The Curious Case of Herbivore Men
The truth is there's nothing curious about it at all! The Japanese so called "herbivore men" is code for a trend sweeping the world. The trend is the rise in passive behaviour in men and a rejection of masculinity in the traditional sense.
The term "herbivore men" was coined by Maki Fukasawa in an article in 2006. She describes the herbivore man as someone who is less assertive in the pursuit of love and sex (1).
One of the positives of the herbivore man is he is not as concerned with the physical beauty of a person but looks at women and who they are as a person (2). I think it is a wonderful thing that men in society can show a full interest in a woman from head to toe rather than admiring her for her beauty alone. The positive aspects of herbivore men do not come without the negatives.
A few people were interviewed in a video on Facebook on this topic. Many of the women described the downsides to passive or herbivore men. They described them not taking the lead, not voicing their opinions and leaving the woman to take charge in the relationship. This is where the herbivore men run into trouble.
I see this as an issue of balance. They have the positive aspects of being gentle when they need to be but there are also times when they need to show leadership and a bit of stoicism. The way I see it is they have mastered one area and now they need to master the area where they can exude assertiveness in life and relationships.
I think it is interesting to see how the trend of passive men is taking shape across the world. The Japanese call passive men herbivore men. In western countries, they may be known as the nice guys. Regardless of the name the benefits of being fully herbivore or "nice" are minimal. One herbivore man that was interviewed talked about the big production it takes to "save face" when asking a woman out. He said he invites a woman out to hang with his friends that way if she says no he is still able to go out with his friends and no harm is done to his ego. Having to go through this all the time is not worth it. It makes a woman feel good about herself to have a man ask her out on a proper date. It makes a man feel good to plan and organise a date for her and take charge of that date. If a man can overcome his doubt and overcome the fear of rejection he can step into a new assertive life of ownership and empowerment.
On the topic of herbivore or nice men, I've heard women call for a more sensitive man that can connect with them emotionally. Herbivore men can fill this role, but they also need to fill the role of leader in a relationship. Men have an opportunity to come to balance and have the emotional side and the assertive to be a full package for their communities, employers, girlfriends and wives. Herbivore men it is time to awaken your inner "carnivore" and show a little spine. You can do it!
Assertive Life 2016-10-24