In Defense of American Bros
There are certain villains of society whose relative merits no one will defend. Anyone standing up for child molesters, serial killers, or members of the Bush administration would be publicly pilloried, and justifiably so. But there is another group that seems to have been added to the list, and though he is without champion, it’s about time that someone stand up for him. This aggrieved class of human is none other than the American Bro.
Just last week on this here website, the American Bro was deemed “the worst guy ever”in a scathing attack that called into question not only his behavior but also his existence. This article paints the picture of a man who lives only to consume and impress, someone who wants to leave his mark on everything, not just the women whose tits he jizzes all over and the gutters that he vomits into after one too many craft beers, but on everything at every moment. He is loud and aggressive, not because he actually has something to say but because he wants to steal that moment—and your attention—for himself.
And what is so wrong with that? That is what men do. That is what men have always done. The problem is not the bro but the society in which he lives. This used to be a great country, a country that made things. America used to produce crops and clocks and cars. Who made all these things? Who ran the farms and worked union jobs in factories and provided for their children? Who were the bikers, cowboys, construction workers, and other Village People archetypes we prized? Men. They got to take this atavistic need to stamp a little bit of themselves onto everything and put it out there into the world. They made your cotton, soldered your TV sets, and tightened the bolts on the first space craft to make it to the moon. They not only manned the tanks that rid the world of Nazis, they drove them too—a dozen men in uniform with their bodies pressed against each other fighting for freedom.
In Defense of Hairy Women: Searching for a Fair Standard of Beauty
My friend Kevin, who majored in philosophy at Berkeley and is now a civil rights lawyer, and who supports all sorts of good causes (economic equality, gun control, gay marriage, Palestinian statehood, shade-grown coffee), yelled at me the other day for setting him up with a woman who has the hint of a mustache. OK, more than a hint. Have you ever seen a photo of Frida Kahlo and been drawn lustfully, as I have, to her fabulous, thick eyebrows, those two dark arches flapping above her eyes like the outstretched wings of a raven? If you look closely at that photo, you’ll see two thin bands of gorgeous dark fuzz that seem to have been penciled in at 45-degree angles above each side of her upper lip. The woman I set Kevin up with, a beautiful and ferociously smart poet and translator named Jill, who graduated summa cum laude in comparative literature at a university Kevin was rejected from, and whom I dated years ago, has those same eyebrows, and that same dark fuzz, but in both cases a little darker and a little thicker.
The Evolution of Black Masculinity Through Fashion
ll eyes were on Shayne Oliver as he stepped into a sweltering Bronx church in the heat of summer, 2000. The lanky teenager shuffled into the vestibule wearing a short white crop top, exposing his taut midriff. Blots of black skin poked through hand-tattered jeans that were so tight he had to cut them up and safety-pin them back together to get them on. Shayne’s outfit set him drastically apart from the men of the congregation, who wore boxy suits. He and his mother hadn’t even taken seats in a pew before the preacher started spewing a diatribe of venomous, homophobic remarks from the pulpit. It took a moment before Shayne realized the preacher was attacking him. “Basically, the pastor ran me out of the church,” he told me recently. “I stopped going after that.”
Shayne’s now 25 and the designer of menswear label Hood By Air, whose provocative styles—along with brands like Telfar and Third Floor—are carving out a new and empowering palette of masculinity for young black men to paint from. At Shayne’s shows, it’s not out of the ordinary to see his models stalk the runway in makeup and dresses. Their bellies are often exposed, and half the time you can’t tell whether they’re men or women. But far from sissiness, the looks exude the visceral power of a lineman crushing a quarterback, or two swords clashing in an action film. This time last year, at Shayne’s debut New York Fashion Week runway show, the scene was so thick I had to stand on my tiptoes to catch a glimpse of his powerful vision of androgynous modern menswear. With macho gangster rapper A$AP Rocky on the catwalk, and stars like Kanye West and Waka Flocka Flame in the crowd offering up their adulation, the show was the birth of a new epoch in the evolution of black masculinity.
There have been others who’ve pushed similar boundaries in the past. Before Kanye and A$AP, black artists like Sly and the Family Stone in the 60s and Cameo in the 80s wore gear that looked like it was straight out of the Folsom Street Fair. In the 90s, Tupac walked in a Versace fashion show in a flamboyant gold suit.
But one of the things that sets this new wave apart from what came before is that straight men like Kanye and Rocky have no problem recognizing that some of their looks might have originated in the gay community. This kind of inclusiveness and openness is one of the many elements that signifies a shift in the way black men comport themselves in an age when the old notions of machismo, which were burdened with the baggage of 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow, continue to be chipped away.
Cry-Baby of the Year
Everyone in the world is turning into an entitled psychopath, which led to a massive surplus in the 2013 cry-baby market. It was a crowded field out there this year, and while it’s true that all of the contenders were infantile and pathetic, who was the biggest cry-baby of them all? We’ll let you decide.
We’ve compiled the ten cry-babies who received the most votes over the last year. Cast your vote for the worst of the worst at the bottom of the page to decide who will receive the Cry-Baby of the Year trophy pictured above.
The “Ultimate Women’s Expo” Taught Me While Men Still Ruled the World
A woman is a blank canvas; emphasis on blank. Her face, in its natural and undisturbed state, is a tragic waste of Sephoric potential. Her body, with its propensity to store what medical professionals refer to as “belly fat,” is rubelike in its inelegance. The love she feels for chocolate is rivaled only by the love she feels for her children (or, if she’s unfortunate enough to possess a cursed, non-functional uterus, the dog she purchased from a breeder on Craigslist). Her mind is a cloud of confusion; she knows not what she does, nor who she is. She has a job, but she wants a career. Ah, but what career does she want? She cannot say. She is a walking existential crisis, adrift on a sea of meaninglessness in which she will eventually drown. She is a cipher, placed on this Earth by her male Creator solely to purchase products and services. And what better place for her to do just that than…THE ULTIMATE WOMEN’S EXPO?!?
I am, in the interest of full disclosure, a woman. (If this shocking revelation offends you, feel free to stop reading this and cleanse your palate with a Hemingway short story or eight; I’ll understand.) But I am no ordinary woman. I am a woman who was, mere days ago, #blessed enough to attend the Ultimate Women’s Expo. This is my story. (NOTE: Story edited by a man.)
The Ultimate Women’s Expo literally puts women in boxes.
I arrived at the Los Angeles Convention Center at the unethically early hour of 10 AM on a Saturday, ready for my agency to be stripped away and replaced with heavily discounted leggings and reminders of my overwhelming unattractiveness.