Category: Men

“It’s A Boy” And “Not For Women”

By , October 12, 2011 1:12 am

Ad makers still don’t know how to appeal to men without pushing women away.

Volkswagen is going after men for the new version of the VW Beetle. The company found out the previous incarnation of the car had more female buyers than male ones. So, to make the new Beetle appeal to men, they say the car is “a boy.”

In the commercial for their low-calorie soda, the makers of Dr. Pepper Ten say it only has “ten manly calories” and the tag line is that “It’s not for women.”

Articles about the car and the soda point out that the conventional wisdom is that men won’t buy those products if they think the cars are for women or the drink doesn’t “seem macho enough.”

Maybe, but there must be a way to appeal to men without becoming that little boy who writes “no girls allowed” on his bedroom door. The Beetle ad is trying too hard: “This car isn’t girly,” implies the ad. Dr Pepper Ten tries to be so macho, I wonder if they considered infusing the drink with testosterone, too.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Old Spice Guy doesn’t do this. Commercials for the body wash are technically aimed at women, but they still need a macho stamp of approval for men to use it. And by appealing to both men and women, the Old Spice Guy ads don’t exclude anything feminine to prove how masculine it is.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo credit: Jonathan Welsh/Wall Street Journal.

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Strong Politicians

By , October 5, 2011 12:26 am

Vladimir Putin apparently has two jobs: Prime Minister and Action Man.

That second title is what The Atlantic recently called him. They posted 32 pictures of Putin doing many manly things: He’s a race car driver, shirtless hunter and a martial artist. He also dives for treasure, rides with leather- and tattoo-clad “motorcycle enthusiasts” and is a concert pianist. (So, he’s cultured, too.)

As much swagger Americans like our elected officials to have, I’m glad our politicians don’t go to the extremes of Putin. The worst American equivalent in recent memory would be Bush’s “Mission: Accomplished” carrier landing in full Top Gun flight gear. If there was a photo of Rick Perry jogging with his Ruger .380 pistol, that would probably be a close second.

Yes, politics is a lot of theater, but there’s an easy way for every politician to prove they are tough, strong and worthy of their position:

Keep their word and do their job.

UPDATE: Theater, by definition, is staged. Turns out Putin’s treasure diving trip was staged, too.

H/t: Art Of Manliness

Photo credit: Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images via The Atlantic

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September Is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

By , September 15, 2011 4:57 pm

Did you know September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month? I didn’t, until I saw an interview with former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden. He appeared on CNN to talk about surviving prostate cancer and why he hid his diagnosis when he was coaching.

At the end of the interview, Bowden touched on the fact that men have a harder time talking about prostate cancer compared to women talking about breast cancer. I don’t agree that they’re the “same” thing, but there’s definitely more of an open public discussion about breast cancer than there is about prostate cancer.

If guys aren’t interested in talking about it or at least hearing about it, then the one in six men who get prostate cancer are more likely to die from it. But since I got interested in this topic a few years ago, it seems like people are more open about it.

The website Bowden is associated with is called On The Line. It has information for both men and the women in their lives on how to fight prostate cancer. I just found Zero Cancer that educates and promotes screenings for prostate cancer. There’s also the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

According to the ACS, men should get screened no later than age 50. Screenings should begin earlier if they are in a high-risk group. Please, for your sake and the sake of the ones you love, get screened.

Here’s Bowden on CNN:

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Study: Fatherhood Causes Drop In Testosterone

By , September 13, 2011 11:02 pm

As a new father, this story from the New York Times grabbed my attention. It reports on a study that showed testosterone levels decrease in men when they become fathers. The more fatherly activity a man participates in, the more his testosterone drops.

FatherhoodWhy the drop? The study suggests it helps men be more committed in their relationships and support their partners in child rearing. In other words, the study suggests that on a biological level, men are supposed to be engaged in raising children.

“The real take-home message,” said Peter Ellison, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard who was not involved in the study, is that “male parental care is important. It’s important enough that it’s actually shaped the physiology of men.”

