The Cure for the Modern Male Malaise: The 5 Switches of Manliness

by Brett on May 9, 2011 · 163 comments

in A Man's Life, On Manhood

A few weeks ago, I caught the premiere of the Discovery’s Channel’s “Human Planet,” a television show about the ways people have adapted to survive in Earth’s most extreme environments. Perhaps a better name for the program would have been “Man Planet,” as the show primarily chronicled the incredible feats of men around the world–men the tentacles of civilization have barely grazed. There were men mining sulfur from an active volcano; men diving dozens of feet and holding their breath for five minutes at a time to spear fish on the ocean floor; men initiating their sons into manhood by teaching them how to train eagles to hunt.  Even seemingly pedestrian tasks like taking your kids to school were fraught with danger; a father escorted his children on a 60 mile journey through the Himalayas, watching for potential avalanches and walking over a frozen river that could have cracked open at any moment.

I was immediately taken in by the show’s spectacular cinematography. But it was the image of these men straining and sweating, risking life and limb to provide for and feed their families that really caught my attention.

And by the end of the show, a bunch of things I’ve been thinking about for awhile had coalesced together.

What’s Plaguing Modern Men?

There has been a copious amounts of hand wringing lately about the state of modern men, about the fact that men appear to be falling behind in life and seem unmotivated and listless.

Why all this concern? The statistics are familiar to anyone who has read this genre of articles:

  • Women are more likely than men to graduate from high school.
  • Only 44% of undergraduates at community and four year colleges are men.
  • Female college students have higher grade point averages than men and are more likely to graduate within four years.
  • According to the US Census, “Among young adults 25 to 29, 35 percent of women and 27 percent of men possessed a bachelor’s degree or more in 2009. This gap has grown considerably in the last decade: it was only 3 percentage points in 1999 (30 percent for women, 27 percent for men).”
  • Women are 60% more likely than men to earn a bachelor’s degree by the time they are 23.
  • According to the US Census, for the first time in history, more women than men are earning advanced degrees. “In the 25-29 age group, 9 percent of women and 6 percent of men held either a master’s, professional (such as law or medical) or doctoral degree.” Nearly six out of ten adults holding advanced degrees between the ages of 25 and 29 are women.
  • Men lost 3/4 of the 8 million jobs that disappeared during the recession.
  • For the first time in history, there are now more women in the workforce than men.
  • 1/3 of men ages 22-34 still live at home with their parents. An increase of 100% in the last 20 years. According to the census, among young adults ages 18-24, 56 percent of men and 48 percent of women still live at home with their parents.

Plenty of theories have been offered as to what is behind these statistics. Some say the economy is to blame, as traditionally male industries have been moved off shore or gone extinct. Another reason given is that corporate culture and bureaucracy have sucked the soul out of men and taken away their manly autonomy. Others say it’s our consumer culture and the rise of particularly time-sucking hobbies like video games. And some say the root of the problem is feminism, the changing dynamic of male/female relationships, and the “cheapness of sex.”

But I would argue that there isn’t just one thing that you can point at and decisively say, “That one. That one was the man killer.” Instead, the source of the modern male’s lack of motivation is a conglomeration of all these factors. In short, the “problem”  is modern life in general.

To me the modern world is the best possible world to live in, without a doubt. The advancements we’ve made in technology and culture have made life safer, freer, and longer than ever before.

At the same time, no matter how unmitigated a good is, there are always unintended consequences that we have to grapple with. And the unintended consequence of modern life is that men feel lost and adrift.

The Wild Man Navigates Life in the 21rst Century

“Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.” -T.K. Whipple

Over tens of thousands of years, our manly ancestors evolved unique psychological traits that helped them survive and thrive in a dangerous, hardscrabble world. While we like to think that we’re cultured and sophisticated and quite a distance beyond all that, all men still have these primitive psychological traits embedded deep inside them.  As we can see from a show like “Human Planet,” there are still men who live this way right now. The modern society we enjoy today represents a mere blink in the long history of humanity.

And so we have a mismatch, where for men in the developed world the inner elements of masculinity remain unchanged, while the outer landscape in which those elements exist has been dramatically altered. Instead of spending most of our time outside each day, we spend the majority of it inside. Instead of braving the elements, we spend our time in climate-controlled environments. Instead of making things with our hands, we select items from the hundreds that line the aisles of gigantic stores. Instead of hunting down our dinner, we buy our meat pre-cut, in Styrofoam containers. Instead of being looked to as leaders of the tribe, we see ourselves lampooned in the media as bumbling and inept.

