Products designed (supposedly) for men, and images and archetypes (more correctly - stereotypes) of what is considered to be 'man-stuff'. As a man (yes I just checked underneath my sarong and I have all the equipment required....in spite of wearing a sarong) I see so much of this as just plain stupid.
I'm not offended by it, I just think we do us all a disservice by painting ourselves as a bunch of brutish Neanderthals shotgunning beers and consuming copious quantities of meat whilst driving unnecessarily large gas-guzzling automobiles (amongst other archetypes of what it supposedly means to be a 'man'...)
I mean does any of this really matter? And does the perpetuation of stereotypes and social conditioning that perhaps prevent us from improving society and the world around us really serve anyone's highest good?
A great, and tragic example of this is the Man Points Day campaign by the beer brand Lion Red. It's touting 'Man Points' as being the 'New Currency of Man'. In other words the new currency of man is to be a douche-bag.
Apparently "The modern man is in a state of turmoil: a variety of surveys show men are spending more on facial cleansers, moisturisers and other beauty products than ever before; are more comfortable ironing than under a car bonnet; and most disturbingly, more Kiwi men watched the season finale of New Zealand’s Next Top Model than the Bledisloe Cup final on free-to-air television..."
Gee - that sounds serious. We really need to do something about this....I might have to stop worrying about things like the fact that women make up more than half the population but hold on average under 20% of positions of power, or that we are destroying the planet we live on, or that we are still trapped in an economic paradigm that values 'things' over people, and instead focus on this impending threat to manhood.
Here's an excerpt from a press release about the day:
"Traditional male values are being eroded. It’s time to restore those values – and the only way to measure something’s value is to give it a currency. Manliness will now be measured in ‘Man Points’. Obviously, someone has to hand the Man Points out, and as the manliest beverage in the universe, who better than Lion Red?
Let’s start rewarding those moments and actions that proudly represent traditional Kiwi blokes! Lion Red wants you to get involved, look around, and award and deduct Man Points as you see necessary."
Yeah! - Who better to hand out points for 'manliness' than Lion Red!
The award for manliest man goes to......Jake Heke!
The press release goes on to list a few of the ways you can win or lose points. So in honour of 'Man Points Day' (on the 15th of February) I'm gonna see how I go on this 'man test'.
I'll award just one point for the supposedly manly things that I do and take one off for the 'unmanly' things.
Five easy ways to gain man points:
- Eat a pie for breakfast
- Build a deck
- Go fishing with your mates
- Own a Ute
- Wear a league jersey
Subtotal - 1 Man Point
Five easy ways to lose man points:
- Ask for directions
- Pick the vegetarian option
- Own a poodle
- Wax anything that’s not a board
- Spend over $20 on a haircut
Overall Total - Minus 1 Man Point (out of a possible total of 5)
What does this mean?
Does it make me a woman, or simply some sort of androgynous, amorphic non-man entity?
I think it's hilarious to see the facade of 'manliness' that is co-created by us and the media, and perpetuated through our collective societal conditioning.
Who ever decided that eating meat was manly? For that matter how many men who think that eating meat is 'manly' have actually taken responsibility for taking the life of an animal by their own hand, butchered it and carried it down the mountain (for the record I have)....
Who decided that being vegetarian or vegan was not manly? I guess whoever decided that could tell it to Bill Pearl (one of the greatest bodybuilders and strongmen of all time), Jason Ferrugia (the renowned Strength and Conditioning Coach) or perhaps take up a discussion with UFC fighter Mac Danzig?
Who decided that being homosexual isn't 'manly'? I know plenty of gay guys that could kick the crap out of most straight guys. Maybe have a discussion about manliness with Ian Roberts or Gareth Thomas. They may not be able to fit you into their schedule though, what with having to be some of the best sportsmen in their field (Rugby League and Rugby respectively) all the training, business activity and of course poodle walking and make-up buying.
And what about strength? Being 'strong' is undoubtedly 'manly' right? But I guess going to the gym is pretty 'gay' too... Well whether it's manly or not I wonder how many beer swilling, pie eating, pot bellied 'men' of Man Points fame ever set foot in a gym and lifted REALLY heavy, consistently and with dedication to become truly strong? (And I don't mean what most people consider 'strong' which is actually pretty average...) Or better yet - how many lift heavy rocks, stones or put in any sort of hard, physical work?
Fighting is manly too I'm sure. But is walking away from a fight more manly? - I'm getting really confused by this whole man business!
How many 'men' have fought because their lives (rather than their status or appearance) depended on it?...and more importantly how many have stood up and fought for the rights of others and for the benefit of our planet?
Maybe we should add some other things to the Man Points list:
- Beating your wife 2 Man Points
- Beating up homosexuals 2 Man Points
- Getting in a Bar Fight 1 Man Point
Non Man Points
- Writing Minus 1 Man Point
- Speaking another language Minus 1 Point
- Yoga, Pilates, Meditation, Prayer etc, etc... Instant disqualification as a 'Man'
These are all for your wives because women are a) weak and b) they need the 'crutch' that spirituality provides. Real men lift heavy things (although as discussed I'm sure you don't actually do any sort of activity) or they watch sports rather than 'do' them (it's easier that way.)
Spiritual stuff is for chicks. Men don't need to learn how to be mindful, caring, connected and heart felt in their lives. That might not leave enough time for drinking, pretend fighting and bigotry.
He tao r
To hear Cliff have a very 'unmanly' conversation on the Mind-Body-Spirit connection and what it means to be a 'real man' listen to his interview on The Every Day Spirits Radio Show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/everydayspirits/2011/01/27/everyday-spirits
Cliff is a Naturopath and author. He grew up hunting and fishing, playing rugby and is a 2 x IAWA weightlifting world champion, world record holder and competitive boxer and submission wrestler. He has coached dozens of world and Olympic level and professional athletes.
He meditates, does yoga, eats a primarily plant based diet and reads anything he can get his hands on. He has even been known to cry at the movies.
He is quite obviously due to his lack of Man Points, not a man.