To many, testosterone equals manliness, but several researchers in the article make a point of saying men shouldn’t worry that children and the drop in testosterone that goes with them, will kill their manhood.

The lowering of their testosterone did not prevent the men in the study from having more children. “You don’t need a lot of testosterone to have libido,” [said the study's co-author Dr. Christopher Kuzawa].

“If guys are worried about basically, ‘Am I going to remain a guy?’” [Emory University anthropologist Carol] Worthman [who was not involved in the study] said, “we’re not talking about changes that are going to take testosterone outside the range of having hairy chests, deep voices and big muscles and sperm counts. These are more subtle effects.”

Dr. Ellison explains why he thinks some men may be afraid of this study.

“Unfortunately,” Dr. Ellison added, “I think American males have been brainwashed” to believe lower testosterone means that “maybe you’re a wimp, that it’s because you’re not really a man.

“My hope would be that this kind of research has an impact on the American male. It would make them realize that we’re meant to be active fathers and participate in the care of our offspring.”

Perhaps this will reassure some men that it’s manly – in the biological sense – to be a full partner in raising children.

Read the full article here.

H/t: Art of Manliness.

Photo credit: bobhouser/Flickr

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Male ER Visits From Underage Drinking Doubles On July 4th

By , July 3, 2011 11:55 pm

Underage drinking is a problem on The 4th Of July.

Especially for young men.

A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, finds that alcohol-related emergency room visits for men under 21 doubles when we celebrate our nation’s independence. ER visits for women under 21 increase on the holiday as well, but not as much as men.

Besides the issue of underage drinking, there’s also the question of why there’s such a big difference between men and women.

Dr. Pete Delaney, director of the Center for Behavioral Statistics and Quality at SAMHSA, said, ”The social reality is that most girls are probably not drinking as heavily as boys, and they’re probably not getting into fights or even driving as much as boys.”

Here is an ABC News clip with Dr. Michael Anderson from UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital:

Hmm. Men (or in this case, boys) engaging in risky behavior that negatively impacts their health in greater numbers than women? Sounds like what doctors were saying a few months ago about some perceived notions of masculinity being unhealthy.

Read the full story about underage ER visits at ABC News.

Have a fun and safe Independence Day!

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Voters On Machismo and Women

By , May 29, 2011 9:37 am

Is the Arnold Schwarzenegger who cheated on his wife and may have groped other women the type of governor California voters asked for? In a Politico opinion piece, Neal Gabler says yes.

One might think that when it came to governing, the public might actually like the idea of someone who portrays himself as rational, deliberate, attentive to opposing points of view — a conciliator rather than a head-banger. But Americans have always thought of themselves as tough and uncompromising — able to beat their problems or enemies into submission. Older white men, a key part of the Republican Party base, seem particularly to want their politicians to be heroic and full of bluster — just like Schwarzenegger.

Not coincidentally, this is also the very thing that Americans, again especially men, have always loved about their movie heroes. Our most popular films are predicated on a bold individual who, usually without much outside assistance or much internal reflection, vanquishes everything before him. Our heroes get the job done, whatever it takes.

And again, not incidentally, they also get the woman, who swoons in the cloud of his testosterone. We all know that female subjugation is one component of the American male power fantasy.

It is no wonder, then, that our movies and politics would become conflated, especially in California, home of the motion picture industry. Schwarzenegger’s appeal in the gubernatorial race was that he came on like a hero, the un-Gray Davis, California’s then-governor, who seemed aptly named. Davis appeared wimpy. Arnold seemed … like Arnold. He was everything that a movie hero and a governor ought to be: a real man’s man.

But that sense of untrammeled masculine power is also embedded, in politics as in the movies, with a certain attitude toward women. Our film heroes aren’t gauzy romantics. They are sexual swashbucklers who often have little use for women — or, more accurately, have one use for women.

Though he had tempered his public misogyny since his bodybuilding days, Schwarzenegger wasn’t elected in spite of his disregard for women. Insofar as it informed his machismo and demonstrated his masculine power, he was elected because of it.

