Being a man -let’s talk about what that means in 2018
Once upon a time, gun-toting cowboys, macho racing drivers and swaggering footballers signposted the frontiers of masculinity and male identity. But it’s 2018, an era of technological advances and social change, of gender fluidity and identity flux, and the old paradigms just can’t cut it anymore. Masculinity is a multifaceted issue, only growing ever-more complex. “There really aren’t any rules, honestly,” in the words of a smart young chap we’ll soon be introducing you to.
A culture with “no rules” might make some people feel uneasy, but it can only be good news when it comes to changing our attitudes towards gender roles and stereotypes. Men the world over are welcoming change and starting a dialogue where it’s ok to question what’s expected of them.
So, in an era of such nuance and sophistication, just what is it that defines a man? Is it knowing stuff about cars and sports? Is it being able to give a good, powerful handshake? Is it being ‘strong’? And if so, what does ‘strong’ even mean nowadays? These are conversations we need to have, embracing the best of those classic qualities and also some fundamental new ones: caring, creativity, kindness and strength of character.
To help get that dialogue started, answer us this: if you met some curious being from outer-space, how might you describe to them masculinity and maleness? That’s the quandary that confronts the brave young boy who stars in a new short film, commissioned by visionary grooming company Harry’s, in partnership with The Representation Project.
Harry’s have made it their mission to capture the ever-shifting cultural conversation we’re having about what it means to be a “man”, and their film explores how difficult it is for an individual – like a young boy, or a naive extra-terrestrial, for that matter – to slot into society’s narrow perceptions of manhood. Soon into his close encounter, the boy discovers the old clichés don’t ring true, and happens upon some deeper truths along the way. Maybe you know how that feels?
When you take our gender-based conventions out of context, as an alien might, it’s obvious that there can be no one-size-fits-all approach to masculinity. So, let’s start a conversation about how men can continue to define – and celebrate – their own version of manhood, starting with being a better version of you, whatever that looks and feels like.
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