Sunday, January 16, 2011

BUSTin' Ass

In the latest issue of Bust Magazine (an appropriate and awesome name for the feminist in all of us), Brendan Tapley wrote an important article entitled, "Man Up." I was immediately drawn to it for its unconventionality: relationship improvement advice for men. Who would have thunk - maybe the guys could use some self-reflection! It is obvious that Tapley is extremely knowledgeable in gender, especially masculine, studies, and that he could say a great deal more than he did in the short two-page article. Regardless, he made some damn good points that I'd love to share.

He begins the article with a discussion objecting to "the guy alibi," an excuse for a man to act insensitively because, "he's just a guy." The Guy Alibi excuses men from responsibility, putting the weight of a relationship almost entirely on the woman. He says, "The 'just a guy' defense invariably shifts the burden of thoughtfulness, introspection, and conscience - the very acts of love - to the woman." But when both the man and woman lose the alibi, despite the initial discomfort of nonconformity, it becomes easier to create a more authentic and intimate relationship.
Tapley goes on to advise about the importance of the bromance. He explains how the modern idea of masculinity affects our mindset: "the more capable we are living without love, the tougher and more male we seem." Bromances allow men to convey the open expression of love that societal norms deprive them of. And when it comes to relationships with women, men have been so programmed to suppress loving gestures that they are not always sure how to connect with their partners. Part of them yearns to show love, while another fears a gay, and thus embarrassing, display. Bromances, therefore, help to alleviate that pent-up desire for intimacy and improve the balance in relationships with women.
Lastly, the author writes that men should be more chivalrous in order to show women that they can be supportive, committed partners. He says, "As women have [. . .] grown to expect their best connections to come from other women, modern masculinity has responded by narrowing itself." And this is shown in television sitcoms and commercials that portray men as clueless, burdensome buffoons, only further damaging our perspective of men. To change this, men can use chivalrous actions (not to assist women, but to acknowledge them) to improve their relationships.

I found Tapley's article to be quite refreshing, and unfortunately only something to be found in such a woman-empowering, alternative magazine such as Bust. But, I'd say better there than nowhere.

On that note, I wish you all a sweet night and happy winter days.
Smiles and Jams,

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