Sunday, October 10, 2004

Are Aussie men getting it?

Are Australian men finally getting too smart for feminism? There's an encouraging sign in today's Herald Sun. Adam Zwar, who writes a men's column, tells of being asked to give a speech to school boys on the topic of "what it means to be a man".

I thought I wasn't going to like the column. I had always thought that Adam Zwar was a kind of light-weight laddish humourist. So I was very pleasantly surprised to read what he actually told the Year 10 boys. In his own words,

I ... told the kids you have to be strong ... Nothing is more unmanly than telling everyone your problems ... It's also good to be educated ... It's important to get physical, too. A garden is good. If you don't have a garden, go to the gym. You'll be surprised how better your soul feels after you've lifted something.

Men should be responsible, polite. And, no, politeness does not mean weakness. And they should also be brave, strong and determined - even though the latte set scoff at such values ...

Indeed, the old-style values of men are being undermined by metrosexual hermaphrodites who would be useless in assisting anyone in a scrap, least of all themselves.

There's nothing wrong with being "logical, disciplined, controlled, rational and aggressive" when you're protecting a friend from a gang of street thugs. There's nothing wrong with having brute strength when you're helping females move house.

And there's nothing wrong with stoicism during a family crisis, when everyone around you is crumbling under a blanket of grief.

Sure, it might be old-fashioned, but no one who is relying on you will say what you're doing is wrong.

I'm mightily impressed by this. When you consider that there are no useful role models for men on TV or in popular culture, and that the political class uses its influence to try to convince men to become more effeminate, it's highly significant that a young, mainstream man like Adam Zwar should still make such a principled defence of traditional masculinity.

Even under the weight of a liberal culture, men are still figuring out the importance of a traditional masculinity. It must make the gender-benders tear their hair out.

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