Governor Arnold SchwarzeneggerThis goes back to what I wrote last year about politicians who insult their opponents by saying they should “man up.” The phrase implies that manliness and machismo are requirements to hold elective office. It’s not a big leap between that attitude and the lack of female elected officials in this country compared to the rest of the world.

Gabler analysis of how voters feel about politicians gives insight into how some voters feel about women and their role in politics. Macho heroes in films, he writes, don’t have any use for women except one. The implication is that one reason is sex. The female character can’t do anything else for the macho hero – not help him, not work with him, not take the lead as the hero. If sex is the only thing the macho hero needs from women, and voters look at their political candidates and movie heroes in similar ways, is sex the only thing those macho-loving voters expect from women?

Continue reading 'Voters On Machismo and Women'»

Men Are Targets Of Cameras And Crushes On The London Underground

By , May 20, 2011 12:11 pm

Would it be offensive if there was a website where men took photos of women on the subway without their knowledge, posted them online, then added comments about how attractive they were?

It probably would be.

If the genders were reversed, would it still be offensive?

Check out to find out. It’s a UK site in which pictures are taken of men – without their knowledge - on the London Underground. The photos are submitted to the site and then the folks at TubeCrush write captions like this:

Let’s play a game shall we? It’s similar to Simon Says, but this one is called Jack Will. Basically you stay stuff that you think he should do, and he’ll do it. I’ll go first…

Jack will…make my jaw hit the floor because he’s so hot.

Next up…

Jack will…take his top off….(well, we can dream can’t we?)

Kind of cute? Kind of cheesy? Yes. Offensive? Not to me. None of the pictures I’ve seen go down shirts or up shorts. They don’t show anything explicit.

The viewing and consuming a male body by a woman is different than a man looking at a woman’s body. The nature of what makes a man physically attractive is easier to talk about in polite conversation. “Take off his top” from the caption above, is a lot different than “Take off her top.” Men are generally more sexually aggressive and perceived as more sexually threatening than women. And a man gawking at a woman – especially without her knowledge or consent – can be threatening.

We’ve reached the point where if you’re in public, anything you do is up for grabs by a camera. (So, be aware what you’re doing.) When non-consensual photographs are taken for sexual titillation, though, and regardless of the shooter, viewer or subject, the whole endeavor still gives off a whiff of creepiness.

But it matters who the shooters, viewers and subjects are, I wouldn’t say there’s a double-standard when it comes to TubeCrush. A website with pictures of women for a male audience wouldn’t be the same situation.

What do you think?

H/t: Salon. See also: Good Men Project

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When Masculinity Is Unhealthy

By , April 20, 2011 11:54 pm

Did you hear that doctors have found a health risk for men? It’s called “Masculinity.”

That’s what Boston College professor of psychology James Mahalik told Massachusetts State legislators late last month:

Everything from seatbelt use to alcohol use, smoking, sunscreen use, cardiovascular exercise. Men were worse than women in every category of health behavior except weightlifting…Men may view health risk behaviors as masculine. The very way in which society may present masculinity may, in and of its definition, include taking health risks. We can think of the Marlboro man as a very stoic, masculine kind of guy.

This lifestyle, according to Mahalik, leads to men dying an average of 5.4 years younger than women.

Meanwhile, the Journal of Health And Social Behavior just published the study “‘Macho Men’ and Preventive Health Care: Implications for Older Men in Different Social Classes” that showed macho is stronger than money when it comes to seeking healthcare.

The results show that men with strong masculinity beliefs are half as likely as men with more moderate masculinity beliefs to receive preventive care. Furthermore, in contrast to the well-established SES [socioeconomic status] gradient in health, men with strong masculinity beliefs do not benefit from higher education and their probability of obtaining preventive health care decreases as their occupational status, wealth, and/or income increases. Masculinity may be a partial explanation for the paradox of men’s lower life expectancy, despite their higher SES.

