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Subject: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: 90s Guy on 05/11/18 at 9:13 am

IMHO,
The 80s had a weird obsession with "macho"-ness, which started in the 70s. In the 70s, you had guys growing big bushy mustaches, showing off their chest hair; Burt Reynolds was a sex symbol for women of the late 70s; There was a big thing in the 70s towards a very "macho" sense of masculinity; even groups considered "feminine" at the time, like the gay male community, adopted "macho" looks (see the "Clone" look and Freddie Mercury wearing wife beaters and jeans with his mustache). Come the 70s and you have Presidential campaigns based around the concept, you have wrestling with stars like "Macho Man" Randy Savage and muscle-bound, seemingly dull-witted stars like Arnold Schwarzennegger, Dolph Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone and others became massively popular; the decade where a film by Steven Seagal could be commercially successful; You had He-Man being marketed towards kids through the TV show and toys. Nice guys or guys who weren't buff or into football or who liked computers were 'nerds'  (see Revenge of the Nerds). 'Wimpy' George Bush faced off against the more 'macho' Reagan in 1980; then in 1988, Bush was portrayed as the stronger male against the wimpy, nerdy Dukakis.

Am I alone in seeing this about the 80s? If not, why do you guys think the 80s had such a weird obsession with all things macho?

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: Howard on 05/11/18 at 3:33 pm


IMHO,
The 80s had a weird obsession with "macho"-ness, which started in the 70s. In the 70s, you had guys growing big bushy mustaches, showing off their chest hair; Burt Reynolds was a sex symbol for women of the late 70s; There was a big thing in the 70s towards a very "macho" sense of masculinity; even groups considered "feminine" at the time, like the gay male community, adopted "macho" looks (see the "Clone" look and Freddie Mercury wearing wife beaters and jeans with his mustache). Come the 70s and you have Presidential campaigns based around the concept, you have wrestling with stars like "Macho Man" Randy Savage and muscle-bound, seemingly dull-witted stars like Arnold Schwarzennegger, Dolph Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone and others became massively popular; the decade where a film by Steven Seagal could be commercially successful; You had He-Man being marketed towards kids through the TV show and toys. Nice guys or guys who weren't buff or into football or who liked computers were 'nerds'  (see Revenge of the Nerds). 'Wimpy' George Bush faced off against the more 'macho' Reagan in 1980; then in 1988, Bush was portrayed as the stronger male against the wimpy, nerdy Dukakis.

Am I alone in seeing this about the 80s? If not, why do you guys think the 80s had such a weird obsession with all things macho?


I think the early 1980's were more of a macho-sleazy era between 1980-1985.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: TheReignMan99 on 05/11/18 at 3:48 pm

It was due to Reagan and the rise of the New/Religious Right.

They felt that the United States in the '60s and '70s was weakened because of the Civil Rights Movment and the Second Wave of Feminism. Many conservatives felt that America had become "too liberal" and "too effeminate".

Reagan brought back prestige to the White House in the minds of many Americans because he wore "nice suits" unlike Carter's beige cardigans, because he "talked tough" to the Soviet Union and "not weak" like Carter, he also made many Americans "feel good" with his optimistic rhetoric. He wasn't a "tree-hugging hippie" like Carter, he was "a true red-blooded American that believed in oil & coal". Reagan also gave the rich a huge tax cut and this lead to the rise of yuppies (young urban professionals).

Naturally, all of this lead to a revival of more machoness in America pop culture.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: christopher on 05/11/18 at 5:12 pm

This was released in the 80s:
s7DqwRKqyMk

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: robby76 on 05/12/18 at 8:13 am

Don't forget Chuck Norris... the movies and cartoon series.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: Philip Eno on 05/12/18 at 8:14 am


This was released in the 80s:
s7DqwRKqyMk
From one time girlfriend to Simon Rowell.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: 90s Guy on 05/12/18 at 9:49 am


It was due to Reagan and the rise of the New/Religious Right.

They felt that the United States in the '60s and '70s was weakened because of the Civil Rights Movment and the Second Wave of Feminism. Many conservatives felt that America had become "too liberal" and "too effeminate".

Reagan brought back prestige to the White House in the minds of many Americans because he wore "nice suits" unlike Carter's beige cardigans, because he "talked tough" to the Soviet Union and "not weak" like Carter, he also made many Americans "feel good" with his optimistic rhetoric. He wasn't a "tree-hugging hippie" like Carter, he was "a true red-blooded American that believed in oil & coal". Reagan also gave the rich a huge tax cut and this lead to the rise of yuppies (young urban professionals).

