It’s true, we’re really living on the golden age of television. A golden age where we’re able to enjoy new ways of telling stories and where we can take pleasure on a certain variety of alternative platforms to binge-watch our favorite show, or even get to know their very own stellar productions (such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon), and yet, nothing has drawn more my attention than an interesting development on characterisation of masculinity upon male protagonists.
Nowadays, we’re more than wont to have an stereotipical male figure on TV and films that will gladly shove down our throats his socially constructed ideas of what it really is to be man; let’s make a list of all them, shall we? A man has to be strong, powerful and dauntless, he also has to provide for his family (mostly for his selfless wife) and never (at all cost) shed a single tear for nothing and no one. A dude with this ideals will always have the power to overcome any problem without showing neither harm nor weakness. He will always be a manly man.
Fortunately, we’re kicking off a new era, one where this stereotipic ideas are really worn out. You just have to turn the TV on to come across a whole new badge of glorious male characters depicting a new way to see masculinity. From Catastrophe to Kevin From Work, from Man Seeking Woman to Master Of None, even You’re The Worst, all acting out new ideals, breaking paradigms and demolishing old preconceptions of manhood.
The men depicted on this shows are not afraid to show his feelings (what a travesty!) and, above all, they’re used to talk about them (double travesty!), they’re also allowed to feel vulnerable and to show this side of their being without remorse or self-deprecation (The travesty apocalypse is upon us!).
We get to see how a sensitive guy as Rob cares so much about pregnant girflriend Sharon’s feelings in spite her constant and utter denial of it on Catastrophe. The same thing happens on Man Seeking Woman, when main character Josh fantasies on meeting the perfect girl for him even though his heart is completely broken after his girlfriend left him for another guy. Even Jimmy, from You’re The Worst, has to show his true colors as he is being supportive when his girlfriend Gretchen falls through the black hole of clinical depression.
It really is a delight to come across such enlightning, enthralling and enriching new ways of portraying masculinity. We’re not empty vessels ready to be filled up in real life. Us men should, and must look for, and look up, another masculinities. Those that really defy our way to see life.
That’s why I, for one, was more than excited to welcome Kevin’s best friend, Brian, crying his heart out for the loss of the girl he thought was his true love on Kevin From Work and, even better, having an enthralling chat about his feelings, that doesn’t seem contrived at all, with his best friend while drinking some tea. Before this, I was really starting to worry that we’re going to be cursed with the perpetual, and godawful idea, of portraying men as a nonchalant non-crying Rambos.
I even get more excited when I stumble upon Dev, from Master Of None, trying to understand the way his girlfriend felt when she was mistreated by his boss after being totally polite to him. In fact, Aziz Ansari (creator and main character of the show) takes his time to tackle the clear differences between the inequal ways society treats men and women as a main theme on one episode of season one.
So yes, I do know we will always have Rambos, Terminators and Conans The Barbarians to look up when its needed, but they’re not the only (and necessary) depiction of masculinity that the world needs. They’re the ones that the world want us to be.
Men in real life do have feelings in spite all the constant reminders, and reproachs, to not doing it so. Role models are everywhere too, we just have to look for those that matches with our way of seeing things and not by the ones who are trying to define us.