characture of the hyper masculine male, i tend to reject the acts i see put on by some kats, trying to down play being manly to make women comfortable ., and refuse to hide that fact. However, as i grew older and somewhat wiser and instead of getting pissed at them and telling them to mind their own business, i lectured them on the reality of how up until the early 80’s one of the more obvious signs of manliness in the side of the world was a full beard, less fighting for cosmetic space with a woman and acting all apologetic for being male.
This got me thinking on why so many women and men become confused about what a real man’s image is about. And not just his image but how he acts outside of his house. Yeah! Real man. Not a gangsta, but not that fellow from that show staring Dianna Ross’s daughter either. I realized that the media as usual is tasked with implementing what the coordinators of the Matrix design for most folks, so of course they’re going to influence us in to what a safe African man is about. At the same time i am well aware of how the image you see of African men have changed in the music Industry as well as holly weird. I once heard somebody say that the last examples of the image of African masculinity, was Teddy Pendergrass and Bob Marley.
Teddy Pendergrass – Turn Off The Lights
I know some people question his sexuality, but he sure held it down in his time.
Marvin Gaye – Lets get it on
It’s interesting that he was so confused about his masculinity, but when you grew up in the church with a hyper stern cross dressing father as a minister, hell can happen,
Bob Marley & the Wailers — Turn Your Lights Down Low
Are there much more examples of a hyper male than a Rasta man? Yet women tend to love that masculinity. Are they subconsciously telling the Oprah’s of the world something?
Isaac Hayes “Our Day Will Come” (1970)
Don’t know much about this kat either than him belonging to Scientology, but I won’t hate.
Mow contrast the above men with the next dude. This is what a lot of men tried to be like in the 80’s and some what the 90’s. Kat’s talented as hell, great musician and performer, but what does it say about women who cleave to that image, not the musician…the image?.
Prince – If i was your girlfriend
If I was your girlfriend is this what every homosexual tries to tell African women? …why? To meet their brothers, boyfriends or husbands? to learn how to be more women than they should be?
Prince- Do Me Baby
Just wonder what a song like this would be like if song by a more masculine looking man?
Anyway the next video is a short documentary I found on you tube that can be a talking point at the barbershop or after a a game of basketball. Check it out.
Barack & Curtis: Manhood, Power & Respect