As a society, we pride ourselves on our progression towards liberalistic views, whether that be accepting the sale of The Communist Manifesto in our local bookstore or gay people showing their affection for one another in public. But one area of our perceptions has not progressed along with all the rest in this cultural revolution: the view of men and the beauty of the male body.
Western culture has a specific mould that defines a "man". Rugged, strong, carefree, indestructible–these are the attributes to which men are taught to aspire. When one does not, he might as well run for the mountains, as any man who doesn’t sit in front of the TV watching the Monday Night Football with a Budweiser in hand must be gay or otherwise genetically defective.
While women who break societal mores of society are rewarded a sense of accomplishment, men who dare pursue their lives in a fashion that conflicts with the idea of the "real man" are frowned upon and demeaned. There is no room in our civilized society for a crying, compassionate, male homemaker.
From the moment boys enter the world they are taught there are certain things men should not do. Boys don’t sew, bake or dance, they don’t wear makeup or dresses, and most important of all, boys must never cry. The penis is something that should never be seen or talked about, leaving little boys to wonder about this thing attached to their bodies. The male body is an ugly tool; a beast best left in the shadows.
When was the last time you saw a man who shaved his legs? Painted his nails? Wore a dress? Any man who plucks his eyebrows before going out for a night on the town must be a freak or fag, for no guy with balls could want to look good of his own free will.
There are some notable cases in which people with great influence pulled on their pantyhose and strutted their stuff. Rock’s saviour Kurt Cobain constantly showcased a three o’clock shadow and a wedding dress onstage. One of the most talked about athletes of the past 10 years, Dennis Rodman, took style to a whole new level with his multicoloured hair, matching eye shadow and miniskirt. One might even say the father figure and spokesperson for the one billion Roman Catholics of the world sports his very own dress.
In an age where we constantly hear about the progression of the feminist movement, it is interesting to note that by western definition, there is no such thing as a female cross-dresser or transvestite. Women have fought and won the battle to wear pants to work, but how long will it be before a male CEO comes to work in a dress and no one raises their eyebrows?
It is time to redefine our image of "a man." Support and praise should be given to those men who raise their kids while their wives go to work. Steps should be taken to teach children about penises and the male body, showing children that the male form is just as beautiful as its counterpart. Men should be able to walk down the street in a skirt and makeup with their heads held high, looking good and feeling better. And most importantly, we must always remember: men have feelings too.