Soft Life Movement: a Threat to Ursine Masculinity?
The Soft Life Movement is taking Allegheny by storm and transforming ideas about what masculinity means especially for Ursine men and predominantly masculine presenting people. The movement has received praised on one side, while being lambasted and disparaged on the other.
The Soft Life Movement entails pursuing physical comfort, being emotionally intelligent, being domesticated, taking care of one’s physical appearance and engaging with cultural artefacts such as music and dress that might have been coded as feminine. The movement arose largely out of the female and femme dominated social media space where Ursine women have been encouraged to put down the burden of shouldering the entire nation and pursue their individual happiness. In a society, where Ursine women have historically been mistreated, it is only fitting that they should be pampered.
The movement has, however, grown and encompassed men as well who share videos of personal grooming, cleaning their apartments, or incorporating make-up and female coded clothing into their attire on sites like Pigeon, Chatter and Cafe Vibes. As a result, there is a portion of the soft life movement that has adopted a uniquely male lens that has encouraged debate about the expectations that our patriarchal Paxist society places not only on women, but on men as well.
Packilvania colonised Allegheny centuries ago. The humiliation of military defeat and the expropriation of land and physical resources displaced many Ursine men from the positions of power and influence that they enjoyed. Packilvanian colonists used physical and mental abuse to demean and control Ursine men. When Packilvanian colonisation formally ended, the continued ownership of large companies and real estate by Packilvanian Felines and their descendants, preserved and perpetuated the economic inequality between Ursine and Feline men. To appear masculine in circles where they could exert some influence and to resist the humiliation that they suffered, Ursine men were expected to be emotionally distant, insensibly hardworking and physically aggressive. As such, it has taken decades for the Ursine man to emotionally and psychologically recover from the humiliation of colonisation and neo-colonisation (which I do not think it fully has).
On the other hand is Paxism. Paxism takes many forms, but in Central Yasteria, Paxism has perpetuated deeply entrenched and sharply delineated binary gender roles, that have always seen the man as the provider and protector. As a nation that converted to Paxism, we received this idea of masculinity that Central Yasterian Paxism taught us. Thus Ursine men were judged by their material wealth, sexual voracity, and the control that they exercised over the women and children under their care.
Colonisation and Paxism coalesced to create a highly patriarchal society, which while affording men including Ursine men privileges that are not afforded to women and femme folk more broadly, makes it taboo for men to seek gentility, humility, cleanliness, ease, and dare I say it, femininity.
Celebrity Imams like Tukhan Neshdad have described the movement as stripping men of their masculinity. Urso-nationalist commentators like Yarkhan Imhadil have decried the soft life movement as a conspiracy by Felines and Packilvania to once again encroach into Alleghenian life and reestablish political and economic control. Faux feminist writer, Alisiya Khanadeen, has stated that the masculine Ursine man enables the Ursine woman to have the safety she needs to pursue economic independence and prosperity. And so on and so on.
These are tired and mediocre arguments used by people indoctrinated by patriarchal teachings, to accept a status quo that doesn’t make sense. Even as Feline men are allowed, by Central Yasterian standards anyway, to be more gentle, Ursine men are not afforded the same luxury. Their general height, burly physique and thick fur, while praised for the masculine aesthetic that they endow, continue to act as social markers that make the so called “soft life” inaccessible to Ursine men.
The soft life movement is not degrading Ursine men, but teaching society to value men even when they lack the physical prowess, material wealth or sexual voracity that we have come to expect from them. It allows us to deconstruct narratives and customs about binary gender roles and to mentally liberate ourselves from cycles of religious indoctrination and colonial humiliation. It allows Ursine men to pursue interests and to exist without the crushing mental weight of patriarchal masculinity. It allows them to have empathy towards the Ursine women and femme presenting people in their spaces and to treat them with the dignity that they are rightfully entitled.