Masculinity and the look
I’ve been having some thoughts in relation to the Girl Role, the theme that I started last week.
I was watching Twin Peaks the other day and there’s an episode where a guy is disguised as a woman. It was remarkable just how much like a woman he looked, and how gorgeous he looked as a woman.
Analytically, he hadn’t even gone through a big transformation. He had a wig on, and some makeup, and an ill-fitting skirt suit. And it really makes you wonder- is this how we view women? How can a man, just with some basic grooming, look like a woman to us? Do men look so similar to women, physically?
The answer is yes and no. Men don’t look that similar to women, but the difference is not (or should not be) grooming. We’ve been trained to associate a made up appearance with "woman" and a natural appearance with "man", and we've become so attached to this image that we don't recognise a man unless he is devoid of this level of grooming, and vice versa.
I find this really interesting, and a little odd. Surely it should be obvious to us that a man is a man, even if he's wearing female clothes. Why are we so blinded by ornamental decoration? Have we lost our sense of perception?
Most paradoxically: Grooming and fashion are not inherently « female ». Men did it first, they wore the first skirts, the first heels, and the first batches of makeup. The fact that these are now worn by women is merely a trend. The fact that it’s become the definition of female, and male must be the opposite, is illogical.
I guess the reason to be pushing this image is consumerism: We live in a culture that is ruled by the needs of marketing, and the more specific, the easier it is to advertise. Masculine and feminine are commercial terms, they are both a product and a segment, so they must be kept viciously separate. This happens in all areas of our lives, we categorise ourselves, we live in a society of hashtags. Women were assigned the role of "flowers" and marketing has pushed it to the extreme. Men have been given the opposite "look", one of absolute simplicity.
But I think this polarity between male and female, that is so absurd and superficial, is an obstacle to progress for both men and women. Progress can't happen within this stiffness. Already we have reached the extreme: Women look like perennial fifteen year old cupcakes, and men look like they’re off to cut trees.
Yes it is starting to flow a little, with men now allowed to access facial products and such, but the perspective is still way wrong, we are full of preconceptions. I've spoken about how it affects women. And it's worrying how it must be affecting men.
Let it be said, that masculinity comes through in the mood and the walk and the tone and the wrists and the base of the neck. I’ve had incredible connections with men whose hair is long and their necks sweet-smelling. I found them quite hot. When these men grab your arm, there is nothing feminine about it. When they kiss you, it is not like kissing a girl. There is nothing particularly feminine about them. Whatever they do with their appearance, a man can always be man enough.
Let men be men through real ways. There’s so many noble traits that men can cultivate, like physical abilities, intellectuality, leadership. Patience, stillness, focus are qualities that I seek in men. If the man looks pretty, all the better for me. I guess that's a matter of preference.
But decoration is not a girl thing, and hairstyle and nail lacquer shouldn’t affect our perception of a person so strongly. It shouldn't be an obligation for women, or a taboo for men.
Essentially, decoration is a way of emphasizing sexuality- in men, women, indistinctively. We all find it attractive on us and on the opposite gender. The fact that it’s become synonymous to female, is a cultural trend- it’s made up. It limits us, and destroys the real differences between men and women, reducing them to artifice or lack thereof.
The shallowness of this reality is daunting.
PS- Some of the photos on the right are of Andrej Pejic, who I often took as a great example of a guy in women's grooming who looks hot. But he's now transexual so...slightly off topic. I still wanted to use his pictures cause I love him/her look a lot.