Jim Shea Talks About The Concept Of Masculinity

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The concept of masculinity is changing, particularly among the post-baby boomer generation known as millennials.

A recent article in Adweek magazine featured a survey of male millennials (born 1977-1992), which had some interesting, some might say disturbing, findings.

How disturbing?

According to the survey, 12 percent of those polled said it was now acceptable for men to wear eyeliner, 18 percent gave a thumbs up to foundation, and 14 percent had no problem with nail polish.

While I think men wearing eyeliner is kind of creepy, and I’m not exactly sure what foundation is, the thing I found most worrisome was the nail polish. Wearing nail polish is a slippery slope for men. Consider the progression:

You start off with a polish in your favorite color, then wearing colors to match you outfits, then your moods, and then one day you find yourself sitting in a salon having your nails done by a pleasant woman while watching “The View.”

Next, you become fixated on your nails to the point that when you run into one of your buddies you don’t shake but rather hold out your hand out in front of you to show off your nails. (Hopefully, this is not accompanied by excited squealing.)

Eventually, you graduate to also painting your toes, which means walking around with large cotton balls in between your little piggies. And I don’t even want to think about seeing you in flip flops.

Another unsettling survey revelation centered on which women’s fashions men are ready to embrace.

The purse was deemed the most acceptable, which is understandable given that you can pass it off as a man bag, or messenger bag, and no one is going to be the wiser unless, of course, you dip into it and pull out an eyeliner pencil.

What is a bit more problematic is the percentage of men (11-16) who were comfortable with wearing such attire as leggings, women’s jeans, and a skirt thingee called a sarong.

Finally, there was the matter of body image.

Know what the millennial’s top anxiety was? No, not height (14 percent), or even man boobs (30 percent). No, their greatest concern (40 percent) was a having a beer belly.

I mean, there was a time when the beer belly was a male status symbol.

Click here to read Jim Shea’s column on www.courant.com.

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