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entitled babies gender policing homophobia masculinity men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny transphobia

The right-wing attacks on GQ’s “New Masculinity” really put the “his” in histrionic

By David Futrelle

Right-wingers really don’t like the idea of Pharrell Willians in a dress, huh?

Earlier this week, GQ magazine unveiled a special issue devoted to what it called the “new masculinity.” On the cover: pop music artiste Pharrell, wearing a gown, I guess, that looked vaguely like a sleeping bag for an octopus. Inside the magazine, Pharrell models an assortment of barely less-dramatic gender-bendy outfits and offers his thoughts on new models or masculinity in a long and rambling interview.

Naturally, the defenders of traditional masculinity were shocked and stunned. On Twitter, right-wing ideologues like Mike Cernovich and Paul Joseph Watson sniffed their disapproval. “The New Masculinity looks pretty gay,” former Gamergate grifter Ethan Ralph opined.

You’d think that Mr. Ralph would be more open to a challenge to old-fashioned toxic masculinity, given that one of the former editors for his website literally stabbed his father to death in a rage (allegedly) in the midst of an argument over online conspiracy theories.

Other commenters on Twitter were a bit blunter:

Meanwhile, assorted right-wing rags offered more extended, er, critiques of the issue. The American Conservative declared that GQ had “emasculate[d]” itself by rounding up, and listening to, an assortment of writers, activists, comedians and others who weren’t all straight white men. (The horror!)

Spectator USA denounced what it saw as

a bunch of pouting narcissists in ugly €1,000 jackets talking down to men who struggle to improve themselves and build and sustain their families is disgusting. Frankly, they can roll their issue up and perch atop it.

But perhaps the most panicked reaction of the bunch came from Brandon Morse of RedState.com, clearly upset that GQ was, as per his headline, “Overtly Celebrat[ing] the Feminization of Men.”

Really putting the “his” in “histrionic,” Morse began his piece by announcing that “[o]ne of the largest projects being undertaken by the regressive left is the elimination of men.”

Morse devoted much of his article to a defense of “true masculinity” against the evil spectacle of men wearing dresses or “just ditching being a man altogether to embrace transgenderism.” The centerpiece of his argument? Wolves.

[I]t’s not femininity that’s been keeping the literal and proverbial wolves in the hills for thousands of years. When evil begins carrying out its purposes, it’s not people like Pharrell showing up in dresses that put it down. It’s not the “new masculinity” that’s going to charge into battle to protect those it loves at the risk of its own life.

Huh. I hate to break it to Morse, but there aren’t a lot of manly dudes out there wrestling literal wolves to protect the ladyfolk. Indeed, as our old friend Wikipedia notes,

There are few historical records or modern cases of wolf attacks in North America. In the half-century up to 2002, there were eight fatal attacks in Europe and Russia, three in North America, and more than 200 in south Asia

And back here in reality the “proverbial wolves” that “true masculine” men are supposedly so nobly protecting women from are overwhelmingly … other “true masculine” men.

In many case there is no protection to be found. Roughly a third of all women worldwide have been the victims of sexual violence. 50,000 women are murdered worldwide by their intimate partners or family members – that is, in the overwhelming majority of cases, by the very men who are supposedly protecting them from “wolves.” (Both of these stats are from the United Nations.)

That’s a big part of why we’re talking about developing a new model of masculinity in the first place.

While the right-wing attacks on GQ’s “new masculinity” are both hysterical and incoherent, Pharrell may not exactly be the ideal poster boy for this particular cause. Sure, he makes a fine model for the various outfits the folks at GQ handed him. But his thoughts on the subject of masculinity – while well-intentioned — are a mixture of trite cliché and baffling new-age babble. Over the course of this gas giant of an interview, Pharell serves up thousands of words of free-associational babble that only occasionally comes to the point.

