2016 and masculinity


2016 has been a rough year. Train and plane crashes seemingly every other week. Brexit, Trump and Pauline Hanson pushed back on the idea the world was trending towards a kinder, more inclusive place.

We’ve also lost so many people who had an impact on our lives, including Richard Adams, one of my favourite authors from my childhood. Watership Down will be getting another reading over the next few weeks.

These were all tragic, but it took the death of George Michael to make me finally realise something. I couldn’t say it any better than @Guard_guy24 on Twitter:

Thank you to Bowie, Prince and George Michael for showing me masculinity comes in many beautiful forms.

I’ve struggled with masculinity most of my life. If anything, I only made peace with it very recently, now that the threat and social pressure of high school are long gone, and I’ve stopped giving a shit about online trolls.

It’s hard to talk about and describe, so I haven’t tried before! But basically, I couldn’t ever really identify with the male attributes I was supposed to like or have. Effeminate (in a Western sense) K-Pop stars, women and certain gay culture seemed far more welcoming.

(That’s not a judgement against traditional male interests and roles, it just wasn’t a fit for me).

I don’t know if there’s a term for it. Regardless, the likes of Michael, Prince and Bowie were a comforting reminder that while probably unusual, I wasn’t alone with these feelings.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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