Yet again, The Times has been bemoaning the apparent decline of traditional manhood. Nirpal Dhaliwal thinks the ascent of the alpha female has led to the rise of the omega male (a “wimp who’s lost touch with his masculinity”) and Gerard Baker has been speaking glowingly about Harvey Mansfield’s book about so-called “Manliness”.
Baker contradicts what seems to be his central message by listing Margaret Thatcher and Hilary Clinton among those who have this otherwise elusive and apparently femininity-free quality, while Dhaliwal’s article is actually such an astoundingly feminist-baiting, puerile, retrograde take on the state of manhood that I’ve been left wondering if it might actually be a parody. According to Dhaliwal, we women really want “sex-god bastards” who’ll break our hearts -regardless of whether we “pretend” to like “wimps”- and those of us who genuinely don’t are actually lesbians (apparently too repressed to admit it, despite being liberated enough to outwardly reject macho stereotypes in men). He also says the “alpha female” has no time for men with minds of their own but later contradicts himself by saying that
women, especially alpha ones, love guys who tell them to shut up. They need someone who sees through their hormonal neuroticism and keeps their feet on the ground
His handy hints to men on How to Stay on Top mostly read like a guide on How to Get Dumped.
On a somewhat less limiting note, Christopher Hart has reviewed Norah Vincent’s account of her experiences disguised as a man for a year. Despite a few moments of “momentary misogyny” and generalisation about how women interact in comparison to men, it looks like Vincent’s book will be worth a read.
Male coded circle/top right arrow symbol in black on a white background by Amit6, shared under a creative commons licence. Added retrospectively.