The History Of ‘Mankles’ Volume One
It is not often that I commend the Guardian for being on the ball and up to date. And today is no exception. However, I am noting that The Times are even more behind the er… times than the Graun when it comes to articulating metrosexual masculinity. This is also noteworthy because in their sports section in particular, and general imagery, The Times are very metro. The question is, do they admit it?
In today’s Times magazine, along with a column by Caitlin Moran complaining about ‘prostitution’ which I could not bring myself to read, was a ‘fun’ feature on ways to flash your flesh. A la Madonna, Janet Jackson, all the cast of Geordie Shore and Big Brother etc.
One of the items of ‘flashing’ flesh was the ‘mankle’. I.e. men’s ankles. The Times said:
What is it? ‘The Inch Above A Man’s Ankle’.
How is it flashed? ‘Via the roll-up on a chino or jean, or the elegant crop on a trouser.
Who can flash it? ‘In an ideal world, stylish young men with lovely smiles and…Oh. Failing that, any man’.
Apart from the fact the Times have mentioned mankles a whole year after the Guardian did, this emphasis on the ‘man’ aspect of a person’s ankle is machismo in the extreme. It could be seen as just another example of a failed attempt to make metrosexuality ‘manly’. Because all attempts at manliness fail. ‘Manliness’ is really a word about macho anxiety, not an actual quality in a man.
And as Cordelia Fine wrote in her book, delusions of gender, even ‘biological’ differences between men and women are not really all that.
If science has exaggerated and mis-reported some of the basic, relied-upon indicators of the chasm between ‘men’ and ‘women’ such as DNA, genitalia, chromosomes, secondary sexual characteristics, then ankles are not going to convince me of the gender binary.
Mankles my arse. (and we all have one of those).