Friday, November 09, 2007

Where are the Masculinists?

We have Feminists, but what is the equivalent in the male world? There is no such word.

Most of today’s women dress in fashionable clothes and do all they can to look their best. The way men used to dress. It is all about self-esteem, feeling good about yourself.

Back in the 1940s and 1950s men dressed with style, wore suits, ties, and hats. Even into the 1970s, men wore stylish clothes, with close fitting shirts and pants, showing off their bodies with pride.

I’m not sure what happened between the mid 1980s and now, but today the average American man has to be the worst dressed in the world. Not only the worst dressed, but in the poorest physical condition.

I am not just talking about middle aged men here, I mean guys in their twenties. It is a fact that the US Military has a hard time finding recruits in acceptable physical condition.

Have you also noticed how men are constantly ridiculed and put down in television commercials, and sit-coms? If women were portrayed with such negativity, there would be public outcry. And it is a standing joke that the only men who care about their appearance are gay men.

The sad thing is, this has become accepted. I look around me and I see young men, in their twenties, bordering on obesity, dressed in shorts and an old tee shirt. No thought what-so-ever put to a hairstyle, and invariably wearing a sun visor, indoors, at night.

Their girl friend on the other hand, is slim, attractive, and extremely well dressed. I am not saying there are not obese women out there, but I see a lot of young girls in their teens or twenties out running or jogging. It is on rare occasions I will see a young man of similar age exercising.

So why should today’s twenty something male even make the effort to stay in shape, if he can still get a girl friend? If you are obese in your twenties, you are going to have serious health problems by the time you reach forty.

Diabetes, heart disease, and now even cancer are linked to obesity. You will probably die in your fifties. So if you are twenty-five and obese, consider yourself middle aged.

Everything worthwhile in life takes a degree of effort. It definitely takes effort to exercise and become physically fit, and having done that, how much extra effort is to take the time to dress in stylish clothes.

But my old tee shirt, baggy shorts, and flip-flops, are comfortable, you say. Let me ask you this; how would you feel if women, started dressing in this fashion? No make-up, or hair style, no attractive shoes and clothes. For me the world would become a dull and less beautiful place.

Would you like to live in a society where everyone, men and women, dressed in the same drab uniform? Don’t you think a little quality of life would disappear? A man can dress casually and for comfort, without looking like a slob.

It will probably be another 50, or even a hundred years before men wake up, and realize what has happened to them. Men will be where women were a hundred years ago. Maybe then, there will be a masculinist movement.

In the mean time it is up to the individual; get on a bicycle and loose some weight. There is no greater feeling in the world than the feeling of being physically fit. In addition, it is all about self-esteem and feeling good about yourself.

Once you are in good physical shape, go out and get some fashionable clothes. Dress like a movie star, and you will feel like one. I guarantee you will become successful in every aspect of your life.

An attractive, fit, healthy person dressed well will always turn heads. That goes for men as well as women.

Addendum: Before you post further comment on this piece, read my response to the comments posted so far.


27 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have a misconception that will have horrible consequences (well, a "blogstorm in a bottle" scale anyway).

Feminism (the belief that women are equal to men) has nothing to do with fashion. It's opposite is male chauvinism. Male equivalent to feminism does not exist because the majority of people in our culture never thought that women would be superior to men.

Anonymous said...

Even if I ignore the terminology mistage, this must be the worst blog post you have made so far. You haven't lived through it. You are not a psychologist. You do not have the qualifications to pull "silver bullets" out of thin air.

Getting fit and well dressed does not change the personality. One does not become a winner through buying fashion, just the same low self esteemed loser in nice clothes.

I'm not fat but I have other physical qualities that made me a target of bullying as a kid. Because of that I am very shy and have a low self esteem (and a wife, kids and a bloody well paying job as a computer nerd). No amount of clothes will change that. I would just be worrying to death about whether I have the "right" fashion or not.

Pam said...

Actually, there is a National Organization for Men (http://www.orgformen.org/) that addresses some of the issues that you have raised - it's just that men have not supported it in the way that women (and men) have supported NOW. (And I would agree with the following statement by 'anonymous': "Male equivalent to feminism does not exist because the majority of people in our culture never thought that women would be superior to men." Relative to it's lower profile, the same is perhaps true for NOM?

Anonymous said...

