by John Hawkins | March 26, 2008 7:40 am
Andrea Bartz over at Alternet is pushing…ah, just take a look,
Makeup for Men: Rethinking Masculinity
An increasing number of men are reaching for the “guyliner.” But is it socially acceptable?
…I didn’t want to like it. I like my men mannish — five o’clock shadows, hunting vests, burly arms that can lift me off the ground and into a hug. But a little concealer, a little mascara … and damn if those men didn’t look sexier. Zits, gone. Undereye circles, erased. Cheekbones, chiseled. From on stage, anyway, these guys were the pinnacle of androgynous beauty.
Since then, makeup has made its way off the stage and onto straight men nationwide. A little eyebrow gel on the guy at Banana Republic. A stroke of charcoal around the eyes of a budding musician. It seems there’s been a revival in recent years that makes dudes in makeup more acceptable. Perhaps it’s so they can say, “Yo, I can wear makeup and women still swoon over me.” Remember the pink shirt phenomenon a few years back? Confidence is always sexy, and being comfortable enough to do something feminine is, in some ways, the ultimate show of machismo.
…It’s not a way for guys to feel feminine or macho, but rather a way of saying, “I can wear whatever the ‘F’ I want and still rock out/commandeer ships/ have my own reality dating show … ” And if feminism is really about equality, we can’t hold certain lifestyle choices sacred to only our gender. Remember when men got all up in arms about women trading skirts for pants? Wearing makeup is a choice, sort of like working full-time or carrying a purse or watching pro-wrestling. Leaving choices open to half the population means duress to the other 50 percent. And nobody wins when half the camp has its arms tied behind its back.
Which doesn’t mean you have to like it. You already know my feelings on dolled-up dudes wearing flared jeans and singing “We’ve Got Magic to Do” on stage. In the real world, I think makeup can look good on guys if it’s obvious (not metro makeup) and they’re wearing it confidently to distinguish themselves from a crowd. If that’s the case, more power to ’em. Bring on the guyliner.
Let me help out by answering a few questions here.
Do we need to “rethink masculinity?” No.
“Is it socially acceptable” for a guy to wear eyeliner? Hell, no.
Should any man who’s not a rock star, on TV, or a rock star be wearing something called “guyliner?” Noooooooo!
Is “being comfortable enough to do something feminine,” — ” in some ways, the ultimate show of machismo?” It can be, it can be — but, some things are so feminine that they could make John Wayne look feminine? Yes, like wearing “guyliner.”
Are all your questions answered. Probably not, but we are now at least clear on “guyliner.”
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