Naturally, all of this lead to a revival of more machoness in America pop culture.


Thing is I think this "machoness" was unique to the 80s. Obviously, throughout American history we've idolized 'strong' guys, from Paul Bunyan to guys like John Wayne and even now to men like Statham and such. But I think it took on a different form in the 80s, to the point where it became an obsession permeating a good chunk of American life - from the President down to He-Man action figures. The kind of 'machoness' also was of an almost sleazy nature, and was very highly exaggerated. Go look at action films prior to the late 70s or so - the hero isn't some pumped up muscle man. Look at the early 1960s James Bond films for example. Connery's in good shape, sure, but compared to Arnie or Stallone he was puny. Prior to the 80s having a massive build like theirs was a very fringe thing, something which marked you as a weight lifter by profession. Or look at the way chest hair was celebrated in the late 70s through mid 80s. In no other era has chest hair been so popular. Just compare the sex symbols of the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s to Arnie, Stallone and such - and compare them to the sex symbols of the 90s and on. The 80s is unique in that way. It was very exaggerated. A boy in 1960 might've wanted to be a cowboy, but HE MAN was very on the nose, very exaggerated. Everything in the 80s just seems exaggerated, big. The hair (on both men and women). The muscles on men and women (Grace Jones). The mustaches are huge. The cars are a bit bigger than the 70s. The action stars are bigger than ever.

It's a very weird era in time for me, where exaggeration and cartoonishness was the rule rather than the exception.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: Emman on 05/12/18 at 10:04 am

The truly weird thing is this ran parallel to the whole new wave and hair metal androgynous look so popular in the '80s.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: 90s Guy on 05/12/18 at 10:14 am


The truly weird thing is this ran parallel to the whole new wave and hair metal androgynous look so popular in the '80s.


Also, another strange paradox is Hair Metal, later in the decade. You have these bands singing about women, and sex, and having a good time, and presenting these macho, tough, testosterone fueled personas, but they're in most cases dudes who are as feminine looking as possible, with longer hair than most women. Consider the case of Skid Row's frontman Sebastian Bach.
https://hollywoodhatesme.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/sebastianbach.jpg

Not exactly a masculine guy. But the band's songs are all that same crap, and in 1989 he infamously wore a shirt which proclaimed "AIDS KILLS F-AGS DEAD."

Or consider Guns N' Roses, whose singer Axl Rose, again, presented this tough front of being a bad boy trouble maker, yet looked like:
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/11/45/ec/1145ec4cdfa28ba38e60acd6af78df5d.jpg

And wrote a song against "immigrants" "f-aggots" and "n-words", and yet loved Elton John and Queen and performed with both artists later on.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: christopher on 05/12/18 at 10:17 am

I got this idea that in the UK the macho look was more of shaved hair working class flavour with I suppose black leather jackets. Like 50's greasers but with shaved hairs and T-shirts instead of button-up shirts. Of course you had the androgynous new wave and hair metal look there as well. Is my impression correct?

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: TheReignMan99 on 05/12/18 at 11:10 am


Thing is I think this "machoness" was unique to the 80s. Obviously, throughout American history we've idolized 'strong' guys, from Paul Bunyan to guys like John Wayne and even now to men like Statham and such. But I think it took on a different form in the 80s, to the point where it became an obsession permeating a good chunk of American life - from the President down to He-Man action figures. The kind of 'machoness' also was of an almost sleazy nature, and was very highly exaggerated. Go look at action films prior to the late 70s or so - the hero isn't some pumped up muscle man. Look at the early 1960s James Bond films for example. Connery's in good shape, sure, but compared to Arnie or Stallone he was puny. Prior to the 80s having a massive build like theirs was a very fringe thing, something which marked you as a weight lifter by profession. Or look at the way chest hair was celebrated in the late 70s through mid 80s. In no other era has chest hair been so popular. Just compare the sex symbols of the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s to Arnie, Stallone and such - and compare them to the sex symbols of the 90s and on. The 80s is unique in that way. It was very exaggerated. A boy in 1960 might've wanted to be a cowboy, but HE MAN was very on the nose, very exaggerated. Everything in the 80s just seems exaggerated, big. The hair (on both men and women). The muscles on men and women (Grace Jones). The mustaches are huge. The cars are a bit bigger than the 70s. The action stars are bigger than ever.

It's a very weird era in time for me, where exaggeration and cartoonishness was the rule rather than the exception.

That's because in the 1980s there was an explosion in interest in physical fitness for both men and women.

