08 February, 2008

The New Masculine Ideal

No, I'm not joking.

Where the masculine ideal of as recently as 2000 was a buff 6-footer with six-pack abs, the man of the moment is an urchin, a wraith or an underfed runt.

Nowhere was this more clear than at the recent men’s wear shows in Milan and Paris, where even those inured to the new look were flabbergasted at the sheer quantity of guys who looked chicken-chested, hollow-cheeked and undernourished. Not altogether surprisingly, the trend has followed the fashion pack back to New York

Their waists...measure 28 or 30 inches. They have, ideally, long necks, pencil thighs, narrow shoulders and chests no more than 35.5 inches in circumference...

What is this? Heroin Chic for men? Or did pedophilia finally go mainstream and a teenage boy is now considered the height of sexiness?

I think one of the models has it nailed:
Mr. Tkach said that when he came here from Mexico, where he had been working: “My agency asked me to lose some muscle. I lost a little bit to help them, because I understand the designers are not looking for a male image anymore. They’re looking for some kind of androgyne.”

I couldn't help but think of the culture wars lately, concerns that men are being "feminizied" or not encouraged to grow up. Somehow it all seems to fit together, but I'm frankly too tired to spend more time on this ridiculous topic. All I know is that men's arms are one of their best parts--even in gentleness, their power is obvious. But I'd be afraid to have one of these guys put his arms around me... I might might bump him and he'd end up with a cast on his forearm.

Besides that, I'm not into teenage boys.

But then again, maybe my friend the "pencil-necked, sunken-chested geek" has a future in modeling among the older set if this Iraq thing doesn't work out for him... ;)

[h/t Raven]