Somewhere, something has shifted. People are starting to notice the vice-like constraints that masculinity imposes upon the impressionable male psyche. Being a man these days is tough, man. Just ask the misguided mom whose “This is MY son” tweet went hilariously viral and was parodied to great effect. But slowly chipping away at the edges of a toxic patriarchy are a slew of teen pin-ups.
Recently, two of the biggest names in teendom, who wield a following of 26.6 million on Instagram combined, talked over the phone. Pop star Harry Styles and actor Timothée Chalamet—tethered to the line like mutual admirers genuinely curious about how the other navigates fame and attention—discussed a topic that essentially never comes up in conversation between two cis men: Masculinity.
“Thinking about where the world’s at today, do you feel a responsibility as an actor to represent a new form of masculinity on screen?” Styles asked.
“I would be so thrilled to know that the roles I’m playing are instigating change in some way,” Chalamet intelligently replied. “I want to say you can be whatever you want to be. There isn’t a specific notion, or jean size, or muscle shirt, or affectation, or eyebrow raise, or dissolution, or drug use that you have to take part in to be masculine. It’s exciting. It’s a brave new world. Maybe it’s because of social media, maybe it’s because of who the fuck knows what, but there’s a real excitement from our generation about doing things in a new way…”