The Masculine Mystique
Female comedians, film stars, television personalities, authors and politicians - it seems that history has, up until recently, robbed an entire gender of recognition. But while the feminist movement is as strong as ever, it doesn't seem as though anyone is looking out for men.
I am in no way advocating a return to the mid-1900s chauvinistic ideals in which a man arrives home after a day at the factory and expects a sandwich and foot massage. My case can be better illustrated in an observation I made several weeks ago. I found myself walking through Macy's (because it's on the way to the Sony Style store) whereupon I found a man and his wife/girlfriend/mistress in the footwear department. She was in the process of test fitting of series of items, all the while asking the man's opinion. The poor guy looked absolutely miserable, and I pitied him, much in the same way that one pities an injured animal that should be put out of its misery. This sight made me wonder about this man's situation: between family obligations, paying the bills on time and working a dead-end job, this Average Joe may not have the time to simply be a man.
This is what the magic of television is for. While the average man may not have time to go and wrestle an alligator, there is a variety of television programming that can get the testosterone flowing. Spike T.V.'s series Deadliest Warrior recently concluded its third season. Shows do not get much more masculine than this; Deadliest Warrior combines technology, past and modern weaponry, historical trivia and lots of blood to create a manly experience that put hair on my chest just by watching it. BBC's Top Gear takes man's universal love of cars and explosives and injects it will a distinctly male brand of humor.
My father enjoys Steven Seagal movies for the same reason. He doesn't watch for a deep, engrossing plot or expert cinematography, and he definitely does not watch these films because the man is a good actor. My father, like most men, derives a sort of carnal pleasure when he watches Seagal slit some hapless moron's throat in the name of America. While I personally can't watch Under Siege without getting chronic indigestion, I achieve the same goal through the use of videogames. After having to endure Sex and the City 2 as an article last semester, I needed to partake in the most masculine possible activity to purge my system. Thus, I popped in Fallout 3 and proceeded to make a bloody mess of anything that stood in my way.
I can sum up the moral of this story with a simple analogy. It's perfectly alright to drink light beer, and it's somewhat practical to drink light beer on a daily basis. But sometimes, you're going to have to trade that bottle of Coors in for a shot of whiskey.