Have you noticed that over the past two years, beer companies have swapped longneck-swilling studs in their TV ads for "louts"? asks Neal Gabler in the Los Angeles Times. You know the type: The "slacker" who cares more for his bottle of Bud and his buds than his "beautiful and adoring girlfriend." The discouraging rise of the lout says a lot about the state of modern manhood, but in the end, says Gabler, it "speaks to a widespread desire not to have to be men at all." Here's an excerpt:
The male image has gone through all sorts of transformations, especially over the last 50 years when feminism evolved and obligated men to adjust to the new circumstances of coequal women. The old strong, silent type, essentially a breadwinner and breeding stud, gradually gave way to the sensitive male...
Of course, some men found this emasculating and actively resisted the process... But culturally speaking, there may have been a less overt resentment that has been simmering for a long time and that may account for the recent eruption of the lout. He seems to be a form of passive-aggressive revenge against what some men see as the indignities feminism has forced upon them — indignities that have been exacerbated by economic hardship.
The lout is not exactly a reversion to the old macho stereotype. He isn't tough, muscular, steely, monosyllabic, able to build a car engine or a house singlehandedly or sail around the world solo. He's not a sophisticate either... A lout is someone who is proudly stuck in a kind of adolescent parody of manhood that conflates insensitivity and machismo.