***DISCLAIMER*** I don't believe all men are effeminate, but I definitely think there is a tendency for popular society to pigeonhole men into being seen as aggressive monsters or metrosexual children. Given I married a man who is neither, I obviously understand that not all men are effeminate. That being said, there are glaring problems with the way society tries to feminize men (and coax women into masculinity). For most of this entry, I'll be focusing on the gents.
I know you folks are likely burned out on all the hullabaloo about Fifty Shades. Truthfully, I haven't read any articles on Fifty Shades because I'm incredibly disinterested in the entire thing. However, a male friend of mine pointed something out that started what I felt to be an interesting discussion.
Someone posted a photo of the actors portraying the main characters in the upcoming film adaptation. There were comments from women (and a few men) commenting on the "hotness" of Jamie Dornan (the actor portraying Christian Grey).
Someone mentioned something about the movie (and book) being porn for women. Magic Mike (another soft-porn, mainstreamed movie) was also brought up and then the conversation veered into "Why the sudden interest in porn for women?"
I'm relatively certain that most of my readership would agree that Magic Mike, Fifty Shades and its contemporary ilk are pornographic in nature. That's not the point of this entry.
I pointed out that the reason this sort of porn is taking root amongst women is due to the concerted effort to confuse, diminish and transpose traditional gender roles.
In other words, society is telling women that they should be more masculine while simultaneously telling men they need to be more feminine.
I personally know men who use more makeup and hair products than I do. It's fine for guys to thoughtfully put themselves together in the morning, but when they start insisting on getting waxed eyebrows, mani/pedis and plumping their lips with a touch of gloss... lines are crossed.
I get the term "metrosexual" is thrown around a lot, but that's simply a politically correct way of saying:
And it's not just a physical change. Due to the feminist movement that seeks to butcher boys instead of raising up women, things like "Girls Rule and Boys Drool" or the "Boys are Stupid" mindset have turned men into caricatures of petty neanderthals. Not only does society treat them as perennial little boys who are incapable of mature thought or action, but men, themselves, take on this view and don't realize the rut they've been thrust into.
And since men don't realize that they've slowly given up the respect due to them as men, women don't feel the need to give it to them. After all, why respect a man who is no man at all?
It's yet another reason we've got an epidemic of boy-men who live in a quasi-fantasy world that is free of most adult responsibilities, adult goals, and adult consequences. Women, in turn, get frustrated because they can't find men with solid male traits, but in reality, we've brought this on ourselves by attempting to become masculine in how we operate.
This goes beyond the "assertive / bossy" dilemma. I'm all for equal rights and gender not standing in the way of one's ability to get a job done. However, women are becoming increasingly aggressive in their treatment of others. This overcompensation stems from a deep-seated insecurity about their strength and place within a patriarchal framework (and let's be honest - we do have a patriarchal framework in the US workforce).
In order to keep up or get ahead, women admit that they try to be "more manly" because of its social and professional benefits.
Again, this reinforces the gender-bending dysphoria present in our social fabric.
So what does all of this have to do with Fifty Shades, you ask?
I believe the current role-reversal of men and women makes traditional male and female roles a fetish.
I realize that might seem silly at first, especially since most of you wouldn't concede to BDSM (present in the Fifty Shades series) being traditional, but give me a chance to explain...
Currently, society is telling us this:
Obviously we know better, but this is the picture society is attempting to paint for us (with alarming success).
As a result, a book like Fifty Shades becomes popular not just because BDSM is a fetish. The fetish (and why I think women enjoy it so much) is that the roles are swapped into their traditional (if highly denigrated) roles.
But what is a fetish if not the warping of something natural?
Christian Grey is an intelligent, successful, confident man. Ana Steele is an innocent, quietly supportive woman who is also intelligent but not nearly as confident as Grey. In fact, from what I understand, she's actually portrayed as being highly insecure.
Christian makes it known that he's interested in Ana. He wants Ana and revels in her feminine qualities. He appreciates her femininity. She, in turn, appreciates his thoroughly masculine characteristics.
BDSM is a warping of the connection between male and female love, but again, I don't think that's the biggest thing that matters in this case. Women, today, are craving men - REAL MEN - and our options are few courtesy of the contraceptive movement (<---- that's a great video!).
As a result, women are getting their fix for the socially taboo "traditional man" by finding him in the pages of an erotic book. They can fantasize of the real man they envision for themselves... a strong, confident, savvy man who knows what he wants and takes it.
Grey is not the stammering guy in class who is unsure how to ask a girl for her number. Grey would never wonder when the right time to kiss a girl would be. Grey certainly wouldn't be found in his mother's basement or fiddling away on XBox until 3 in the morning.
No no. Grey would appreciate the beauty of the woman standing in front of him. He'd instinctually know her wants and needs and willingly rise to the challenge of meeting them. He'd provide for her, take care of her, and make her feel loved, appreciated and above all, wanted.
THIS is precisely what women today do not get from men. This is what they want. This is why they go looking for it in pornography, because in our topsy-turvy world, pornography is somehow more socially acceptable than expecting our men to be men.
Again, I obviously don't believe all women fall victim to this given that I don't even fit this mindset. However, it's incredibly easy to see how and why so many women fall into this trap given the terribly difficult time we have finding men who have the potential to be suitable life-partners and dependable fathers for our children.
Frankly, women don't put long-term stock in a guy who wears more eyeliner than she does. Women don't trust that a guy who lives in Mommy's basement can provide for a family. Women understand that a guy who spends more time caressing a game console than they do the curves of her body doesn't have his priorities in order.
So yeah - I believe the current satiation women are finding in socially acceptable forms of pornography is symptomatic of a much larger, deeper and socially threatening issue. When the gender norms are blurred to the point where folks have a legitimately difficult time knowing if someone is a man or a woman, it's time to reevaluate - everything.
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