Beauty and the bloke

It’s fascinating to watch instincts and conditioning at work. A trend appears. It grows into a movement then becomes irritating enough for another group to push back.

Take what is happening among human males.

A group of them spends hours manscaping and daubing on makeup in puruit of the metrosexual Adonis, spending tons on brows, buttock-lifts and bronzer.

With a growing market for male makeup, and how-to tutorials on YouTube and TikTok, a subject that once incited disparaging humor and hostility has become a multi-billion dollar business.

Nevertheless, A-list makeup artist Stéphane Marais recently told Vogue Homme, “No man wants to admit he’s wearing makeup, as that would necessarily imply he’s becoming more feminine”.

Hostility is inflamed and the perceived threat to masculinity incites the inevitable backlash.

Liberal candidate Katherine Deves has polarised the community by insisting people be demarcated into their “immutable” binary groups.

For some – generally “conservatives” – she is a voice of reason.

The backlash is now global.

China has said it will ban “effeminate” aesthetics in entertainment, “vulgar influencers” should be avoided and that it would crack down on “unhealthy content” in programs.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin said he hoped society would be protected against the influence of gender-fluid “obscurantism”. “A woman is a woman, and a man is a man,” he insisted.

In 2013, Russia banned homosexual “propaganda” – meaning Pride marches and rainbow flags – and also banned adoptions by gay parents. In 2020 Russia banned gay marriage.

In the US, mouth-breathing multi-millionaire, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, claimed US men were becoming physically weaker and equated that to weaker political leadership.

Of course he attributed failing masculinity to the rise of the political left.

His solution, and this is not a joke, was testicle tanning – something that even the most ardent manscaping trans-man might happily embrace.