The primal elements of masculinity sit within us like a well-trained regiment of soldiers that is ready and itching to fight, but sits waiting restlessly, and endlessly, in reserve. Core aspects of the male psyche lie dormant, and men find themselves as square pegs trying to fit into a round hole. Having butted up against this mismatch over and over again, men are feeling angry and restless, losing their motivation, and giving up.

Modern Man: Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

There are many more pundits who like to describe the problem with men today than actually propose a solution. And when a solution is proffered, it typically takes the form of “Get over it men. Your sun has set. Move on. It’s a woman’s world now.” And what this typically translates to is this: become more like women. Get in touch with your feelings, become more nurturing, and train to join the thriving, and traditionally female-dominated careers like nursing. The square peg is told to smooth off his sharp corners.

The other solution that some men take is to put themselves back in an environment similar to our caveman ancestors, so those unique male attributes are actually useful again. Men like Chris McCandless and Eustace Conway returned to the wild to live a more primitive lifestyle in order to reclaim their manliness and find themselves.

And so here we arrive at the crux of the problem. The solution offered to men by some–become more like women and leave behind traditional manliness–is not attractive to most guys. And the idea of going to live in a cave or an abandoned bus to live off the land isn’t a viable or desirable option either for most.  And thus men find themselves at what seems like a rock and a hard place. Feeling like there is no way forward, they sit down and surrender, and simply content themselves with drifting along.

Now some say that the drifting male isn’t really a problem at all. That men are obsolete and there isn’t a role for them to play in the modern world anyway. To which I say, bullocks!

It’s great that women finally have the freedom and opportunities to be their best, but society needs to have both sexes striving to reach their fullest potential.

Men at their best will be needed in every time and in every place. Our unique attributes are no longer always called upon for hunting dinner and doing battle (although as the recent killing of Osama bin Laden testifies, we certainly still need men for that). But we still need men to become leaders of families, honorable statesmen, innovators and entrepreneurs, teachers and mentors, and worthy brothers, husbands, and citizens. Men at their best have something unique to offer the world no matter what the changing landscape. Men are absolutely vital to the continued health of society. To throw up our hands and say we’re obsolete is beyond silly. We just need to learn to re-purpose our unique manly traits for our new environment.

There’s still a role for men to play in the world. We simply need to find a way to get motivated and going again. To get back on the horse.

Flipping the Switches of Manliness

The solution for the modern male malaise lies at the heart of the idea behind the Art of Manliness itself: to move forward by looking back.

The solution means moving beyond the all-or-nothing proposition we sometimes feel we are stuck with. Men feel like they cannot fully embrace the old ways nor move into the new ways, and so they decide to do nothing at all. But it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to become a sensitive ponytail guy OR a Neanderthal.

Something that has helped me lately is picturing those unique primordial male characteristics as power switches that are either on or off. When these switches are turned on, they activate our Wild Man. Talked about in books like Iron John and Wild at Heart, and here on AoM, the Wild Man is the spirited, primal part of a man’s soul.

And the thing I’ve discovered is that you can activate your Wild Man by doing things far short of running down a herd of antelope for your dinner. You can take the parts of masculinity that have been an integral part of manliness for thousands of years and make sure some semblance of them are operating in your life. Not to the extent that they were manifested in the lives of primitive man, but active nonetheless.  Sometimes we don’t move forward in our life because we think the solution to our problem must be complicated and arduous to be effective. But the switches of manliness can be turned on in surprisingly small and simple ways.

What are the switches of manliness?

I know it’s debatable, and everyone is going to have their opinion as to what they are, but I personally believe that there are five switches that every man must turn on in order to power his spiritedness and flip on the motivation that allows him to reach his full potential:

  • Legacy
  • Providing
  • Physicality
  • Nature
  • Challenge

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be exploring each of the these switches, both the sociology and biology behind them, but also the practical ways to flip the switches in your life so you can rein in your restlessness, activate your manliness, and cure the modern male malaise you might be feeling.

Switches of Manliness Series:
The Cure for the Modern Male Malaise
Switch #1: Physicality
Switch #2: Challenge
Switch #3: Legacy
Switch #4: Provide
Switch #5: Nature

{ 163 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Mike D May 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm

@Jameson

No, but your cash and your jewelry is what I expect.

102 Adrian May 12, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I am in Colombia right now, and see the same problem here. It has nothing to do with United States. The only reason women are doing so well in USA is because unlike Colombia men don’t put them down.

How about this in USA:
Women hire more people in small businesses than the entire fortune 500 combined!
Women make the majority of all purchases in the USA. And they are the decision makers of all MAJOR purchases as well. Houses, cars, etc are chosen by the women.
All marketing with a few exceptions is tailored to women.

