February 11th, 2012

Gil Marsh cover

Real men and pink suits

Charles M. Blow, the New York Times visual Op-Ed columnist, wrote an excellent column today about Americans' perceptions of masculinity, and the corrosive effect it can have on individuals.

[M]asculinity is wide enough and deep enough for all [men] to fit in it. But society in general, and male culture in particular, is constantly working to render it narrow and shallow. We have shaved the idea of manhood down to an unrealistic definition that few can fit it in with the whole of who they are, not without severe constriction or self-denial.

Anyone perceived as not fitting this ideal, an impossible one to attain, is liable to be labeled as other. Men in pink suits are to be laughed at, or beaten. Anyone perceived as fitting a homosexual stereotype is a walking target--to which a third of school-aged boys can attest.

Start with this fact: The truest measure of a man, indeed of a person, is not whom he lies down with but what he stands up for. If we must be judged, let it be in this way.

The whole column is worth reading. It's called Real Men and Pink Suits.