Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bathrobes And Baby Carriers: The Stuff Of Manliness?

Here is another installment in NPR's summer series on the lives of Men in America - how things have (or have not changed) for men over the last decades. Check out some of the responses to the article/podcast below on what makes you feel manly.

Bathrobes And Baby Carriers: The Stuff Of Manliness?

by Shereen Marisol Meraji
June 27, 2014

Listen to the Story
All Things Considered
4 min 43 sec
David Lee writes an online men's guide to Asian lifestyle and entertainment. He says he voted against a battle-ax and for his bathrobe when choosing a masculine object. The blue terry cloth robe is based on the Adventure Time cartoon. Courtesy of Salima Koroma

This summer, All Things Considered is looking at the lives of Men in America and how things have changed — or haven't. Part of that is redefining masculinity, so the show asked me to ask guys about the stuff they equate with manliness today. (Submit your own stories in the form below.)

I started my very unscientific investigation on a Friday night at a Washington, D.C., barbershop. Fresh Cut owner Bernard Fernandez chose his Buick. He fixed it up himself and says that first car meant freedom and independence; a way to get to and from work and a paycheck. "That's manly!" Fernandez says.

"It didn't have nothing but one seat in it, that was the driver's seat — anybody else rode in it, they just rode on milk crates. I had a lot of fun in that car."

When I asked on Twitter, one of you picked a BabyBjorn as your object because you tweeted that you didn't feel like a man until you had a kid. Others mentioned motorcycles, chainsaws and even a "man pan" (that's a heavy cast iron pan for those who are curious; I know I was).

When I posed the question to writer and rapper David Lee, he immediately thought of what he should say.

"I should pick something like a watch or a boot, perhaps a battle-ax," he says.

Lee is a New Yorker who writes Gumship, an online men's guide to Asian lifestyle and entertainment. He ultimately voted against the battle-ax and went with a bathrobe as his masculine object. But his is no Hugh Heffner-esque robe. The blue terry cloth Adventure Time cartoon robe hits around midthigh, and Lee says it represents the luxury of being a man today.

"I think we're at a space in time where men are openly loving My Little Ponies, embracing cartoons, still playing video games, and we're really dictating what it means to be a man," he says. "Everyone's confused whether or not they're being ironic or not, and that's so luxurious, you know?"

Join The Conversation

Use #menpr to join in the conversation about men in America on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
* * * * *

NPR ASKS: What Object Makes You Feel Manly?

As part of All Things Considered's summer series on men in America, we want to hear about the object, thing, toy, tool or stuff that makes you feel manly.

Women are also welcome! No judgment or imposition of tightly defined gender roles here – this is meant to be FUN.

If you're sharing on social media, use the hashtag #menpr. Follow all the stories here:

We may use your response on the radio and
* Required

What physical object makes you feel manly? Why? *
Example: A baby carrier – because you didn't feel like a man until you became a father.
Scroll down to the bottom of the story at the NPR page linked to above to share your response.

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