I think the truest definition of masculinity is the essence of you that understands and respects that which isn’t masculine. If you ask me, when we talk about masculinity, it’s also very racial, this conversation. Because the dominant force on this planet right now is the older straight white male. And there’s a particular portion of them that senses a tanning effect. They sense a feminizing effect. They sense a nonbinary effect when it comes to gender.

Other time he seems to be prothletizing for the Church of Our Lady of the Bleeding Obvious:

You know, America was “created by our Founding Fathers”—not our Founding Mothers or our Founding Mother and Father. Right?

In one telling passage, he tries to empathize with trans folks, but in the end brings the converstation back around to himself:

Because think about it. What is happening to a transgender person? What are they going through? They feel like their body is not connected to their spirit. And what kind of toxic environment do we live in that they have to justify how they feel? That must feel incredibly insane. That is spiritual warfare. So I wanted to be in the conversation.

Well, sure, dude. Be in the conversation. But maybe not the center of it? There are a lot of other people out there with far more interesting things to say than the guy who’s only just getting around to apologizing for “Blurred Lines.”

Pharrell could perhaps learn a thing or two from some of the diverse assortment of other voices featured elsewhere in the magazine – especially lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby, who had a few pointed suggestions for the men in the room.

“Hello, the men,” she began.

Here’s a thought experiment: What if you, the men, looked to traditional feminine traits and tried incorporating them into your masculinity?

Women are always being encouraged to stir masculine traits into their feminine recipe. We are told to “be bolder!” “Speak up in meetings.” “Exaggerate your skills.” All that Lean In sort of crap. So perhaps it’s time for you, the men, to be more ladylike. How about you scale back on your confidence? How about you try not to act in every situation? What if you tried to refrain from sharing your opinions or co-opting other people’s ideas?

Sometimes the best way for a man to contribute to a discussion is to shut up and just listen for a while. Or, in the case of the folks at RedState and The American Conservative and the rest of the right-wing critics, to shut their traps forever.

Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

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Podkayne Lives
Podkayne Lives
1 year ago

I don’t want to discourage Pharrell from pursuing his new masculinity, perish the thought, but does he really need to do so in a cross between an opera cloak, a puffer coat and a marquee?

Karalora
Karalora
1 year ago

[I]t’s not femininity that’s been keeping the literal and proverbial wolves in the hills for thousands of years. When evil begins carrying out its purposes, it’s not people like Pharrell showing up in dresses that put it down. It’s not the “new masculinity” that’s going to charge into battle to protect those it loves at the risk of its own life.

Gaaaahhhh, there’s so much to unpack here. Where does one even start?

MsEdgyNation
MsEdgyNation
1 year ago

If the new masculinity is wearing a giant Snuggie made out of several down bedspreads, I have some questions.

(not really, I think that garment would look silly on anyone of any gender)

Nequam
Nequam
1 year ago

I don’t think even Billy Porter could make that look good.

Patricia Hall
Patricia Hall
1 year ago

Last week Pharrell Willians felt the “click”. He heard that weird thing that comes to people when the suddenly realize that they might be “a little bit racist” or “a little misogynist” to have those lyrics.

When that “click” comes to you, you’re faced with a big “WTAF”.

Things that have been dancing in front of your face for your entire life suddenly appear after you never realized that they were there. Racism, Misogyny, Indifference, Privilege.

The same thing happens when you live in countries that don’t speak your native language.

You think you have a grasp on it and then one day, out or nowhere, you realize that a word everyone around you has been using for 20 years is an insult and not a compliment.

I would like to congratulate Pharrell Williams for his eye-opening experience.

Moon Custafer
Moon Custafer
1 year ago

@Karalora:

Gaaaahhhh, there’s so much to unpack here. Where does one even start?

When in doubt, powder heavily.

personalpest
personalpest
1 year ago

Hey, Manospherians! Ever seen the David Bowie album cover below? It dates from 1970. Men wearing dresses is nothing new. And if/when America collapses, blame Trump (and yourselves for voting for him) instead of Pharrell Williams.
comment image

Victorious Parasol
1 year ago

No Founding Mothers?

