Dudes who complain that "manliness" and "masculinity" are going away are usually douchebags. Typically it's guys complaining that they can't get away with as much sexual harassment and degrading jokes as they could back in the "good old days." So what they seem to be missing isn't a time when "men could be men," but rather a time when men could safely be assholes.
But they're also not wrong. There are some staples of "manliness" that are absolutely going bye-bye, never to return. I don't know how soon (people who write about future trends are not in fact claiming to be time-traveling wizards), but they are going away. I'm talking about things like ...
5 Car Culture
When I was 16, I had this poster on my wall:
I didn't realize there was a car for the first two weeks.
I actually don't know if it was that exact one, but it heavily featured a Lamborghini Countach and butts. And I don't know if it's readily apparent to people who aren't experts in dissecting symbolic imagery, but that poster subtly suggests a connection between automobiles and sex. So at age 16 I knew only one thing: If you didn't have a car, no woman would ever touch your dick. Where I was from, that was both the age at which you could get a driver's license and the age at which you could legally hold a part-time job. The only reason to get a job was to get your own car, and it sure as hell wasn't so I could help Mom with the grocery shopping.
And even though there are presumably an equal number of male and female drivers in America, car culture -- the love of cars, and the worshiping of them -- was always about manliness. Race car drivers are male, mechanics are male, and car ads portray females as merely one of the accessories that come with a nice one. I don't know exactly why our means of transportation was always seen as a male-dominated thing (it was the same when we were getting around on horses, right?), but it's so ingrained that we don't even question it.
The front bumper is circumcised.
But Soon ...
It would have been unthinkable when I was a teen, but the hot new trend among kids these days is to not bother getting a driver's license at all. Back in my day, around 90 percent of 18-year-olds had a driver's license; now it's down to 70 percent and falling rapidly. There's a bunch of reasons for this, part of which is simply that more people live in cities now, where life is actually more difficult with a flame-painted El Camino than without one. But these are just the early rumblings before the collapse.
The world has simply changed -- the entry fee for being a cool, sexually active male no longer includes owning a badass muscle car that guzzles gasoline and belches exhaust with a roar that can wake the neighbors. Even if they get a car, they're probably not getting that car. Thanks to global warming, the era of gasoline is simply ending -- more than half of the new cars will be electric or hybrids by 2040, and while there are certainly hybrid cars that are worthy of having bikini-flossed butts draped over the hood ...
... the next trend will hit soon after: Cars that drive themselves. The era of driving your own car will be over by 2050. It doesn't matter how much you like driving or how important your Trans Am pussy magnet is to your masculine identity -- there are 1.24 million car accident deaths a year worldwide, and car accidents in the U.S. alone costs us an astounding $300 billion a year. Society is simply sick of bearing those costs when the technology exists to make them go away.
And at that point, everything that made cars appealing as a form of mechanized penis augmentation -- the power, the sound, the adrenaline rush -- will be gone. And some day in 2063 a kid will sit down and watch an old movie called The Fast and the Furious and he'll either wistfully long for those days when males ran on a mix of testosterone and gasoline, or he'll think it's the most ridiculous, bombastic shit he's ever seen in his life.
4 Red Meat
When a bunch of manly type dudes (or dudes who like to portray themselves as such) came up with the masculine alternative to Valentine's Day, what did they call it? Steak and Blowjob Day. And when Carl's Jr. advertises its huge hamburgers, it knows who to target with their ads:
And once again, despite the fact that I assume women eat meat just as often as males do, in our culture beef is man's food. Probably because it combines several popular masculine pursuits in one: fire, murder, and dying early.
Hell, in the West, our symbol of masculinity for the last 200 years has been the cowboy, the guy in charge of riding around on horses and guarding our beef.
But Soon ...
It's simple math.
It takes about 50 times more resources to grow grain, feed it to a cow, and then eat the cow than it does to just feed the grain to a human (for example, it takes about 100,000 liters of water to get 1 kilogram of beef, versus about 2,000 liters to get 1 kilogram of soybeans or rice). You lose 90 percent of the calories that grow from the ground if you pass them through a cow first. And don't shoot the messenger here -- I'm no vegetarian. I've eaten so much meat that my body is practically made of the stuff. But if you saw somebody routinely take one bite of their food and then toss the rest in the trash, you'd think they were an asshole ("Dude, there's starving people in the world!"). Well, that's what you're doing when you insist on converting your food into steak just to make it taste better. You're throwing 90 percent of it away, in the form of cow shit.
But then we have global warming -- this is almost never brought up as one of the causes, but the reality is that somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of carbon emissions come from meat production, and beef is by far the worst offender. As the above-linked article mentions, beef produces "twice the emissions of pork, four times as much as chicken, and 13 times that of vegetable protein such as beans, lentils, and tofu." Oh, look, there's the "T" word. Quick, go to a steak place, find a masculine-looking dude, and suggest that he eat tofu instead. I will bet you a thousand dollars he'll reply something to the effect of "What, you think I'm gay?" See, because society has told him that Beef = Bro.
"Honey, can you knock this other shit off my plate? It's touching my beef."
So while worldwide this trend is still going in the other direction as developing nations are getting their first taste of beef (consumption in China is skyrocketing), in the U.S. you can already see the curve going the other way -- we've been eating less meat for a decade now.
Some of that is for health reasons, and that's another element of it -- where you see lots of red meat, you also see lots of heart disease, and along with that comes hundreds of billions in health care costs. And just as with the car accident statistics I mentioned above, that's where it really starts to matter -- these things tend to stick around in the culture right up until there's more money in opposing them than supporting them. At that point, they'll go to work making it socially unacceptable, like how you can watch old movies now and think it's weird to see everyone smoking indoors.