When you own a business who is better to hire? The hot young 21 year old bartender or some guy?

Women do better in school. Doh, we knew this in first grade. What has changed? Now women are encouraged to go to college!

The problem is not women though, it is men. Men giving away their power to women. Saying sorry without doing anything wrong. Bowing too their every whim. Women have men as a society whipped. Many (but not all) still except its the mans job to take care of her and men, are dumb enough to think they still need to as well.

They forget the key idea: “I cannot take care of others until I take care of myself first.” Women don’t think about taking care of anyone but themselves first. And that is why they are as a whole more successful than us men.

103 Colin May 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Excellent article. All points are well-reasoned and make sense. Looking forward to the next series of posts.

104 Glen May 14, 2011 at 12:17 am

Bring on the series!

105 Harold Chase May 14, 2011 at 1:40 am

There is an old saying, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Your highest duty as a man is to raise your sons. If women are left to do it you will get – what we got.

106 David May 14, 2011 at 4:13 am

This sounds a lot like me. I’m soon to be 24 and graduated from college 2 years ago. I have had a few mediocre jobs but mostly unemployed in those 2 years and still live with my parents. Life just drifted by and I am asking myself what happened?

I feel like my best option is to pack everything and take off. I’ll be heading down to Texas to start a new and better life.

107 J May 14, 2011 at 9:53 am

So, I’d like to offer a slightly different take, or perspective, or spin, or whatever.
I’m 32, haven’t lived at home with my parents since I was 18 save for a few weeks when I was transitioning from one city to another; I’ve made three dramatic career changes in my life so far; I’m married, and I fulfill a traditionally male role in my marriage, but I also voluntarily take on some of the more feminine roles, like cooking, which I enjoy. I recently became a nurse in an ICU at a major hospital in a large city, and I only decided to comment because the article mentions traditionally female roles that men are forced into now. But I’d like to offer a counterpoint to that idea.

While men are now encouraged to enter professions that have traditionally been dominated by females, such as nursing, I feel like men have had a profound effect on those professions, and indeed have changed them into something much more manly. I did CPR on a patient this morning for half an hour after spending the previous 12 hours on my feet. Let me tell you, that if there was ever something required a male’s physicality, it’s that. I think that once men started to enter the field (we’re still only about 6% of the entire nursing profession), it started to become a much more manly, physically demanding, and mentally challenging field. Not to slight women, but I really think men changed nursing into something that would be unrecognizable from the Florence Nightingale-type image of a woman emptying bedpans and putting cold towels on patients’ heads while the men, who were always the physicians, did the real healers’ work (unfortunately, this is still the first thing that most people think of when they think of nurses, which couldn’t be further from the truth). Not to claim that men were the driving force behind this shift — there’s also improved technology and the ability to keep people alive today that would never have even made it to the hospital even 20 years ago — but I firmly believe that men entered the field and molded it into something that became an outlet for the manly needs mentioned in the article. It would be interesting to hear of some other fields that men have entered and transformed in this way.

In short, to cut through all the rambling, I work in a female dominated field, and I’ve never felt more manly when I get home from work every day. I can collapse on the couch when I get home, crack open a beer, put my feet up and just revel in the exhaustion and satisfaction of knowing that I put in a long night of hard work, providing, meeting challenges, and exercising my physicality. And on my days off, I bake bread, play music, work in the yard, etc. It’s just sort of ironic that I’m a nurse and I don’t really feel the male malaise anymore like I did when I worked at a desk.

Really enjoyed the article, but wanted to offer a different, slightly contradictory perspective. I’m looking forward to the series.

108 Dr.Thunder May 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm

While i agree with what most of what Adrian (comment 102) has said i take issue with the last paragraph. The vast majority of studies in the fields of psychology, anthropology, and sociology clearly demonstrate that women are more empathetic, more group oriented, and better suited to working within the context of a group, than men. To claim that women only think of themselves, and that’s why their doing so well in the business world now is preposterous. By contrast, one might argue that historically men have worked in the world of business in what is often an intensely self serving manner. If we allow for a fact that many men are extremely self serving in their approach to business dealings then we have to ask, “IF” women only think about themselves (which the evidence proves is patently false), why is this approach not working for men anymore, but is currently working for women?

I think that this simple thought experiment should be persuasive enough to prove that, if nothing else, the assumption that women only think about themselves is false. (This is of course assuming one intends to ignore the reams of scientific data on the topic and needs further convincing.)