“Remember the ladies….”

If we didn’t have more seats at the table, that wasn’t our fault.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

Every time someone talks about redefining masculinity, we get the same new age talk which is good on paper, but then it keeps men at the center and then nothing actually changes. In theory, I support a new masculinity that is less toxic and more accepting of gender nonconformity. In practice, it seems to just be another way to steer the conversation back to “but what about the menz?” and put a few men in the spotlight.

Also, for me the term “new masculinity” is forever tainted by Roosh V’s “neomasculinity.”

rv97
rv97
1 year ago

Can we please lock up the gender police, i.e. banning those shits from being able to participate in any civic discourse for a period of time? I’m getting sick of them. It’s getting really ridiculous we’re coming (back) to this, when men with long hair in the 60s and 70s were getting shit on!

epronovost
epronovost
1 year ago

I don’t get the argument of “protecting women from the wolves”. First, the idea that women need protection against the wildlife that they, themselves couldn’t get, is rather absurd. A minimal cursory research on animal attacks show many modern women chasing off animals to protect themselves or others. That’s a modern women who has most likely never hunted or lived in the wild unlike their distent ancestors. It’s even worse when one consider the number times women had to defend themselves and other, especially their kids, from the most dangerous of all predator: a man, most likely her partner and the father of those children.

Then there is the basic admission that we should praise “real men” for basically being firemen-arsonist. Women need men to protect them from men thus men are very important and good.

Men can bring great things to women, but protection from threat shouldn’t be high on that list.

LindsayIrene
LindsayIrene
1 year ago

Who cares what that thing looks like, it would be awesome in the middle of a Minnesota winter. I’d even have room for a friend or two in there.

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

That is indeed a ridiculous outfit, but it’s not more ridiculous than a lot of the outlandish tat which wows fashion writers on the catwalk and is never seen outside a fashion show or magazine shoot. So it seems a bit unfair to dunk on him for that.

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

I have a coat that looks like it’s made of the same material as that dress.

Allison McLemore
Allison McLemore
1 year ago

There are only two items in that entire issue that look feminine. The Octopus dress and the pale blue jacket (which I quite like). Everything else he looks quite masculine in, and only a few things might be termed gender neutral (including the leopard patterned long coat that, I admit, makes me think of pimp stereotypes. Blame TV.) If not for the headline, they would probably never have noticed.

Snowberry
Snowberry
1 year ago

The first thing I thought when I saw that outfit was “corn pyramid”.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

FWIW I like the outfit, and I fully support the right of individuals of any gender to wear it. Not sure I’d want to since it looks a bit cumbersome, but if anyone else does, I won’t stop them.

Anon-Get-It-On
Anon-Get-It-On
1 year ago

Oh. I would’ve thought these uber-mensch would’ve thought what I thought when I first saw the picture…

Pharrel was going camping and was going to build the tent from the inside out…

On another note, it looks like the MRA’s aren’t hiding their white supremacy inklings any longer:

https://promalecollective.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/anti-white-racism-like-all-other-forms-of-racism-is-anti-male/

(why do these MRA’s hate hipsters so much, is it because they aren’t traditionally masculine enough?)

caketastydelish
caketastydelish
1 year ago

Not related to this specific article but I have an idea:

In the “comment policy” there’s a rule that mras basically can’t post, or at the very least no hate speech type of posts.

Furtelle used to allow them to post here, under the reason (paraphrasing), “to spread awareness of the misogyny and hate itself”. He since has taken that away, thinking it’s not worth making the community toxic.

I recommend an alternate solution. Have only ONE thread/article/place here where the MRAs/Racists/whatever are allowed to say pretty much anything they want as long as it isn’t illegal such as giving death threats. All of it would be quarantined in that one place. This way, people here would see what they are really like, without them affecting this community here at large.

