What if Men Challenged Women as the Fashionable Sex?
Continued from previous page
Perhaps if men had wider options in expressing themselves in their appearance, there would be less resentment and hostility between the sexes. I am acutely aware that some of my boyfriends have harbored irritation toward me for what they perceived to be my unfair advantage in being able to look fabulous. I hear that. Sadly, that irritation is sometimes transformed into ugly putdowns on the street or “put-her-in-her-place” attacks from men who think themselves to be losers and chafe at what must seem like the undeserved power that women display through their clothes and appearance. If men had more choices, would that dissipate? Would there be less competition, more mutual enjoyment?
In 2000, Susan Faludi documented the frustration of men trying to sort out changing definitions of masculinity and expectations in her book Stiffed. Faludi followed the trend of media predictions that men are not measuring up and becoming irrelevant, the latest of which appears in the form of Hanna Rosin's new book The End of Men. But maybe men are simply in transition, experiencing growing pains as the stifling structures of 19th- and 20th-century masculinity dissolve. And maybe they are due for some unexpected pleasures as new roles and ways of being become possible.
It’s always difficult to predict how change will pan out. It could be that male identity crises will only accelerate as men are objectified and pressured to spend money on enhancements they can’t afford and modifications like surgery. They might find bosses male and female chasing them around the office in the same way that women have experienced – or even worse, since men have not been trained in how to deal with it.
We don’t know how this “Trading Places” story will end. But you can be sure something interesting has begun.