Male Actors Used to Look Far More Masculine
One of the more common complaints often made by conservatives on social media in West goes something this.. “men today look and act far less masculine than they used to in the past”. They usually attribute this change to a variety of reasons ranging from high fructose diet, seed oil consumption, chemicals in the environment, feminism etc. Liberals, on the other hand, pretend that this change is not real or somehow desirable. They will also claim that it is due to how men, nowadays, dress and groom themselves. Others think this has something to what type of people are cast in acting roles etc. My views on this topic do not neatly fit it either ideological category. However it is hard to deny that men in younger age groups (especially those below 30) look more effeminate than their counterparts from previous generations.
While some liberals might claim that this is all due to how people dress nowadays, I can easily think of multiple examples which contradict this explanation. For starters, this tendency to look noticeably less masculine is concentrated in some counties. Men from Middle-Eastern, Mediterranean, South American, African countries etc from the under-30 cohort do not look less masculine than their counterparts from the previous generation. East Asian countries are hard to categorize as they age slower than those in West. Having said that, I have not seen any obvious pattern of men from younger generations looking noticeably less masculine than their counterparts from.. say.. two or three decades ago. To make a long story short, it appears that this peculiar trend is still largely restricted to the West. But why? What is driving this trend?
Another line of evidence supporting the idea that men in western countries look less masculine than their counterparts from even a couple of decades ago. This becomes obvious when you start looking at clips of older TV shows and movies on YouTube. Don’t believe me? Try looking at clips of older TV shows (from even as late as 1990s and early 2000s) and it is hard to ignore that the male actors in them just look more obviously masculine than their counterparts in similar films and shows today. And this pattern is seen across genres.. from Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210 to ER, NYPD Blue to Frasier, Friends (yes even those shows), Seinfeld to Everybody loves Raymond, King of Queens and many many more. Heck.. even the male characters in ‘Sex and the City’ look significantly more masculine than their counterparts in similar current shows. Note that we are talking about shows that are barely two decades old.
Some attribute this shift, especially in entertainment, to movie and TV show makers choosing more effeminate looking men. Perhaps that is a minor factor, but let us be clear about something- showbusiness is ultimately business. Forgettable characters who do not elicit strong emotional responses in viewers is not an optimal strategy to make more money. Also, the general level of femininity and attractiveness in female actors has not changed over same time period. Sure.. race-swapped female characters in established IPs over the past few years are often less attractive than their original versions- but they are still almost as feminine looking. More curiously, even if you look at visually orientated social media platforms (from Instagram, TikTok etc) it is hard to ignore that many of the more well-known male faces on them don’t look especially masculine unless you narrow you search down to certain specific niches.
My point is that something in the environment of certain countries, especially in the West, has changed to drive this unfortunate trend. Could it be some combination of obesity, environmental chemicals, ideology, socialization? Perhaps.. who knows? Am curious to hear your takes on this topic, since I am considering writing a couple more posts in this general area in the near future.
What do you think? Comments?