Prith kDar
Prith kDar
1 year ago

I thought “real men” weren’t supposed to be concerned with fashion, let alone require fainting couches to cope with it. If only they didn’t shun pearls, they could clutch them.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@caketastydelish

Have only ONE thread/article/place here where the MRAs/Racists/whatever are allowed to say pretty much anything they want as long as it isn’t illegal such as giving death threats. All of it would be quarantined in that one place.

The thing is, I doubt they would stumble across it. Generally, we get drive by commenters who post some random crap in the comments of a post that they found, then stay in that post’s comments or disappear forever. Over all I would say it’s better to just not let these people comment unless they’re going to abide by the same rules as everyone else. The comments policy is lax enough that we still get some trolls to play with, like Jim and Sack.

numerobis
numerobis
1 year ago

Lainy: I have a sleeping bag made from that stuff, as well as a vest. They are *so comfy*. A dress of it would be like a mobile sleeping bag. I think I’m saying I want it.

LaMaria
LaMaria
1 year ago

For what it’s worth I rather like that gown as a less cruel version of opulent fur coats. If you need something to wear for a dramatic flounce this is it. Thankfully I don’t do dramatic flouncing because I’d boil to death under all that down.

numerobis
numerobis
1 year ago

caketastydelish: what you’re describing is also known as The Internet. David curates the stream for us here. Why add room for comments that are so easily found elsewhere?

(PS: changing my email, so my icon will change, because the older email is kaput.)

Talonknife
Talonknife
1 year ago

@personalpest

Hey, Manospherians! Ever seen the David Bowie album cover below? It dates from 1970. Men wearing dresses is nothing new. And if/when America collapses, blame Trump (and yourselves for voting for him) instead of Pharrell Williams.

I always say that there are two types of people in the world: the kind that would totally bone David Bowie if they had the opportunity, and liars.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
1 year ago

My dogs would have enjoyed snuggling under that dress when we were out camping. I wonder if it comes in green.

Luzbelitx
1 year ago

firemen-arsonist

Best. Concept. Ever.

Bananananana dakry: Short-Haired, Fat, and Deranged
Bananananana dakry: Short-Haired, Fat, and Deranged
1 year ago

I remember the meltdown in the States when Queen did their “I Want To Break Free” video in (le gasp) drag. Sheesh.

And it seems all these fragile guardians of ‘true’ masculinity seem to conflate it with being an asshole. If being masculine means being an asshole by those lights, then I’m all for more femininity. And guys, ‘feminine’ does not mean ‘weak’. You’re just shoving off all the traits you think are inferior onto women, but that doesn’t mean they are or that we have sole ownership of them.

Also, men protecting women from other men. A little like paying the mob their protection money, it seems. More than a little, really.

Karalora
Karalora
1 year ago

Actually, come to think of it, that…garment of Pharrell’s might be a good thing to have on in case of wolf attack. The wolf would bite all the puffy fabric and never get its teeth into your flesh. It’s like one of those padded suits they use to train attack dogs, but billowy!

Robert Haynie
Robert Haynie
1 year ago

I think the gentlemen from the “Manosphere” (which I am convinced is far from spherical, and is more a severely distorted cross between a pyramid and an oblate spheroid) are missing one vital, crucila point, at least in regards to the GQ cover photo.

The problem is not that the garment shown makes men appear feminine, or effeminate, or girly, or anything remotely within the categories implied by those terms.

The problem is that it makes men, or women, or any variant of the above look like an utter and total prat.

That’s not a dress. Nor is it a jacket, cloak, coat, frock, or robe. That’s am oven mitt for a Giant Kraken. Or possibly a severely mutated Beluga Whale. It is simply the most freakishly unattractive thing I have seen in my 60+ years.

