Style | Jun 02, 2012
Masculinity Goes Social
By Steve Mazzucchi, Editor, MadeMan.com
I read a story on Tech Crunch about The ManCard, a new app that allows guys to share photos of themselves performing manly feats (and vote on them) via social media. You know, like lugging a keg on your shoulder or killing a goose with your bare hands. Whether it’ll catch on remains to be seen, but they did score a sponsor for their first contest—Cojones Energy Shots, naturally—and get me pondering how differently we convey our masculinity in the digital era.
Think about it. One hundred years ago, you mounted the head of the 12-point-buck you killed with a crossbow on your wall. In 2012, you upload a pic of yourself shaving with a machete. (Even if you don’t use The ManCard, you most likely post such shots on Facebook and Twitter.) Is there any difference? A couple. First, you can’t really debate the notion that back in the day, men were manlier. In general, they spent more time outside, endured more difficult conditions and probably never exfoliated. We can’t really help it that most of us aren’t as rugged as our great grandfathers were; it’s just how it is.
But second, and perhaps more important, is the fact that today, displays of masculinity have much greater reach. Your great-grandfather needed to meet someone in person to out-macho him with a bone-crushing handshake. Today, we can impress—or attempt to impress—thousands of people around the world simply by boasting online about our croc-wrestling, chainsaw-wielding, heli-snowboarding feats.
Of course, with power comes responsibility. While we can all use Photoshop to bump up our biceps or make the rock wall look twice as big, we owe it to ourselves and our fellow men—not to mention women—to portray our exploits as honestly as possible. Because at some point, when we move out from behind our smartphones and iPads and laptops into the real world, we might just have to back some of that braggadocio up. And if you can’t actually move that keg to the deck by yourself at your girlfriend’s backyard birthday party, then you, my friend, are going to look very un-manly indeed.