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Sunday, May 06, 2007



Several weeks ago I gave my students an article entitled “Redefining Manhood in the 21st Century” (you can check it at this website I accessed on September 19, 2004 if it is still there). In that class, we discussed the impact of the emergence of metrosexual lifestyle, especially in big cities.

I assume more and more people accept this kind of lifestyle. And it is a good thing because in one way or another, there is an effort (although perhaps only a slight) of making men and women equal in the case of paying attention to outer performance. If in the past, only women (mostly) were obliged to pay attention to sort of trivial things in their appearance, such as neat hair, spotless and smooth skin, no acne in the face, smell good, until slim and firm body, etc. on the other hand, men could just ignore their appearance, even they would get called as many when they ignored it. men would be considered “queer” when they paid attention to those trivial things. To be considered “queer” could mean hellish life for some people because they would be considered abnormal. Being abnormal would invite people’s mockery and contempt.

With the emergence of metrosexual lifestyle, there is demand that men look good too. Men should pay attention too what clothes to wear, whether they are well-groomed or not, whether their skin is clean, whether hey smell good, and whether they have well-built and firm body. (FYI, at least, in Indonesia, in the past, having fat body for men was analogous with welfare.)

One question I gave my students to discuss in the class was “What do you think of men who cry when watching sentimental movies? Or when they face death of someone or failure?”

Around five or six years ago, one of my male workmates used to show disgust when he read news about a man crying at his son’s wedding in one big local newspaper. The man is the owner of the newspaper, and my workmate worked as a freelance writer in one teenage magazine that belongs to that newspaper too. He said that it was really a shameful thing for men to cry, in any situation, failure, death, moreover only at a wedding day.

Going back to my class. from five pairs (three pairs consisted of male students each, and two pairs consisted of female), surprisingly all of them said that it was okay for men to cry when facing sentimental occasions in their life, such as failure, death, or at a wedding ceremony. All of them are teenagers, around 16-19 years of age. I could see the changing way of viewing life in them compared to their predecessors, one generation before. They reasoned that men were also human beings who could feel touched due to something.

However, only one pair—both female, around 19 years of age, in their second semester of college—said that it was okay for men to cry when watching sentimental movies. The others gave reason, “Movies are just made-up stories. Why should men shed tears only because of imitation things?”

It was really an interesting discussion to me. When I asked the two female students their reason why it was okay for men to cry, they said, “Imitation those movies are made is taken from what happens in the real life. In the past I did not agree either that men were okay to cry only because of sentimental movies they watch. One day, a male friend of mine told me about a very good movie that made him cry when watching it. When I watched it myself, I understood why he cried. The movie was really touching, romantic and wonderful. It was about a true love between a man and a woman. The man loved his girlfriend so much that he was willing to die for her.”

“What is the title of the movie?” I asked.

“IF ONLY,” my student answered.

A couple of days ago, I watched it. (FYI, I am not a movie freak.) Well, it was touching and romantic. Not really wonderful though to me. How about men crying while watching it? Of course I don’t mind men crying in any situation. Men crying will make them humane, as humane as women who cry in any situation. Men crying will not out of the blue make them transform to be female.

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1 comment:

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