Recently, I read a quote from the usually adorable Keira Knightly that really burned me up. I read it in a magazine in the hairdresser’s. I’ve since decided, in a completely unrelated fashion, to purchase a WAHL and just buzz my head down to nothing once a week. Quoth Keira:
How are American men and British men different? “U.K. guys â€“ well, the ones that I know â€“ don’t take as much stock in their appearance,” says Keira Knightley in a new interview. “Ask an American guy what his beauty regime is, and he’ll tell you. Ask a Brit, and he’ll say, ‘Er â€¦ Guinness?’ I like that.”
I have been meaning to rant about this a little since I read it nearly a month or so ago, but I was reminded just now when reading a review of In Her Shoes by Frederica Mathewes-Green, whom I unfortunately missed when I attended her Antiochian Archdiocese parish in Baltimore a few weeks ago. She notes the masculinity of the male lead:
One last plus to this movie: the guy who eventually wins Rose’s heart turns out to be a much more interesting character than we’d have a right to expect from this kind of breezy, busy movie. According to the recent Leo Burnett Man Study, half of America’s men feel that their role in society is unclear. Do women want them dolled by remedial “Queer Eye” personal groomers? Or do they want a plaid-shirted, stubbly “Earl”? There’s uncharted distance between fop and caveman, metrosexual and retrosexual, yet that’s where most men live. In “In Her Shoes,” Simon (Mark Feuerstein) hits a mark in the middle that is surprisingly appealing, and the character holds his own on-screen despite the big-name ladies’ firepower. Simon has the listening skills women crave and expert culinary taste, yet his guy creds are vindicated by enthusiastic basketball fandom (though perhaps it’s too much to have him actually giving advice to the Sixers’ teammates, while they nod as insight dawns). Most of all, he’s in charge. When he and Rose begin to go horizontal, she nervously clicks off the lamp; he turns it on again. After a pause, she once again tries to hide her flaws in darkness; he looks at her firmly as he once again lights the lamp. What women want in men, even more than plucked eyebrows, is manly confidence. In a realm where examples are so scarce that half of the male population is confused, Simon is illuminating.
(The full review talks about the rest of the movie, of course: Frederica Mathewes-Green on National Review Online: Red-Hat District)
Now, perhaps Mother Frederica has spoken about what follows in one of her many essays on gender and sexuality (separate and distinct concepts, to be sure) released under the title Gender: Men, women, sex, and feminism. I don’t know; surely someone has, but I can’t cite it.
I’ve been thinking: masculinity and feminity complement one another, like yin and yang in the Tao. They are, or should be, balanced. The last century has seen a movement wherein that balance has been completely upset in a movement to secure equal rights and privileges for one part of this equation. Should we be surprised that the other part is confused?
Women have been told to act more masculine in order to liberate themselves; confusion about gender is only the beginning. The balance is beginning to right itself: Men are acting feminine. Indeterminate gender is becoming more acceptable socially.
Sometimes, I hear the lament, “Where have all the good men gone?” Perhaps the question should be reversed to find the answer.