Information regarding Russian men having entered the top three of the most unattractive men in the world, despite all expectations, didn’t cause a stir in Russian media. Perhaps it’s because the chief editors of local medias are mainly males. For the sake of fairness, I suggest swapping lies about male beauty and its absence or presence among Russian men a bit. And let’s please neither refer to etic canons and anthropological features, nor hope to remain objective.
I’ve tried to formulate some theses, that represent my views on the subject of male beauty, and asked my male colleagues, undoubtedly handsome men, to reflect on the topic.
Russian society doesn’t require much from a male appearance. Existing requirements are rather low and literally sound like “to be a bit more handsome than a monkey,” which is not difficult. It’s an anarchy which, in my opinion, leads to a complete lack of discipline and literally disfigures people.
My mom, for as long as I can remember, periodically spread some phrases like “A man just has to be a little bit more attractive than a monkey.” or “Prettiness makes no pottage.” or even “A handsome husband is someone else’s husband.” Thus, from a very young age, I was implanted with the idea that to get aesthetic pleasure from looking at a man is not only unnecessary, but almost harmful. It scares me to think that boys themselves also were told such terrible things by their parents! 0_o
MIKHAIL: First of all, every man in Russia grows up with “What are you? A little girl?” (and later “What are you? A pussy?”) as an accompaniment. Each phrase is a whistle, on which a boy (and later a man) performs a complex set of exercises to prove that he is not a pussy. He proves that in actions and doesn’t care about his appearance in the mirror. Because prettiness makes no pottage.
As a result, we’ve got the fact that a man in Russia is not a person, but a functionality of a person. You’ve probably seen such couples where the man looks like he is in the fourth month of pregnancy, and the woman looks good, to say the least. There are millions of those, and it’s okay, and everyone is fine with that, because the man answers a woman’s needs of care, attention, and stability.
Why would he be handsome on top of that? It’s too much. In modern natural selection, the presence of handsomeness doesn’t imply the presence of any important qualities of man. Just the opposite! A handsome man = a call of danger, instability, or at least, if you’re lucky, just a therapeutic dose of naughty adventures.
We (referring to soviet and post-soviet society), as they say, so happened historically, drew too thick of a line between external and internal, and now when it would seem is the time to begin to slowly return to the Platonic triad of beauty, goodness and truth (because the bottom can be felt already), we are surprised to find that we suck enormously at least at two categories out of three.
Ugly and evil, but intelligent. Dumb and nerdish, but good. Less “but handsome” since we’re in the top three among outsiders.
Somehow, miraculously, we consider a PHd as compensation for the beer belly and smelly armpits, and forgive handsome men for their heavy tempers and bad manners. Don’t we?
MIKHAIL: We, “Russians”, like everything extreme, particularly the double-edged sword. At one end of it we have the traditional faceless man-functional for a cell of society, on the other end – a handsome Narcissus injured by the culture of mass-media, the victim of cinematographic and advertising templates. For him, they now put mirrors even in the CrossFit boxes. The Middle Way is too boring for us.
For internal and external harmony we are missing the value of “being yourself”, the awareness of our own strengths, virtues and beauty as well. The chances of finding this value are low since we barely read books, barely meet new people, and the mass media never talks on this subject.
Another historical reality and my third point is that we are permanently lit bridges between masculine and feminine elements in a man. Even light femininity in a man is condemned, not only by other men but by women as well. To be gracious is a female prerogative, to inspire fear and respect (on the basis of fear) – men’s. Wearing long hair – women’s prerogative, wearing socks with sandals – men’s. Trimmed eyebrows or a manicure makes a man the infamous queer; the absence of depilation and calico pants make a woman a pathetic lesbian.
Why, by the way, when I draw an image of a stunning Swede (which, incidentally, in the aforementioned rankings is recognized as the most beautiful men), I would certainly give him beautiful straw-colored hair to his shoulders; and why when saying the words “Russian guy”, I imagine him shortly sheared and wearing multi-pocketed pants?
MIKHAIL: That’s how we started loving Swedes. But our guy has no purview wide enough to observe the world, so his imagination suffers. When you’re unsure of the world being wonderful in the diversity of cultures, looks, haircuts, etc, then you’re apparently just insecure about yourself. What does our guy do when he is insecure of himself? Exactly! He becomes over-assertive. He decides to become a judge, and instead of being more attentive to the outer world, he simply ignores it.
As a culmination of all these considerations, I have a question: if the concept of male beauty in our society lowered through the floor, then men shouldn’t be ashamed of their outsider label, and women, respectively, shouldn’t be offended for their men. But is it so?
MIKHAIL: Well, until a man understands that he is as unique as is a miracle of nature such as stars, oceans, dawns or… women are, he would be ashamed as much as his woman (which meanwhile understood everything about herself) prompt him to be.