A reader writes:
I am a heterosexual male, 66.3 years of age; I was a sweet child, and pretty much from the git-go - a sissy. I got bullied a lot in the late 40s and 50s, when the WWII notion of masculinity prevailed unquestioningly. I read; I loved music and singing; I hated football but excelled at it, and enjoyed all sports; I hated the heavy hand of conformity in my small rural Missouri town, and knew from early years that what makes/made a man was diverse to say the least, and way beyond my father's and my uncles's worshipping of the John Wayne syndrome. And believe me, it always hurt when my father would turn on me with scorn and anger and say the frightfully loaded words, "Don't be such a goddamned sissy." I lived with his contempt for me until he died, and didn't much regret his passing; now that I am older than he was then, I wish I'd been less angry with him and more sympathetic, but such words were really mean.
So I know about that. I still fail to see why and how you can say that our culture is either therapeutic or male-loathing. Certain parts of it are. But why not? Certain aspects of our culture are also unchanged from what they were when I was a boy, and had to cope with the vulgarities and the sureties and the viciousness of that male-dominated abuse. Why not loathe that kind of maleness? You must have suffered from it, too.
I did. But not quite as brutally as some, perhaps. The point I was trying to make is that some feminists have tried to problematize maleness as such, without making the significant distinctions my reader rightly highlights. The choice is not "real men" or "metrosexuals." It's more complicated and interesting than that.