109 Dave S May 14, 2011 at 6:50 pm

The reason for changes is simply the way the customs and laws are written and how they have been bastardized without logic ever since. When the womens movement started they wanted equality in the workplace, but what they had before was preference in divorce and child custody, manners such as holding doors and expecting men to ask them to marry and pay for everything. They still want men to provide everything, do everything and pay for everything, but they now have superiority in the workplace. Many times we needed to hire people and had many candidates but we were told we had to hire women.

In my field in science, there are no more men. Women have taken over, driven by laws that unevenly protect them and punish men. I worked for one woman, hired bacause she was a minority and a woman, who then said to my face that every woman in the department would be promoted before me. When I brought this to HR, they told me to move to another office. All previous cases in the company had the harrasser move.

Men have decided not to fight a losing battle and went to work in places where they have a fighting chance of doing well instead of watching every woman get promoted past them and then have to cover for them when they are out on prgnancy leave.

110 Mike May 15, 2011 at 1:17 am

There’s a difference between living a lifestyle where you have to walk 60 miles through snowy mountains to get to school, and where you do so by choice or for recreation.

111 E May 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Whoever wrote comment #107, your dead on. There are females nurses, and then there are male nurses, each offering a different skill set. Especially in areas such as ICU or the ER, a male nurse is a must for these environments. The nursing profession is no longer a ‘female’ job, its a job like any other and it is up to each individual to apply their knowledge, skill, experience, and work ethic to meet the high demands in healthcare today.

112 Steven May 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm

There is undoubtedly more than one cause of this, but one not listed is male culture itself. Over the years, male culture has praised machismo over brains. Brawn over skills.

Since the 1980s, we’ve been inundated with a new image of man. It was no longer Sean Connery’s multi-skilled gentleman, Cary Grant’s casual elegance, or even John Wayne’s meek toughness. It was Arnold’s biceps, Jean Claude’s speed, Sly’s will, and Hulk’s anger.

Men have sloughed off the complete man in favor of the warrior.

Being smart isn’t manly. Being gentle is the price we pay to keep the company of women (but who needs them, right?). Manners are for sissies; ties are for idiots.

And along with this machismo comes homophobia. I swear I can’t go out in a blazer without someone calling me “gay” under their breath as I walk by. Having a nice hair cut is gay. Being fit is gay. Wearing nice clothes is gay. Cooking is gay.

It seems like the more we see how gay men are exactly the same as us, the less we want to be like ourselves. So we turn to being fat sloths to get away from the appearance of being gay.

Our culture also doesn’t really value marriage and family anymore, so the desire to do well with yourself in order to gain and support a family disappear, so we “follow our dreams” which have been sentimentalized in Hollywood for so long. We love the underdog so much we want to give up the best of ourselves in order to seek fame.

113 Steven May 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm

A comment to post No. 102, Adrian.

He writes, “Women don’t think about taking care of anyone but themselves first. And that is why they are as a whole more successful than us men.”

This is demonstrably false. Women think of others before themselves more than men. This is why many NGOs seek out women to support when they go into troubled places. They will feed the children, and take care of their villages where men will use the resources to exploit their own wealth or power.

114 Svar May 17, 2011 at 12:35 am

“Some say the economy is to blame, as traditionally male industries have been moved off shore or gone extinct. Another reason given is that corporate culture and bureaucracy have sucked the soul out of men and taken away their manly autonomy. Others say it’s our consumer culture and the rise of particularly time-sucking hobbies like video games. And some say the root of the problem is feminism, the changing dynamic of male/female relationships, and the “cheapness of sex.””

I’d say it’s all of them in combination, although feminism would be the biggest thing contributing to the Modern Male Malaise.

115 Svar May 17, 2011 at 12:41 am

“It seems like the more we see how gay men are exactly the same as us, the less we want to be like ourselves. So we turn to being fat sloths to get away from the appearance of being gay.”

Not true. Gay men are not similar to straight men; that’s why they’re called gay men. The overly macho culture is due to the denigration of traditional masculinity by modern society; therefore most of us men feel the need to overcompensate Tucker Max style.

116 Svar May 17, 2011 at 12:44 am

@ Adrian

It depends on the woman, the more traditional kinds are willing to sacrifice

117 Steven May 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

Svar says, “Not true. Gay men are not similar to straight men; that’s why they’re called gay men.”

That’s not true. Aside from the sexual orientation, gay men are just like straight men.

