The cruel abstraction of masculinity is that men must be macho, unfeeling; devoid of emotional truth and honesty. Essentially, men who aren’t real. Zayn is a new breed of male. Soft-spoken and mysterious, with a gentle repose, Zayn is both a heartthrob and an idealist. People tend to think that humans exist in binaries, but through the ostensible oxymoron that is “Muslim pop star,” Zayn is a new category in himself. He has feelings. He has emotions. The world pushes men like him towards the patriarchy, towards categorization — but as a Muslim pop star, he exists outside of it.
I wrote about Zayn and Muslim masculinity for Matter
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