Calling men „too feminine“ is no longer the insult it used to be. In fact many men would be flattered and many women interested, especially the gen zers. How has masculinity evolved and what are the key factors?
Although it might seem like toxic masculinity has suddenly started to disappear, history of breaking gender rules goes back to the 20th century. Who can forget icons like David Bowie or Freddie Mercury who have inspired our generation so much? However, there’s big difference between them and queer people now. Even though they surely were admired at their time, they had to face a lot more criticism. Dressing in female clothes or wearing make-up used to be (and to some extend still is today) assocciated with being homosexual which was considered unnatural and bad, at the time. Hence why only very few men dared to show their feminine sides. Fortunately, we are now living in an era that is much more open to topics like sexuality or sex in general. The taboo now is to be disrespectful.
We also now realise that sexual orientation has nothing to do with the way one presents themself. There are many straight men who like to do face masks, paint their nails or wear high heels, simply because it makes them feel good.
„I believe that we are different from any other generation before us because we have access to so much more information. If a thousand young would to go outside Westminster and were to be shouting something, 60 years ago that might not make news because people could hide it, people could shelve their opinions and shelf what they had to say but nowadays I can just put something on twitter. I can express myself and the whole world can see it. That’s the difference of our generation because we read it, we immerse ourselves in it.“ said YUNGLBUD, who is known for often fighting against the toxic masculinity, in an interview for NME.
Another key factor is women’s opinions on what they find attractive. We can’t forget that just like women are trying to look good for men, men are also trying to fit into a certain stereotype that women are usually interested in. This has been pointed out mainly on TikTok where many girls explain why they prefer ‘feminine’ men.
The growing popularity of this type is most visible among celebrities. Perfect examples are male k-pop bands/groups. It’s absolutely normal, if not expected, that members wear makeup at every opportunity and are often dressed in extravagant clothes. A look that would be considered „gay“ or „too girly“ by previous generations, milions of fans find charming. And it’s not only fans! Fashion reports from red carpets don’t talk only about women’s haute couture dresses anymore. Harry Styles, Thimothée Chalamet or Lil Nas X are just a few of the icons that prove that fashion has no gender.
Just like Coco Chanel broke the stereotype that trousers are only for men, it’s now our turn to break the stereotype that skirts are only for women.
Written by Michaela Piontková