Masculinity in the Post-#MeToo Era
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Men need help. Evidenced by news headlines, popular culture, and daily life, the relationship dynamics between men and women have rapidly transformed in recent years. While modern feminism is being celebrated and empowering people all over the world, the other side of the coin, modern masculinity, has proven less easy to talk about. As we’ve made strides in equality and female empowerment, men’s issues have been put on the backburner but are now bubbling over. As such, we created a special issue of The Trendera Files: Modern Masculinity in which we dive deep to find out what modern masculinity looks like in relation to the modern world, feminism, and the changing gender landscape. Subscribers to The Trendera Files have complimentary access and others who are interested may click HERE to learn more.
One influencer currently shaping the future of masculinity is Dorian Electra, a gender fluid singer, songwriter, and performance artist who focuses on calling out gender roles, sexuality, and mainstream culture. Released earlier this summer, his video “Career Boy” is a pop-centric song that merges EDM beats along with social commentary. Poking fun at hardworking businessman who spend long hours at the office, Electra calls out hyper-masculinity seen in the corporate world and suggests that overtime doesn’t necessarily mean being a man or even success. Shifting between hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine personas, Electra is able to transform people’s perceptions about gender fluidity through his likable pop music. To hear more of Electra’s music that focuses on intersectional feminist and queer issues be sure to check out the “Dark History of High Heels,” and “2000 Years of Drag.”
This summer, Bonobos set out to expand definitions of masculinity with their campaign #EvolveTheDefinition. The brand debuted a 90-second video featuring interviews with 172 people discussing both their personal definitions of masculinity and their personal style. Featuring a wide variety of perspectives and stories, each and every interview is available on a dedicated website. A natural evolution of Bonobos’ “fit for every man” philosophy, this campaign represents a shift in marketing away from the traditional masculine stereotype. For more on how marketers are taking note of shifting notions of masculinity be sure to check out the “Brands Doing it Right” section in our Modern Masculinity Report.
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Beauty boys such as James Charles and Bretman Rock have been on the rise and entrepreneur David Yi has taken notice. Launching Very Good Light, a website dedicated to men’s beauty, Yi has created an inclusive space online where men can discover beauty tips and find authentic content pertaining to gender, identity, and sexuality. The platform features articles such as “The Black Guy’s Guide to Korean Beauty” and “Post Malone is the Secret Beauty Blogger We’ve Been Waiting for,” and provides a diverse roster of content that fits Gen Z’s fluid notions surrounding masculinity and men’s beauty. Showcasing that beauty has no gender, Very Good Light is an amazing resource for digital native men looking to expand their personal care and grooming routines.
For the past few years, much of the conversation around children and gender has been around girls and how to raise them to be strong, independent women. Now, with the #MeToo movement, New York Times article “The Boys Are Not Alright,” and the rise of “Incels,” people are paying more attention to how to best raise boys in this evolving gender landscape. Children’s book author Ben Brooks is looking to challenge the status quo with his new book, Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different. Unlike most stories for young boys, which unintentionally perpetuate toxic masculinity (princesses who need saving, warriors going into battle, etc.), Brooks’ tome strives to promote different narratives. Chronicling the escapades of 75 men throughout history, from Barack Obama to Salvador Dali to Beethoven, the book celebrates masculinity in a way that’s fit for the 21st century.
The most recent issue of biannual fashion magazine Wet Ruffles aims to paint a more nuanced picture of the male experience. Recognizing how platonic male friendships are often times considered taboo and largely unexplored in entertainment, creators Alexander Ablola and Merideth MacNicholas attempt to portray the intricacies of male intimacy. Using backdrops such as deserts, urban cities, and even a bathtub, male models are styled and posed in softer ways that society would not consider typical “guy” behavior. The magazine also casts diverse models to explore issues related to intersectional masculinity as Ablola, an Asian male, says that his experience in America made him feel he must act manlier to avoid being considered a boy. A powerful mechanism in disrupting toxic masculinity and hyper-masculine stereotypes that plague all men, Wet Ruffles is the fashion magazine we’ve been waiting for.