“Brotailer” is the name for a new menswear retailer, appealing to a different breed of young men. “He’s the id-driven, post-collegiate twentysomething bro….who hates shopping and would happily wear the same pair of sweatpants every day if society didn’t frown upon it.” The focus is on laid-back men’s clothing. In the last five years, menswear has been the fastest-growing product category sold online. 53% is “basic bro” style vs. “practical,” professional,” or “rugged.” “The brotailers have raided Dad’s and Granddad’s closets and jettisoned the pretense older brands relied on.” I love this comment. As a senior monk in the woods I could care less about fashion.
It is what Heidi Hackemer, founder of marketing agency Wolf &Wilhelmine, said about this retail phenomena that got my attention. She observes, “It’s almost like these brands are creating safe spaces where dudes can be dudes….We’re in this really weird phase of masculinity, where all the rules are shifting. Everyone is talking about women, and Beyoncé is, like, ‘Go kill it, ladies,’ and Sheryl Sandberg is leaning in, and guys don’t really know how to move forward. You almost see this regression into a safe place, which is the bro cave. I don’t think anyone has told the guys what they’re supposed to do now.” This unflattering view of young men is certainly reflected in the TV ads that often portray young men as immature, irresponsible, pleasure-seeking and impulsive.
Remember men, the Ad business is about manipulating reality, enticing us to buy a product or even a particular lifestyle . A key audience right now are all the men (including me) watching basketball during March Madness. All those ads help create an alternate reality to the one that we actually experience. Ms. Hackemer’s observation reflects how successful women in our society view men – fragile, insecure, drifting, lacking in incentive and without mentors. I want to comment briefly on her observations.. This blog site, “The Wildman Journey” is an attempt to address these issues.
First, the creating of and regression into a safe place called a “bro cave.” Is there a safe place for men? Is there a perception of men looking for a “bro cave.” My comment – Estranged men can come home to Jesus. He is our “hiding place” (Ps 32:7) in the cultural storms. A bro cave is an illusion.
Second, “this weird phase of masculinity.” This bright lady sees men in a weird phase. What does this mean? Is this an expression of how men are viewed by competent women in culture. My comment – The affirmation of our masculinity comes from a transforming relationship in Jesus Christ, giving men a strong sense of identity.
Third, “all the rules are shifting.” Is she referring to roles and responsibility, as reflected in the gender wars. My comment – A man secure in his masculinity will know how to navigate the gender wars, taking the initiative, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Fourth, “everybody is talking about women,” while men don’t know how to move forward. Is this how business women view men? My comment – Men find your strength and courage in the Lord Jesus and move forth in truth. Don’t give in to the moral and spiritual passivity of many “church” guys.
Fifth, no one has told men, “what they’re supposed to do now.” Is this an expression of sympathy or sarcasm? My comment – God has been forming godly older men, who are humble, loving followers of Jesus. They are not found in the limelight, but rather in the ordinariness of every day life. They are male mentors. This blog is an example of such mentoring.
Finally, remember Jesus words, “I am the way, and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)