Seems like a pretty shallow view of life. I wouldn't judge what "women" are like by a few carefully selected (and perhaps even staged in some cases) photos of relatively young, pretty women on a internet blog. That's just entertainment, and as such, it's much like the rest of the entertainment world where everything is young, healthy and good-looking.

bikepennst8 said...

just because some of the terminology isnt spot on, doesnt mean he doesnt have a point...

double negative... I know.

but regardless, men are encouraged to be lazy through the media more than women. look at any commercial "couple" - bigger guy with a small cute girl. or like on the King of Queens show.

Anonymous said...

Dave, you did it again. Exactly the subject I've discussed with numerous other friends, both male and female.

The problems are much more than clothes though as I'm sure you know. Having four sons, I've witnessed the power of silly peer pressure and lazy habits. Unfortunately, these negatives are reinforced by many mindless tech toys and lower societal standards.

One of my older sons (25) rides his bikes daily and has yet to own/lease a car as a TX resident. He tells me the problems are quite serious and most friends his age refuse to grow up.

Endless battle...
Jack

johnb said...

Wouldn't a Male Chauvinist Pig be the counterpart to a Feminist?

As for men not caring what they look like anymore, I believe they're being misled by the mass media and TV commercials as to what they ought to look like. How else could you explain the messy hair and 2-day stubble look that is now so popular? Nobody could have come up with that on their own without being told that's what they're supposed to look like to be "in".

Marrock said...

I always found it (not very) amusing that on a network that bills itself as "television for women" they have shows about health, exercise, issues that effect women, and things like that, and then you hit another network that bills itself as "Man TV" and all you get is boobs, guns, explosions, and steroid cases beating the snot out of each other.

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Rarely do I ever see young guys in their 20's out riding. I see lots of women however, and they are strong riders--stronger than me I know that!

That's why I like to be clean shaven on the commute to the office--in the event one might slow down long enough to chat with me!

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

YOU DAMN KIDS WITH YOUR INTERTUBES AND YOUR NAPSTERPODS! GET OFF MY LAWN!

and that's not even addressing the egregiously, aggressively stupid "masculinist" issue. there are no "masculinists" because men have, throughout the history of western civilization, been the people who hold the reins of power. for the same reason, the "national association for the advancement of white people" is filled with racists and holocaust deniers - white men have never been systematically oppressed in the same manner that minorities or women have been in america.

so fuck off. and i'm removing your blog from my rss reader.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with "Anonymous 12:56 PM." Dave's blog has gotten so ignorant and loopy, I'm not going to bother reading it anymore.

John said...

Wow, strong responses! I'm sorry Dave, I love your blog but these matters are difficult to talk about without the accompanying baggage.

To echo a previous poster, feminism exists because men have always had the power. Those in power are already established, they don't need a movement to empower them!

However, I think it's a knee-jerk reaction to equate paying some attention to appearance with shallowness. I think we can pay attention to how we look without being slaves to trends or being too judgmental. It's been lost along with civility and patience.

There is hope. In recent years it's become more acceptable for men to groom and actually make conscious decisions about clothes. They even have a term for it, which of course links it with being gay: "metrosexual."

When you ride a bike you are on display, so I dress better when I ride then why I drive. I wear suede touring shoes, shorted trousers, long socks, and a jersey, all wool. Sometimes I'll rock a Ben Sherman or a polo shirt instead of the jersey. FWIW, I ride mostly lugged steel, drop bar geared road bikes, with some aggression too.

Marrock said...

Nice to see that the "Your opinion isn't the same as mine and therefor must be worthless" crowd is still rolling around full-force...

Dave said...

Getting fit and dressing better does help with your self esteem. It can change your personality.
Watch "The Biggest Loser", "What Not to Wear" and the other gazillion shows on personal makeovers. And if you still don't believe...try it yourself.
Low self esteem gets counteracted by self empowerment.

Oh, and let's not forget the bagging jeans/pants. If you are going to look like a criminal("gangsta") at least wear clothes so that when you run from police you won't be tripped up by your pants falling down.

Anonymous said...

Marrock,

I think the issue that's coming up is that Dave M is soapboxing on isses that really aren't that relevant to cycling. Or at least, could be better discussed elsewhere. This is why some people have had enough, I would guess.

Marrock said...

Yeah, that's just it, it's his blog and as it says on the front page, he posts articles, stories, and personal thoughts primarily about bicycles, not exclusively...

Near as I can tell no one is forced to read it or agree with anyone else's opinions.

Personally I don't have a problem with reading another person's opinions even if I don't agree with them, if the man wants to spout off about something, this is his place to do it, if you don't like it start your own blog.

Anonymous said...