118 Bill May 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Women’s Suffrage was the start of it. Manliness was already eroding. The end of the Wild West, and the advent of the “pretty boys” of NYC, pushing for a more civilized manhood, which has it’s roots in femininity. Men embracing style and fashion, debating which tie goes with which shoes- makes me sick.

I foresee a male revolution, but it will start in local communities, in men’s club. Men will have to force the media to yield.

Have you watched the stereotypical male image on TV lately? Homer Simpson? Lazy sports nuts? Moronic husbands that can’t figure out how to breathe on their own, much less open a fridge, park a car, etc. Our sons are being raised by a boob tube that confirms to them that they are less than nothing.

Look around you at the stuff in front of you. Women didn’t invent it. Men did. No- it’s not because women are weaker, or were held back. Its because invention, creation and destruction are the core of a man.

I enjoy this website, but it’s almost like a cry room for men to dream they could be more than they are, and then to go back to their mundane jobs and boring life. It shouldn’t be an escape, but a launching pad to another era.

119 Gabriel May 17, 2011 at 1:54 pm

The misogynistic men on this blog make me sick.

“Invention, creation, and destruction are the core of a man.” No. They are the core of a human being. I’m not going to list examples of women’s discoveries and inventions. If men can respond to a blog with their hate-filled, homophobic, and misogynistic comments they can just as easily open up a book and expand their narrow minds.

The misogynistic men on here sound like a bunch of pussy cry babies. Grow a pair. Your lacking as men is why we are having the crisis we are having today. Your lacking as fathers is why your sons are being raised by a media that belittles them. YOUR lacking. NOT woman’s suffrage. NOT men embracing style. NOT the loss of the wild west and manifest destiny. Quit blaming others for your faults and man up you wimps.

120 Bill May 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

A mysogynist is a hater of women. I don’t hate women. I despise the men that have been whipped by their women- the men that yielded their natural role of leader to watch a football game and let their woman lead the home.

I’ve read over one hundred books in the last year. I’ve never read so much in my life, or learned so much. Atlas Shrugged was done in three weeks, while I read two other books, worked a full time job and attended full time night school.

Maybe my point wasn’t clear- it’s not about what women have NOT accomplished, but about what men have accomplished before women had a role in the workforce.

Do you know who passed women’s suffrage? Men! Do you think women had no say beforehand? Yes they did. The husband voted for the family. He and she discussed it beforehand.

I raise my son to be specifically independant. Only then can he support a family, think on his own, and have a chance at success. I lack nothing as a man. I am a man in full, and in all ways.

Not sure where the homophobe comment comes in. I didn’t read all comments, but I made no mention of gays.

Did women pioneer the industrial revolution? Were they at the forefront of any revolution? Certainly they were present, with the men they loved, supporting them. But the creation was sourced by men.

121 Josh May 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I’d say movies making it seem alright to act/be a bumbling fool has played a part in the demise of manliness. I hate seeing losers like Seth Rogen being idolized for being fat and lazy- what ever happened to idolizing true men like Liam Neeson?

122 Gabriel May 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Would you feel more at ease if I used the word sexist?

123 Mandy May 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm

When did stating the truth become misogynistic? As a woman I have no problem admitting that much of what has been said in these comments is true. The list of female inventors is incredibly small (I just googled it to check!). Pretty much every major invention, from electricity, to writing, to computers, cars, so and so forth have been invented by men. Is this really controversial?

124 Bill May 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Gabriel- the roles of men and women are clear. The issue is that they are so mottled now. You can call me sexist, old fashioned, bigoted, or a hundred other demeaning adjectives. I’m not. I’m a man. I have a loving wife. I have great kids, the boy will be a man, and will understand what that is. The girl will be a woman and will understand what that is.

I blame men for allowing themselves to become what they are. The state of our nation is strongly influenced by men surrendering their natural leadership and picking up complacency. The burden of leadership has fallen on the shoulders of women, and it’s, in my opinion, and unnatural role for women. I think, and have heard agreement from women, that they don’t want it in many cases, but bear it because men refuse to take it upon themselves.

Try looking on a dating service website. Look at how most women describe their ideal man. What they’re not saying is ” I’m looking for a man that will sit on the couch drinking beer and be around while I do my own thing.” They want to see action, strength, conviction.

125 Bill May 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

@Josh
Look further. where did the image of the bumbling idiot come from?

The image of the strong dominant man has been shamed, and the image of the weak, effeminate man has been exalted. Why? Who? When?

Did men devise political correctness?

126 Ross May 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Oh give me a break people. This is for all the misogynists on here.

Look! There were very few women inventors! Clearly, this means that men are better at that type of thing.

