I'm just saying...

images: Harper's Bazaar

"Men in SPANX -  or A Decline in Masculinity?"


SPANX, a company founded to serve as a temporary tummy tuck, reports that one of their top selling products this past year was SPANX for men. Unless you've been buying them for your husband or boyfriend, you may have totally missed this hot-selling item this past year, which for sure is a sign of things to come.

It's not uncommon for men to want a little pampering and even nip and tuck nowadays, but now studies show (as seen in Times magazine) men are thinking more like women and vice versa: "Survey Shows Men Need to Cuddle, Woman Value Sex." Men are becoming more relational and emotional; a far cry from the stereotype that often bursted my childhood Cinderella dreams.

In today's Huffington Post: Culture News, Dr.Peggy Drexler asks, "Are Men What They Used to Be?"

Drexler goes on to probe:

"As I read about how men are thinking more like women, and women are filling the space vacated by declining masculinity, I have to wonder: Is it a shift in gender roles, or an easing of expectations?"

Is our culture becoming more tolerable of the feminine man?  Or have women pushed men to become more womanly? To make sure we're crystal clear: I'm not referring to the male who considers himself attracted to the same sex in any shape or form. I'm talking about the straight, red-blooded, non-stop-eye-wandering  American male, who is now, according to Drexler, "free to hug more, ...help with homework, ... and listen more." How could this be a bad thing?

But now more men are willing, even wanting to stay at home, allowing the woman to be the breadwinner. In today's economy it's unfair to size up man's masculinity according to a job (or lack there of.) Yet the old-fashioned role as the  "head of the house" or the "conquerer" in the relationship is no longer expected or seemingly desired by the man. Growing up in this decade, it's hard to say it's a shock to the system.

Throughout college, I watched most guys sit back and wait for the women to flock to them. Soon I stopped wondering if I would be asked out or if I was attractive enough for the guys who already appeared content being chased. It seemed the majority of girls were up for the challenge. After a few instances of exchanging numbers, I quickly realized they were expecting me to call or had clearly lost interest. There was a time where I felt compelled to pursue, but shortly after I'd come to my senses and realize these initial phases were a sure sign of things to come.

Now as a working woman, with my independence, I admit I'm not ok with an expected future a stay-home mother once I have children (though it may come for a time.) Still I can see how we as women may have jumped on a power trip, steering men into a submissive role. But if they're really men, should they be so easily swayed?