Marrock,

Soapboxing is a way to affect other peoples opinions. I (author of the first two comments) think Daves opinion about this subject is uneducated and it needs to be changed.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the various callers who've voiced, in various ways, how off this post is. Hopefully DM will listen and think about what's been said. I'd hate for this to lead to another terrible poem lamenting how cruel his readers are. We read you for the technical stuff, Dave, not for a snide take on cultural issues. For that we have Bike Snob NYC.

Anonymous said...

Looking good, feeling good, being good, riding good,... are important ingredients for a bike culture that wants to not only survive but strive to be an integral part of livable communities.

The history of cycling, especially in GB, was promoted as a natural and unintrusive means to enjoy and celebrate all that makes life worth living. Cyclists were urged to ride, dress, and behave like gentlemen as they toured and met others on their country rides. Cyclists understood and appreciated that their image would reflect on all cyclists. Who is better to represent the value of man's greatest invention than the dedicated rider?

If the youth of today would put their finger gadgets aside for a few minutes and read, perhaps a greater understanding would emerge.
"Everything worthwhile in life takes a degree of effort",... too true. Keep writing Dave, you're saying much more than many appreciate or understand.
Jack

Ron said...

Dave, very nice blog. And a good topic to choose. I notice this everyday in our college. The way young men carry themselves about, the dress they wear... its sometimes pathetic, I mean I ask myself, don't these guys even bother to think about what they're wearing?

When I see videos from the 70's and 80's, men's clothing certainly was having a golden age, now torn jeans and baggy shorts have become the order of the day.

Part of the problem with the above probably lies in the fact that women today have more dress choices than men do. I mean, face it, we men... all we think about is a jeans or short and that's it. With the choices women have, they have more to play around with. And after talking to one female, I was made aware of the fact that most women love fashion and are in tune with whats hip,cool,up to date and what's not. We men rarely think about all these things, I don't think we hardly care.

As for the feminist movement, I believe the strive towards equality between men and women is what started it all... there isn't one for men simply because he is all powerful and has always had lesser things to worry about than women.

Nice blog btw, check mine out sometimes as well...CHeers!

cwcushman said...

I have to agree with you, there is a general slobification of the american male (I being one of them). When I take my friends out and help them get dressed to look nice they feel much more confident. I also have to admit, one of the biggest things that I miss about living in San Francisco (I now live back in San Diego) is that the way you present yourself matters.

Bike_Boy said...

Dave, you have to live in Manhattan. Really. People here carry themselves about in a very unique way. Its classy.

Anonymous said...

my interpretation of this post is that the current dress code is analogous to a deeper issue of attitude. Clothes are certainly not the problem. People who have posted comments that simply speak to the clothing issue are missing the point. Dig a little deeper people. Think. Were will the attitudes of our youth lead us? Were did the attitudes of the 60's youth lead us? the 50's? etc. Some paths were good - civil rights, women's rights - some were bad - destabilization of the family, de-unification of the country, failed energy policies, etc. Those good and bad things are not about good or bad dress styles!! They are about the attitude of caring. If you care about yourself, maybe you'll care about others and your actions would reflect your attitude! Thanks Dave for making me think!

Nick Marinelli in Birmingham

Ron said...

When I dress well, I feel really good about myself. But how well you dress depends on the person's ideas.

Today, brazenly worn torn jeans and having messed up hair may be the fashion. When in Rome, be a Roman right? But it think it suits some people more than others. Its when everyone thinks that what they're doing suits them that we find a group of beggars walking on the street.

People need to think about clothing more.

gwadzilla said...

I RESEMBLE THAT!

well...

not really

but I am a bit of a slob

I shave once a week
twice max

my clothing a work is usually wrinkled from being in my backpack
or the same stuff I wore days prior but did not bring home

wow...

you really were under attack by these people

I could not wade through the comments

sadly
the superficial appearances to effect how we are perceived and how we behave

as far as pretty goes...
it goes a long way

see who people hold the door open for
then take it from there

greg said...

Wow. As my old friend Seth used to say when I became overly politically correct, "That dude had something to say and he just said it." Frankly I find it much more intriguing to read the replies to your post than the post itself. Or perhaps "Those folks had something to say and they just said it."

Erik Sandblom said...

Dave, you have a fine blog and if mine was at all as nice as yours I would be very proud. Blogs are personal and so it's just dorky for people to tell you that you can't write about politics.

Masculinism doesn't at all need to be some mirror image of feminism. Men have other grievances.

One reason why women are better dressed might be that they have more choice. A man can't wear a dress, but a woman can wear a suit. Even so, I agree that a small amount of effort would do wonders for many men's presentation.