Really? It’s not because of centuries of sexism and an environment where women were lucky to even go to school, let alone get credit for any discovery or innovation?

Look! I talked to a couple women and they assured me, that they would let men have their leadership roles, really, if just the right one would come along. Anecdotes much? I guess we should call Hillary Clinton and inform her that you know, if she really wants, we can let Bill take over. I don’t think so.

I mean, jesus, think for a second. Whether you realize it or not the arguments some of you are making ARE anti-woman, or misogynistic, or what ever word you want to use for it, and are demonstrably false and ridiculous. It reeks of desperate men trying to blame others for their own failures, and their father’s failures.

You want to blame someone for the so called ‘malaise’? Blame dead-beat dads for whom child care is the “woman’s job”. Blame the media for only feeding us muscle bound idiots and athletes as role models, instead of the scientists and thinkers that used to be held up as ideal (can you even name one scientist that isn’t stephen hawking?). Blame rap artists (or better yet, blame the music industry that produced them) for idealizing a life of consumerism, violence, misogyny and homophobia. Blame generations that grew up in front of the TV and video games (i would be one of these). Blame the helicopter parents, who never taught their kids how to work for a living. Blame yourself.

But don’t blame women, they’re just picking up our slack. And all some of you are doing is making excuses.

127 Ross May 17, 2011 at 5:16 pm

@Mandy

Ugh. It’s true that most inventions were by men, but men in patriarchial societies where women weren’t allowed to be or do anything. Where a woman couldn’t even go to school without permission from a father or husband. Where women were actively discouraged from the ‘manly’ pursuits of math and science.

And even then, when women did contribute to science, or art, or literature, they often published under male names out of necessity. Or just because it would be easier than if they did it under their real name. And there are many cases where a woman’s contribution was downgraded, or credit was taken away, because a woman “couldn’t have done such work, it must have been her husband” or some such nonsense. What’s amazing is that woman were able to contribute at all, given that they were barely considered anything more than male property at the time.

The problem is when people extrapolate that to modern day, which the poster you reference obviously does, and if you didn’t take it 100% literally would’ve noticed. He’s implying that this is somehow evidence that women are somehow inferior or ‘not cut out’ for this type of work. Which is demonstrably not true.

128 Mandy May 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Ug, right back atcha. Women and men have had equal educational and professional opportunities for the last 40 years. And what have women invented in that time? Pretty much nothing.

I used to be much more feminist, having been conditioned just like you to have that response, but then I actually went out and read things on the other side and realized that those conditioned responses were largely irrational and not built on facts. I suggest you spend some time examining the other side yourself.

129 Ross May 18, 2011 at 3:37 am

I disagree that it’s been equal for 40 years. The whole point of this article is that we’re just now reaching parity: and men are struggling because we now have more competition. Even if you start from the premise that we’ve been equal that long, you imply that one generation is enough to undo a history of discrimination. I disagree on that as well.

I grew up in the south. I was *definitely* not conditioned to be a feminist, or a liberal, or anything but a camo wearing good ole’ boy. Apparently we’ve both crossed that same gap but going in opposite directions.

130 Chris Repp May 18, 2011 at 7:40 am

Great topic. Looking forward to reading more.

131 Michael Van Osch May 18, 2011 at 9:57 am

One of the major issues here is that men have (through the backlash of feminism) become too polite. I’m not talking about holding the door for your woman, I’m talking about remembering that Masculinity, at it’s heart, is about finding the right direction and leading. And what that translates to is finding your personal mission as a man and not allowing your wife or girlfriend to knock you off that path because she needs more security. Too many men now have been brought up to ask permission of their woman to do what they need to do as a purpose in their lives. That is a major reason we currently have many men not living up to their potential and birthright. cheers.

132 BIll May 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm

O.k., I should admit a couple things rgarding my posts above- I didn’t read the article, other than the first paragraph. I didn’t read any of the posts except the first one (around 100). At least I hadn’t read any of it before posting. It’s hard to summarize all that I see in a few lines, and the core was what I was trying to capture.

So today I read the rest of the article, and most of the posts to the topic.

I’m glad to see so many hitting on the same points, and to see that I’m not off base in my own thoughts.

It’s clear that there is a MAN revival sprouting it’s roots. I am bold enough to say that it will save the USA if we hold on to our souls.

Among the other books mentioned, if you haven’t read Atlas Shrugged, read it. Ayn Rand puts in to words the thoughts I’ve carried since I was a very young man. It changed my life. I have felt like I was supposed to be ashamed of wanting more from life, and I feel no shame now. My wife has seen the change, and my son is seeing it. I love more, I live more. I don’t agree with everything Rand put down in ink, but the core of the book speaks like I penned it myself.

