The Sexist

The Decade In Masculinity



Peak Year: 2007

Hipster men eschew many traditionally masculine activities—lifting weights, listening to butt rock, taking beer bongs. However, hipsters often compensate for the perceived femininity of their alternative lifestyle by adopting a series of hyper-masculine traits, only "ironically"—ironic mustaches, ironic racism, ironic Pabst consumption.

Ambassadors: Dov Charney's army of retail nymphs.

Uniform: Ironic child molester glasses, ironic mustache, ironic sweater.

Activities: Listening to records, snorting things, appropriating ethnic clothing.



Peak Year: 2008

The late-00's onslaught of virginal young men represent Boy Bands redux. Traditionally, the virtue of chastity has been pushed on little girls as a decidedly feminine trait. While Justin Timberlake's early-2000's girlfirend, Britney Spears, famously claimed she was waiting to marry J.T. to get it on (she didn't), Timberlake's own sexual history was never the focus of speculation. And more recent male virginal phenomenons—like the Jonas Brothers and Twilight's Edward Cullen—are marketed with girls in mind, as well. We know that Cullen's reluctance to sex up girlfriend Bella Swan before marriage means that Bella will stay a virgin until she gets hitched, but Edward's own sexual past is unexplained in the Twilight series. The Jonas Brothers alone have managed to shift chastity speculation onto boys: Rumors that the Jonas Brothers' promise rings aren't telling the whole truth run rampant on the Internet.

Ambassadors: The Jonas Brothers, Edward Cullen

Uniform: Promise rings.

Activities: Anything to keep their minds off things.



Peak Year: 2009

The cast of MTV reality show train wreck Jersey Shore offers up an interesting contrast between the masculinity of the self-described "Guidos" and the femininity of the "Guidettes." Both male and female members of the subcultureappear to spend the same amount of energy and time on their appearances—the men regularly go to the salon, spend hours at the gym, sun themselves in tanning beds, blow-dry their hair, and fastidiously apply glossy chapstick. Just don't call them metrosexual. The guido's traditionally feminine beauty regimen is accompanied by some hyper-masculine behaviors—competing with each other over laying claim to women, punching strangers, and making fun of men who cook.

Ambassadors: The cast of Jersey Shore

Uniform: Tan, muscles, glossy chapstick

Activities: Tanning, working out, dancing, fighting

  • Therese

    Regarding female stoners: My favorite is Anna Faris as Jane, the hilarious pothead from Gregg Araki's too-little-seen 'Smiley Face'

  • Christina

    Lovely. I could talk all day about the indoctrination of social norms.
    For example; back when they decided it would be a good idea to assign colors to sex(victorian age I believe), there was a camp that believed in blue for girls and pink for boys. Who knew that little girls loving pink isn't genetically coded!

  • John Dias

    Amanda, do you get paid to write this?

  • Hill Rat

    Funny stuff, but I remember seeing most of these archetypes back in the 80's. Guidos, androgyny (think Duran Duran), boy bands, and stoners all had their day back in the 80's. There's nothing new under the sun.

  • Dave

    What's with the multiple page posting? You know that these things will stretch out forever right?

  • Former Staffer

    Wow, as a man I feel demasculinated by the post. I'm pre-hipster and post-stoner and none of the rest. So does that make me less or more of a man for not following decade/generational trends?

  • Amanda Hess

    I do get paid to write this! Do you get paid to comment on my blog?

  • John Dias

    I'll tell you how much I make for commenting here if you tell me how much you make for writing the posts.

  • Erin

    every generation has their virgins.

    anyone remember Hanson?

  • Maggie

    I'm sorry I know this, but Edward's sexual history is in the Twilight series -- he was a virgin because he was way too good for any other woman. Also he wouldn't do Bella before marriage.

    Yes I did read all 4 of those awful, awful books just so I could understand exactly how awful they are.

  • Comrade Al Gonzales

    Apparently there was no masculinity whatsoever in the 00s. Men, virgins, & Studebakers were not made after 1964, b/c they were considered obsolete.

    Girls, if you want a man, find an old one. These young ones have no sperm & no testosterone - look at any scientific study & you'll see that both are declining by 50% every two decades / generation.

    Next time you see some girlie boys in a bar, you'll know what I mean. The only men left in America are over 45. If you don't know what I mean, you must be , 45 years old. Good luck to you, b/c you're going to need it in the new world of no men.

  • Pingback: Argentine Gay Marriage a First for Latin America | Xenia Institute

  • Quinn

    Amanda, you forgot to mention Roissy! Where does his either real or satirical hatred for women fit into all of this?

  • Christina

    Hm, looks like some of you dudes have once again missed the point.

  • Amanda Hess

    @Quinn: You're so right! The PICK-UP ARTIST. How did I forget the Pick-Up Artist??

  • cminus

    How did I forget the Pick-Up Artist??>

    And how can you help the rest of us do so?

  • Pingback: The Decade In Femininity - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • Pat

    I find this kind of sweeping categorization of people to be quite disturbing. Massive generalizations of certain groups of people are the first step toward wholesale dehumanization. Those damn [Jews, blacks, gays etc.] are so [greedy, lazy, morally corrupt etc.], completely forgetting that there is more variation within the groups than between them. No division is more fundamental (or easy to emphasize) than the difference in our genital plumbing, however, as before there are many more differences within the two groups than between them. Artifical categorization (like this) does nothing but tap into primal "my team vs. your team!" urges deep in the darkest part of our psyche and can lead to very nasty outcomes. Appeals to primitive, gut-level reactions are, in my opinion, the anti-thesis of enlightened, progressive solutions to (real or imagined) social inequality.

    This blog is called "The Sexist"... still trying figure out if it's meant ironically. In any case, for a blog that ostensibly (I assume?) supports gender equality and civil rights, I believe that this type of writing undermines that goal. I commend the author's intelligence and writing ability, but the overall content is too divisive to be effective. Just my two cents.

  • Jessica

    Pat, I believe you are missing the point. Amanda Hess is not dehumanizing individuals; she is writing about the cultural shorthand that is used to generalize individuals. Writing about common cultural tropes - archetypes that are used in cinema, television, and literature - is a way of deconstructing them and pointing out any problematic aspects of those archetypes, as you suggest.

    Discussing archetypes is not the same thing as endorsing their ideals or suggesting that people who fit into those archetypes are somehow lesser or unindividualistic.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • John Dias

    And of course, we can also discuss the archetype of individuals who use the word "archetypes" 4 times in the space of 5 sentences.

  • Jessica

    John, I'm not sure how you've detracted from my point that discussing cultural shorthand is not the same thing as endorsing said shorthand. Would you call a critic who mentions racism in popular culture a "racist'? It's such a lazy rhetorical trap.

  • John Dias

    I was just saying that archetype is such a snooty little academic high speech word. Har har.

  • Pingback: The Metrosexual Noughties | MARK SIMPSON .com

  • Joe Clark

    If only your publication did not resort to tactics more reminiscent of Russian spammers, viz breaking up articles into separate pages to inflate pageviews, thereby annoying readers and defrauding advertisers.

  • Pingback: Link(s): Sat, Dec 26th, 4pm to Tue, Jan 5th, 2pm | Your Revolution (The Blog!)