Image: Steve Tanchel/Red Hot Ops

Ed's Note | Normalising varied masculinities 

That we have been in a global masculinity crisis for the longest time shouldn’t be in dispute. The only haggle would be how this crisis presents and when one explores this a bit deeper, it is clear we in fact face multiple, diametrically opposed crises. I will deal with just two.

“Crisis” number one comes armed with loud laments about the “emasculation” of men — a purported wholesale “feminisation” and subjugation of an otherwise still globally dominant gender. If you weren’t paying close attention to the obvious lie in this narrative of tortured masculinity, you would believe that “wokeness” (I share your eyeroll) had caused a worldwide decline in the ability of “manly men” to watch, in peace, MMA fighters pommelling each other while body shaming the “ring girls” and engaging in online GBV what-about-ism, after watching the latest well-articulated but otherwise absurd rant from Jordan Peterson. This crisis does not exist. The truth is that men can and still do all these things and more — from the mundane to the vile — the only difference being the network of people and organisations providing counter-narratives to this version of masculinity.

This is the version with zero complexity, one that renders men one-dimensional, unable to morph into the varied incarnations we always could before we got in our own way several generations ago. The real crisis, of course, is behind door number two.

This is the version [of masculinity] with zero complexity, one that renders men one-dimensional, unable to morph into the varied incarnations we always could before we got in our own way several generations ago” 

As I write this, I can pick among several ongoing tales of horrific acts against women, children, and other men, perpetuated by the kind of toxic masculinity fighting tooth and nail for survival. Its lack of imagination and inability to do the necessary work in tapping into every available avenue are shining through, as it digs in its heels on outdated thoughts and practices, from Nyanga to Texas.

In this issue, while we present our usual menu of luxury and lifestyle in the most tasteful and considered way we can manage, we try to unpack in words and images, aspects of what dynamic, multi-faceted masculinity look like: from buff actor/comedian Siv Ngesi, Olympic gold medallist (now wine maker and avid polo player) Ryk Neethling, to the non-binary identifying Sandiso Ngubane (aka rapper MX Bouse) and artist and founder of the Ntethelelo Foundation Thokozani Ndaba, a lesbian womyn with a particular connection to her own innate masculinity.

FREE TO READ | Page through the June 2022 issue of Wanted and enlarge for easy viewing: 

We will be publishing in Wanted Online, her full interview and those of all the subjects on the fashion pages – including dancer/choreographer Gregory Maqoma, Actor Federico  Fernandez, Fashion Designer Shaldon Kopman and our cover star, Model Courtney Michael -  throughout the month.

Sadly, Lukanyo Mnyanda resigned as Business Day editor last month and our loss is the esteemed Financial Times’s gain. We wish him all success on his return to the UK. While we search for a worthy permanent replacement for his column Down to Business, we will present you with some guest columnists, starting with a currently travel-shy Justice Malala. 

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