Guest Blogger // 30 May 2008
Remember this quiz providing men with a helpful guide to satisfying the gender police? Now the Daily Mail has dug up a modern version – and some people clearly wish they were back in 1954. Clare Laxton has more in this guest post
Upon my habitual trawling of the right wing press to see what we are up against today I come across this article on a new book the ‘Retrosexual Manual’ – it was in the Daily Mail’s ingeniously titled ‘femail’ section.
The book claims that women are tired of metrosexual men and goes through certain qualities that a ‘real man’ must hold in order to be attractive to women. They include focusing solely on sex, beer and football (apparently women envy the ability of the retrosexsual man to have such an uncluttered mind), having strong arms to open jars and never cooking anything more complex than a Pot Noodle – as cooking is the women’s job! It goes on with other generically sexist rules like never say ‘I love you’ after sex, never ask for directions and obviously never have cushions or curtains in your house or flat.
Not only is the article and book completely patronising to women and all that they have achieved – and are still striving to achieve, it reinforces all the gender stereotypes that we work to eradicate and gives reason for, nay, glorifies men acting in a misogynistic way – backing up every sexist’s verbal masturbation with ‘the lads’ down the boozer. Though this is a slightly tongue in cheek portrayal of a retrosexual man – apparently the author – a Mr Dave Beasley – was inspired to write the book when he saw what effect Gene Hunt from Life on Mars had on women I wonder what women he was speaking to, as I can tell you right now that Mr Hunt had no effect on me apart from being thankful that I wasn’t a woman in the 70’s. He believes that if women are true to themselves they will admit that they want a ‘real man’. Will we? I’m not sure but I think that women don’t really like being told how to think – especially since we are in the strong starting position of our full minds, of course. In practical terms, are we really after directionless sex smelling of beer, and post-coital patter about Chelsea’s latest signing? Count me out.
It’s also deeply homophobic – giving tips on how to scrutinise interactions with other men to avoid any appearance of “suspicious relationships”:
You have mates – but never Best Friends. Famous buddies such as Starsky and Hutch, Butch and Sundance, Batman and Robin, and even Ant and Dec are highly suspicious relationships.
No matter how tough those men may be, nor how straight, the Retrosexual can’t help thinking they’re all riding a little too close to Brokeback Mountain.
I read this article with a sense of absolute disbelief but also a vague hope that men and women around the country don’t read the book or take it seriously.