What does it mean to be a man in the early 21st century?

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In recent years, we have seen a number of different, rival interpretations of masculinity emerge within society-largely created and encouraged by the media ‘branding’ these groups. First New Men, then New Lads and Metrosexuals have all had their moment in the spotlight. A good example of how socially acceptable it has become to be Metrosexual would be Queer Eye For The Straight Guy (2003-07) a t.v show where straight men are advised by their gay counterparts on how to look good and organise their lives. Watch the following clip for an example:

 

But, as Phil Hilton of Nuts Magazine pointed out in the documentary Sex in The Noughties (2007) many males were not looking to become metrosexual, but rather wanted to be be able to explore and test their masculinity. Another example of this would be Brits Behind Bars (Like Queer Eye…  this is a product of Bravo T.V) Where several British men who are in danger of falling foul of the law are taken into the Arizona prison system in order to try and reform them. This idea of a shared experience as a test of masculinity could be said to correlate with what Phil Hilton said. Watch the clip and judge for yourself:

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