I’m not sure who asked it to, but GQ magazine has used its November issue to redefine the modern man. It’s put a bunch of men in make-up and dresses and called it the ‘new masculinity.’
GQ stands for ‘Gentlemen’s Quarterly’ but ‘gentlemen’ are a toxic brand in the post-Weinstein world, and just don’t sell as many overpriced clothes, watches, and aftershave as they used to. Hence why GQ appears to be trying to distance itself from the gender that’s been buying it for decades.
GQ is only adding to the confusion because this ‘new masculinity’ looks a lot like old ‘femininity’. And frankly speaking, if anyone at GQ thinks men in make-up is new, then they should go and watch some heavy metal from the 1980s.
GQ editor Will Welch has this message for all those men out there who didn’t even know that they needed redefining. He says ‘new masculinity’ is “very simple. It’s I know who I am, and I respect who you are.”
Has that cleared everything up for you?
Welch also says “traditional notions of masculinity are being challenged”. This is the classic view of a man who shares a bubble with the 5% over the 95%. I have absolutely no doubt there are some men who will be grateful that a magazine has given them permission to show off their feminine side, the majority are just trying to watch the football in their pants. Don’t get angry, that’s just a metaphor, I’m sure some men prefer baseball or rugby. My prediction is the silent majority couldn’t care less who wants to wear mascara and frilly pants one way or the other.
Of course the inference from Welch, and throughout this issue, is that until very recently men have been toxic, destructive animals and should be ashamed of themselves and ask forgiveness. He’s essentially defined a new man as being someone who is nice and tolerant, which must mean that the old man (your dad for example) was none of those things. And does that mean that women who know who they are, and respect others are behaving like men?
The front cover of GQ has rapper Pharell in a dress that looks like a sleeping bag. Inside the magazine, in keeping with the men should be ashamed of themselves theme, Pharell more or less pleads for forgiveness for the song which pushed him into the big time. It was called ‘Blurred Lines,’ and the tone of the lyrics and video were distinctly rapey. Some of his earlier lesser known videos were arguably even worse.
But times have changed, and Pharell can see the tide turning so here he is in GQ on the public altar admitting he was wrong in his lucrative past but is now a changed man. In a dress. Woke won’t hurt your back balance either.
So, does this edition of GQ offer any genuinely useful advice? Well, there is always this gem from comedian Hannah Gadsby who is also a lesbian: “Hello, the men. My advice on modern masculinity would be to look at all those traits you believe are feminine and interrogate why you are so obsessed with being the opposite. Because this idea that to be a man you have to be the furthest away from being a woman that you possibly can is really weird.”
Get that men? Stop just sitting around being obsessed about being men.
To answer my previous question, no, this edition of GQ offers absolutely nothing useful, and for god’s sake, don’t let your grandad see it.
By Simon Rite