The timing of this article is peculiar to me. I saw another poster mention he just finished “The Fountainhead”. I finished it today, and already had “Wild At Heart” ready to start.

Regarding Atlas Shrugged- it can be found in pdf form online here: voluntarysociety.org/conditioning/atlasshrugged.pdf

133 jordan winer May 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm

The Fountainhead, really? Is there anything shorter that’d do it? whose got the time?

134 Paul II May 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

That show made me want to live like them more than anything. Something really draws me to lifestyle some of those men live. Brett has yet another great article here.

I think today, many men are trapped inside this thought of how their lives should be, “Go to school, 4 years of college, work inside for the rest of your life.” Seems like it’s the modern path of least resistance.

135 Ken May 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Look, I know that this might sound stupid but this is a web site for men about men and if you want to put hate toward this site then just don’t come to this site every again. If you think you have to spread hate that is fine because I don’t hate you because I know that you only hate yourself.

And I know this might sounds wrong but this is how I look at it. Men and women are created different because there are meant of different roles in the survival of the human race, not that one is better as a whole then the other but we are better in different things as all man are better in different things then other men.

And thank you for all those people out there that posted something of worth that isn’t full of hate. We as a race need to look past hate. Hate will bring us nothing but more hate. Break the cycle and bring in understanding.

Thank you again and I hope you all have a good day.

136 Lucas May 20, 2011 at 8:15 am

Really the phrase that comes to mind here is “don’t hate the player hate the game” particularly alot of these problems are the result of living in capitalist society.

137 Jordan May 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

There are a few things that are upsetting about today’s women that I, not as a misogynist or a sexist would like to bring up.

One, equality before the law does not mean preference, which is apparently happening in this country in many different scenarios. Divorce cases initiated by gold diggers and sexual harassment lawsuits where a man did almost nothing to warrant it are two prime examples of preference in my opinion. How is it at ALL fair that before the law, if a women went into a marriage with nothing, they can get half of whatever the man has made himself? How is it at all fair that a man who simply looked at a woman’s breasts is fired from a job that he needs to maintain his livelihood?

Another aspect is this ideal man that women keep wanting and never finding. He’s no longer here because we as a society killed him. You want chivalry? You want us to buy you fancy dinners? Protection from a man? Keep you in a nice house? Women should start taking a look from another perspective and realize that many times in today’s culture, THEY are the breadwinners of the prospective families. Stop putting men on this pedestal of times LONG gone. Many women want to have their cake and eat it too, where men simply have to abide by these new found societal changes no matter how menial their jobs may be compared to their significant other. Women nowadays wonder why they are alone for the rest of their life and it is because this wonderful man who does everything they possibly can for them does not simply appear right in front of their eyes.

Digressing, I think it’s wonderful that women are getting equality before the law, I just think that some aspects of this ‘equality’ needs to be toned down if we as a society are to progress. I think it’s great that I can potentially have a female boss, but I don’t want her to have that position because she is a female and there is some quota to fill of each gender. Gender roles can be changed, but they should not be merged to the extent that many feminists think that they should be.

138 Alex May 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Before I even go on in this article, what’s with the statistic that ONLY 44% of people in college are men? There are only basically two sexes, so almost half seems reasonable. What’s the sex distribution among people that age anyway?

139 John May 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Just to toss my $.02 in…
I had been in a similar type of malaise for the last year or so – not having much interest in anything, work sucking, even the wife and kids were grating on my nerves; after losing my job it got even worse. Someone mentioned to my wife (who mentioned it to me) a book by David Deida called “The Way of the Superior Man”. It’s really helped me turn a lot of stuff around lately – no job yet, but I’ve got my mojo back.

I’ll warn you that it deals with spirituality (like meditation and inner peace, not “Praise Jesus!” type). If that doesn’t intimidate you, and a lot of the things in this article sound like you, the I suggest you give it a look. It’s a straightforward, no-BS look at being a man, understanding women, and finding and pursuing your purpose in life.

Great article. I look forward to more.

140 Lawrence May 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I think one major problem has become Hollywood. They have been pushing an agenda for years. They sneak it into kids movies, exploit it in TV shows, and have been changing the dynamic constantly in movies. Watch any TV show nowadays and it looks like a male underwear ad. Then, have something come on with a girl in a bikini, and we are made to feel like a perv for looking by our wife or girlfriend. Hollywood parades naked men around like trophies and then we see talk show after talk show talk about how horrible men are for objectifying women.