You know, maybe we should stop worrying about misogyny and go after the real problem… Fashion designers. Because if we continue to let them guide our visuals on masculinity, femininity, and frankly humanity, we have nothing to look forwards to except as a species condemned to idiocy.

galanx
galanx
1 year ago

Let’s get back to high heels, tights, frilly blouses, and wigs, like manly men such as George Washington used to wear.

Blayne Robinson
Blayne Robinson
1 year ago

You should really think critically about things before using them as evidence in an article. This could have been a smear piece by a right-winger if some of the nouns were different. Think before you speak.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

You know, maybe we should stop worrying about misogyny and go after the real problem… Fashion designers.

Interesting phrasing. I’ve found that hatred of fashion is, invariably, rooted in misogyny.

Dvärghundspossen
Dvärghundspossen
1 year ago

Well, I have the best Husband in the whole wide world, and I would never in a million years be where I am today without all his support. And when we first became a couple, he used to wear his nails long and painted and put on lipstick for a club night. Suck on that!

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

Sorta-kinda related to the subject of clothing: an article I recently saw posted on those ironic (sic) performative-sexist, “my spouse/partner is kind of an asshole and mostly incapable of comporting themselves in public in a manner befitting a grown adult but I love them anyway they are muh property uwu” T-shirts. I imagine those criticising the Pharrel image would be more comfortable with this kind of apparel.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Luzbelitz
When I first read that line, the first thing that popped into my mind was Fahrenheit 451. Not sure if it’s a deliberate reference.

@Robert Haynie

I am convinced is far from spherical, and is more a severely distorted cross between a pyramid and an oblate spheroid)

It’s a circle. Specifically, a circlejerk.

@Dvärghundspossen
Your husband sounds like a great person. I’ve always seen that the best men are the ones who aren’t afraid to be feminine, because they’re more secure in themselves.

@Cat Mara
I’ve seen a lot of similar signs when traveling (in America they seem quite popular in shops, I never saw them in any other countries) and they never cease to frustrate me.

As for algorithmically generated shirts, a blog I follow is theworstthingsforsale.com. A large number of the bad products they feature are poorly made algorithmic shirts.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ kupo

I’ve found that hatred of fashion is, invariably, rooted in misogyny.

I think there have been legitimate criticisms of fashion since non functional clothing became a thing; there are references even from classical times.

Current criticisms though include: the classism, the consumerism, the impact on health, promoting slavery, and the environmental consequences; and that’s before we even get into the fur and leather side of things.

https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/good-socialists-wear-expensive-clothes

https://fashionista.com/2018/07/fashion-industry-modern-slavery-report-2018

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/victoire-dauxerre-model-anorexia-fashion-industry-speak-out-why-a7610036.html

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/jun/23/five-ways-fashion-damages-the-planet

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
1 year ago

I think it’s a cool outfit. It looks like something the future elders in Bill & Ted would wear.

a bunch of pouting narcissists in ugly €1,000 jackets talking down to men who struggle to improve themselves and build and sustain their families

I feel like this is codespeak for “those poor RedPillers, just trying to get laid in a hostile world”.

Celebrities can dress up as emergency airplane slides, but they’ll never be as ridiculous as a redditor with a mall sword on the wall boasting about how he built civilization.

When evil begins carrying out its purposes, it’s not people like Pharrell showing up in dresses that put it down

You can do a Google search and find thousands of historical images of warriors doing battle in skirts, dresses, and togas.

We aren’t living in the stone age any more. These days, evil is carrying out its purpose on social media, cable news, hate radio, and in the halls of our highest institutions. Mocking and calling out Nazis doesn’t require any special garb.

literal and proverbial wolves

I think I’ll take my chances with the wolves. They don’t subscribe to any of that alpha-beta nonsense.

Teabug
1 year ago

You know what’s really unfair?
How my cat sticks his furry butt in my face like it’s the most natural thing in the world, but then acts all violated when I return the favour. I mean, what does that say about equality?

