Status Anxiety What’s happened to the chaps? Toby Young
Bad news this week for those who fear we’re becoming a nation of girlie men. According to a survey carried out by Demos, a third of men who graduated from university this summer would give up their careers to care for their children. I n addition, more than half the men surveyed said they frequently dress up in women’s clothing, while 66 per cent admitted they still hide behind the sofa during Doctor Who.
Okay, I made that last part up, but I wouldn’t be surprised.The feminisation of the latest generation of young men never ceases to amaze me.With their long, blow-dried hair, their expensive designer clothes, their ‘man bags’ and jewellery, they are like some terrifying new genetic hybrid: half-man, half-Barbie doll. God help us all if President Ahmadinejad ever decides to launch an invasion. I f these milksops are responsible for the defence of the realm, the mullahs will be in Downing Street within 24 hours.
Whatever happened to the solid yeomanry of E ngland? The obvious answer is to blame the F emi-Nazis. The relentless feminist critique of masculinity that has been blaring out of our schools and universities since the 1960s has taken its toll. Today’s young men have been ideologically programmed to believe that any overt display of masculinity — tucking their
Men are being sexually rewarded for symbolically castrating themselves shirts in, for instance — would be an endorsement of ‘the patriarchy’. F ar better to make common cause with the oppressed by using moisturiser and eating salad.
No doubt that’s part of it, but there’s also something less rational going on. Martin Amis’s analysis, as advanced in The Pregnant Widow, is that it’s women’s sexual liberation that has frightened the horses, not the endless theorising that’s accompanied it. Men simply can’t deal with women expressing sexual desire — it reduces them to timid little mice. We can cope when women burn their bras. I t’s seeing them take them off and beckon us towards them that has left us castrated.
The problem with this explanation is that there’s little evidence the latest generation of men are having less sex. I went to a wedding recently at which the groom was an ex-public schoolboy in his twenties. No more prime specimen of girlie manhood are you likely to see. Here was Osric from Hamlet made flesh, a prancing popinjay of prettification. He’d probably spent more getting his hair done than the bride had spent on her dress. I t was stomach-churning.
Yet the effect of this wet noodle on the assembled women was electrifying. As he got up on stage and started telling his bride how much he loved her, bursting into tears within 30 seconds, they literally began to drool. F or them, this Barbie Man was the new masculine ideal. And let me tell you, his bride was an absolute knockout. I n the good old days, men would have conquered continents for less. Yet here she was, giving herself to a man she probably could have beaten in a fight.
No,it isn’t that menhavebecome more girlish as they’ve become more asexual. Rather, they’re being sexually rewarded for symbolically castrating themselves. To all intents and purposes, today’s young men have swapped places with women, parading in front of them like peacocks, while the newly empowered sisterhood stand on the sidelines, pointing at the men they want brought to their bedchambers.
And why have men done this? Why have they forfeited their role as protectors and breadwinners? Why do a third of university graduates want to put on aprons and clean up baby sick? Because it is so much easier than being a man. Kipling had it right. There’s no higher standard to which men can hold themselves — ‘And — which is more — you’ll be a Man,my son’ — so it’s hardly surprising they’ve have run crying into their mothers’ arms. I blame the feminists, but not for beating men into submission.Their crime was to give men the licence they craved to surrender all by themselves.
There is a glimmer of hope in all this. As the high ground of mascul-inity has been deserted by men, women have rushed in to claim it for themselves. I f you’re looking for courage, tenacity and strength, look no further than the current generation of young women.When the mullahs cross the E nglish Channel, it’ll be this lot they’ll have to contend with. While their boyfriends are at home nursing their broken nails, these harridans will be manning machine-gun posts.
Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.
Dave Michael Heath
the spectator | 18 September 2010 | www.spectator.co.uk