Going to the gym and getting fit was usually just a niche interest before the 1980s but it became mainstream and almost everyone had to do it in the 1980s. Remember Pumping Iron (1977) with Arnold Schwarzenegger came out and that caused a lot of men to become interested in body building.

There's your answer.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: Howard on 05/12/18 at 2:39 pm


Also, another strange paradox is Hair Metal, later in the decade. You have these bands singing about women, and sex, and having a good time, and presenting these macho, tough, testosterone fueled personas, but they're in most cases dudes who are as feminine looking as possible, with longer hair than most women. Consider the case of Skid Row's frontman Sebastian Bach.
https://hollywoodhatesme.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/sebastianbach.jpg

Not exactly a masculine guy. But the band's songs are all that same crap, and in 1989 he infamously wore a shirt which proclaimed "AIDS KILLS F-AGS DEAD."

Or consider Guns N' Roses, whose singer Axl Rose, again, presented this tough front of being a bad boy trouble maker, yet looked like:
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/11/45/ec/1145ec4cdfa28ba38e60acd6af78df5d.jpg

And wrote a song against "immigrants" "f-aggots" and "n-words", and yet loved Elton John and Queen and performed with both artists later on.


and men wanted to dress and look like women, long hair, make-up and the hairy chests.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: Elor on 05/12/18 at 4:33 pm


and men wanted to dress and look like women, long hair, make-up and the hairy chests.
I wasn't aware that women have hairy chests... Howard, who are you dating??? ;D :D

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: TheReignMan99 on 05/12/18 at 4:36 pm


I wasn't aware that women have hairy chests... Howard, who are you dating??? ;D :D

;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: Voiceofthe70s on 05/12/18 at 5:02 pm


That's because in the 1980s there was an explosion in interest in physical fitness for both men and women.

Going to the gym and getting fit was usually just a niche interest before the 1980s but it became mainstream and almost everyone had to do it in the 1980s.


This is correct. In the 70s the trend among males was to be very skinny. Well, I wouldn't say it was a TREND, but if one happened to be naturally very skinny one just STAYED that way. And it was a cool look. Think of rock stars in the 70s. They were generally reed thin. A good case in point is Bruce Springsteen. Throughout the 70s he was as skinny as a stringbean. But starting around 1984 and "Born In The USA" he was suddenly very "pumped".  I even remember a joke about it on a comedy record Bette Midler made. She said "I knew Bruce Springsteen when his arms were as skimpy as his chord changes".  ;D 

Then by the time the 90s rolled around, clothes started getting so ridiculously baggy that nobody could tell who was pumped and who wasn't.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: TheReignMan99 on 05/12/18 at 5:36 pm


This is correct. In the 70s the trend among males was to be very skinny. Well, I wouldn't say it was a TREND, but if one happened to be naturally very skinny one just STAYED that way. And it was a cool look. Think of rock stars in the 70s. They were generally reed thin. A good case in point is Bruce Springsteen. Throughout the 70s he was as skinny as a stringbean. But starting around 1984 and "Born In The USA" he was suddenly very "pumped".  I even remember a joke about it on a comedy record Bette Midler made. She said "I knew Bruce Springsteen when his arms were as skimpy as his chord changes".  ;D

Then by the time the 90s rolled around, clothes started getting so ridiculously baggy that nobody could tell who was pumped and who wasn't.

Yep.

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: Howard on 05/13/18 at 7:25 am


I wasn't aware that women have hairy chests... Howard, who are you dating??? ;D :D


I'm not dating anyone at the moment but I'm saying that was the style that men wanted to emulate, the macho biker style with mustaches and hairy chests. I think the style was emulated by Glenn Hughes, the biker from the Village People.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/95/e3/6a/95e36ae6172434c503b48af5f7e2ce52.jpg

Subject: Re: The 80s' obsession with 'macho'-ness

Written By: 90s Guy on 05/13/18 at 2:27 pm

The gay biker look came about in the 60s as a way for gay men to blend in with mainstream society. They wore sideburns and mustaches and dressed like working class straight men so as to blend in and be more accepted. The Village People were an exaggerated parody of all that. Freddie Mercury is closer to what a person would've seen if they went to the Castro District in the late 70s and early 80s. The straight version was represented by Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds. Gays were often thought of as being naturally effeminate ("sissies") so this was a way to reject that stereotype and say that just because they were gay didn't mean they weren't manly, or any different from straight men. The root of the influence goes to the Tom of Finland erotic drawings in the 60s as well.

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