A couple more stats: Men’s Health magazine reported that only 67% of men in their 30′s said they visited a primary care doctor in the last year. According to the 2011 Esquire Health Survey, 45% of men polled didn’t have a primary care physician.

Something is clearly wrong if nearly half of men don’t have a regular doctor. What’s wrong is they’re probably not going to any doctor, not just a primary care doctor.

While masculinity itself isn’t unhealthy, as Dr. Mahalik said, “The very way in which society may present masculinity may, in and of its definition, include taking health risks.”

I’m looking at you, Man Box.

Continue reading 'When Masculinity Is Unhealthy'»

Confronting Male-On-Male Rape In The Military

By , April 19, 2011 12:42 am

Newsweek’s Jesse Ellison wrote in the Daily Beast about men being raped by other men in the U.S. military.

The numbers are staggering. Ellison writes: “Last year nearly 50,000 male veterans screened positive for “military sexual trauma” at the Department of Veterans Affairs, up from just over 30,000 in 2003.”

Bastogne Soldiers get hero's welcome

But in addition to stories of male victims and the military’s attempts to address the problem, the Ellison’s piece also addresses the idea of how the military at-large and individual soldiers view themselves.

We don’t like to think that our men can be victims,” says Kathleen Chard, chief of the posttraumatic-stress unit at the Cincinnati [Department of Veterans Affairs]. “We don’t want to think that it could happen to us. If a man standing in front of me who is my size, my skill level, who has been raped—what does that mean about me? I can be raped, too.

Ellison also quotes Aaron Belkin from the Palm Center, a research group that studies gays in the military:

The military doesn’t want to talk about it because, as embarrassing as male-female rape is, [from their perspective] this is even worse. The very fact that there’s male-on-male rape in the military means that there are warriors who aren’t strong enough to fight back.

We like to think of the women and (especially) men who serve in the military as heroes, not “victims” as Chard said. By fighting our wars and protecting our freedom, members of the military are the embodiment of American strength and power. When these male soldiers become victims of rape, there isn’t a way to comprehend male victimhood and the violation of American strength and masculinity.

Ellison writes:

For most of military history, there was neither a system nor language in place to deal with incidents of soldier-on-soldier sexual assault. It wasn’t until 1992 that the Defense Department even acknowledged such incidents as an offense, and initially only female victims were recognized. But last year more than 110 men made confidential reports of sexual assault by other men, nearly three times as many as in 2007. The real number of victims is surely much higher.

Read the entire piece at The Daily Beast.

Photo credit: The U.S. Army / Flickr

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Herman Cain Says He’s A “Real Black Man,” Implies Obama Isn’t

By , April 4, 2011 6:30 pm

If you don’t know who Herman Cain is, the former head of Godfather’s Pizza who became a GOP hero after embarrassing then-president Clinton in a debate on healthcare, ran for U.S. Senator in Georgia in 2004, and is currently formerly a radio talk show host, might run for Republican presidential nomination.

And compared to Barack Obama, Cain thinks he is a “real black man.”

That’s what Cain said on Wednesday at a Tea Party function in Florida. The mainstream media is scared, according to Cain, that Sarah Palin or Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann would get the Republican nomination for president. Then he said, “[The mainstream media is] doubly scared that a real black man might run against Barack Obama.”

The passage begins about 2:37 in:

This takes Man Up to a different and interesting level. During the 2010 election, Man Up and its variations were used to demean candidates who were accused by their opponents as not having the “cajones” or “man-pants” to be strong and decisive leaders.

Politico reported that, according to Cain’s spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael, he wasn’t “challenging Obama’s racial origin.” She said, ”He was referring to himself in the first person…He was saying that there could be a general election with two black men.” Then why the emphasis on the word “real?” And why bring up race at all? In that one remark, Cain asserted his own black masculinity, while questioning Obama’s.

So, it begs the question: Is Cain a “real black man?” I don’t know, nor would I list qualities for one of any race. But a real man – and by that I mean a mature adult male – wouldn’t brag about how much of a “real man” he is.

See Also:
Man Up And Cry

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