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

I think I’ll take my chances with the wolves. They don’t subscribe to any of that alpha-beta nonsense.

Plus, many of us have tamed wolves in our homes that are much better than Red Pillers. Mine (see avatar image) sometimes misbehaves but AFAICT is never misogynistic or racist.

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
1 year ago

I honestly get a bit fed up as a cosplayer and someone interested in costume design when people kick off about something they have seen a man usually a man, wear on the catwalk and think for some reason that it’s what the illuminati/deepstate/joooze want them to wear in public.

Fashion shows are shows for god sake, this stuff is not intended to be worn on the street! Very little catwalk style actually filters down to make practical streetwear.

There is no gay agenda trying to force men to dress up in clown outfits as the designers are just showing off ideas, not brainwashing men to be feminine. A lot of these designers go on to work on feature films and movies where elaborate and outlandish looks are appreciated.

Dikdik
Dikdik
1 year ago

@ moggie

But you’d never see runway items on the street. Runway is about an experience, the story of the clothes. It’s the designer showing off their chops! It’s the designer showing you clothes relationship to movement and the world! It can be hard to “get” at first, but it’s really beautiful once you have the language.

Ready wear is what a person wears day to day. It can still be exciting, but this tends to be more focused in polish and practicality.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

Seems to me that a lot of that haute-couture fashion serves the same purpose as those concept cars motor companies like to present at shows– often completely impractical and just an excuse for the designers to go hog-wild

Shadowplay
1 year ago

@Cat Mara

It’s exactly that. A happy designer is a productive designer.

Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
1 year ago

Current criticisms though include: the classism, the consumerism, the impact on health, promoting slavery, and the environmental consequences; and that’s before we even get into the fur and leather side of things.

…are we talking about kink community or what

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ cat mara

concept cars motor companies like to present at shows– often completely impractical

You’re forgetting their invaluable contribution to fighting crime!

comment image

And a lot of the stuff we now take for granted on production models originated on concept cars. Although I do find it funny that manufacturers seem to have taken on board Homer Simpson’s thing about infinite cup-holders.

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
1 year ago

@Luzbelitx

Best. Concept. Ever.

Spoilers! If you know any young adults that want to read a book with a lesbian protagonist and this concept incorporated into it, I can recommend Cold Fire by Tamora Pierce.

@kupo

Interesting phrasing. I’ve found that hatred of fashion is, invariably, rooted in misogyny.

Do you mean the systemic misogyny in fashion leads to upset with the fashion industry on the part of the consumer? Or internal/external misogyny within the consumer leads to hatred of all things considered feminine, as fashion? I am not sure how you intended this statement.

@teabug

You know what’s really unfair?
How my cat sticks his furry butt in my face like it’s the most natural thing in the world, but then acts all violated when I return the favour.

I tried licking mine in the face once after he licked me. He thought it was OK! I, on the other hand, had to wash out a mouthful of hair. Didn’t try it again.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Big Titty Demon

I tried licking mine in the face once after he licked me. He thought it was OK! I, on the other hand, had to wash out a mouthful of hair. Didn’t try it again.

I don’t have a cat (I’m allergic so I can’t have one 🙁), so I’ve never licked one, but I licked my dog by accident once. I had my mouth open and she jumped in front of me so I accidentally licked her side. Her fur didn’t taste very good.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

You should really think critically about things before using them as evidence in an article. This could have been a smear piece by a right-winger if some of the nouns were different. Think before you speak.

What specifically did you have an issue with, and why?

Do you imagine that it’s a smear to point out the bigotry on the right? Because feel free to point to me some prominent right wingers who aren’t bigots. Good luck finding any.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@WWTH
I found his idea that could have been a smear piece “if some of the nouns were different” to be odd. Most things are different if the words are different. A psychology textbook could be a romance novel if the nouns, verbs, and adjectives are changed.

My money is on this being a dirtbag leftist/skidmarxist.