So what happened?
Clearly, there’s been a move from masculinity to… something else.
And what that something else is is a feminization of masculine culture. From two sides. On the one hand, the “rise of women” has suppressed “masculine” virtues, it wants male power (physical) downplayed in favor of softer– more controllable– traits; on the other hand men themselves, having no male role models anymore, default to the ubiquitous imagery of the media– which are always feminized.
PSYCHE! It’s none of those things, whether or not they’re true. This photo is a trick.
The proper way of understanding this picture is: if you’re watching it, it’s for you. This pic allows its adherents the ability to say something negative about feminism in the guise of social commentary. It is propaganda. “See! Men are turning into wimps! Look at the evidence!”
I’m looking. I’m looking at… fair representations of the 30-50s, minus WC Fields, Fred Astaire, Jimmy Stewart…
The 60s and 70s: sure, Clint Eastwood counts, but Warren Beatty? Are we talking about who women like or who men want to be like? And they conveniently left out: Ryan O’Neal, Mick Jagger, Montgomery Clift, David Bowie…
The 80s-90s: Tom Cruise?? He’s much more masculine today than he was in the 80s; you can say the same about John Travolta. (Paris With Love, Broken Arrow, The Punisher, and, of course, Pulp Fiction.) Those men evolved towards chest hair, not away from it. And action heroes of the 80s were reactions to the perceived decline in masculinity at that time. They were aspirational images, not reflections of the culture.
“Now”: I don’t even know who the guy in the bottom right is, and whoever included Seth Rogen/Green isn’t even trying. Ok, Edward counts, but he’s for women, not for men, so unless this infographic is trying to comment on both what post-pubescent girls are attracted to AND who males want to imitate, he doesn’t count either.
The proper way to do this would be to take specific categories of people and trace their evolution (e.g. Playmates over the years– or the boyfriends of Playmates over the years; or teen heartthrobs; or Presidents), or, as in the case of Travolta or Cruise, take a specific actor and see how he evolves. For movies, a specific genre: how have action movies changed? (There seems to be a lot more women with weapons training.)
But the way it’s done in this pic reveals an agenda: the creator wants something to be true. It may be true. It may not be. But he has no interest in finding out if it’s true, he just needs it to be true.
Which would suggest a fairly specific kind of person.