If a man and a woman committed the same crime, 2 things would happen. The man would get a longer jail sentence and be maligned in the media and society. The woman would get a lesser sentence or probation and they would show where the whole thing was a man’s fault. Then, while in prison, the man would be forced into subjugation to women prison guards, who have the right to to request them to strip on command and are present many times when this type thing happens to men, while at female prisons male guards are not supposed to be present and would not be allowed to request a female prisoner strip.

I don’t have a problem with men and women sharing duties and maintaining a house together. Problems arise because women are empowered to berate us and we are supposed to show appreciation at every they do.

go to a marriage seminar. They spend the entire time telling men what they need to do to make their women happy. When is the last time anyone saw a couples seminar tell the women they should take time to help their husband change the oil, cut the trees, fix the washer, be intimate more than once in awhile. Nope, its all about little things to show HER you care.

Nope, it’s a woman focused world. Women are whining about how they can’t find any good men out there, all the while tearing the good ones down and creating the very problem they are complaining about.

141 Nick May 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm

really looking forward to the series. keep it up AOM

142 Michael May 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Adding my late two cents (although I’ve written plenty on this topic myself) – great food for thought, Brett. The cure for what’s ailing men isn’t a “new macho” or “reimagining” our gender – it’s reinforcement of what we biologically are.

And with respect to the thought that this is somehow sexist, I’m surprised. The thought promoted by the media that somehow men “losing their mojo,” is the only reason women just poked along into a higher grad rate, better job prospects, etc., should be the stuff that’s considered sexist, not the thought that our biological differences should be nurtured.

(More food for thought: there are more women than men in America. Maybe all discussion of higher [fill in blank] rates should start there.)

143 James Watt May 21, 2011 at 8:41 am

I’m glad to see this finally being discussed, I feel that this has been a sort of “Taboo” subject for many men but that’s just my opinion.

Coming from the North-East of Scotland, there is still a divide, for lack of a better word where the men still tend to dominate sectors such as Oil/Gas, Logistics, Fishing,etc,

However, I’ve noticed that there has been a big increase in woman say for example, in HR, Administration,

But what I think the real problem is upbringing, which can lead to influencing a persons drive to succeed (I’m including both Male and Female here).

At the moment i’m 23, I work in the customer care section for my local council, I studied at college for 2 years, ( University and College are two seperate things over here) but I chose not to go onto University and instead work my way up through experience.

Still living at home- (hey, mortgages aint cheap in the oil capital of Europe lol) but i’m not ashamed, i’m saving up and getting there.

What it comes down to is at the end of the day- As long as I can provide for my future family in the best way that I possibly can – I don’t care if my boss is a Man or Woman.

But what I will say, with equality comes inequality which I have been a victim of in my workplace – the modern caucasian man has alot of challenges to face…Get a F*cking grip guys and let’s show ‘em how it’s done!! stop thinking with your johnson and start using your heart and head..those are the two things that create success.

Warm regards (It’s freezing over here)
James

144 ranger May 23, 2011 at 1:57 am
145 migu May 23, 2011 at 7:15 am

Its very simple. Women have privelege. They always have. Patriarchy is a myth, or all the duchesses, queens, and oracles, Vestals, etc… are.

It is simple to be a man. Walk your own road. Be hospitable to strangers until they are inhospitable to you.

Never forget a woman can be just as evil as a man, and courts will back her up.

I see the misandry bubble has been linked, that is good. Now you all should Google “hate bounces”

Oh and lamenting women. You left all the good men in your twenties. Quit whining.

For all the ladies. Thank you for not buying the misandry and not being a misandrist.

146 laurais May 23, 2011 at 8:06 am

I’m not sure if previous comments have mentioned the New Warrior Training offered by the Mankind Project (inspired, in part, by Robert Bly’s Iron John). The thousands of men who’ve experienced the program echo much of what Brett has to say.

I recall, when affirmative action took off in the late seventies/eighties, that discrimination, in employment, against white men, especially in the professions and in “middle class” occupations, was rampant. Had we followed the example of organized women’s and minority groups to ensure that we were fairly represented in hiring and promotion, within the private and public sector, and had we not, on the whole, been intimidated by accusations of sexism and racism, I think we, as a class, would not only have fared better over the years, I think that we, as a class, would have earned greater respect form our women and minority peers and from the younger generation.

Also, we live at a time when, in our culture, honor, perhaps the male virtue upon which so many of the other virtues rest, has become quaint and anachronistic. That can’t be helped when a culture is in terminal decline as ours seems to be. The older men among us won’t likely live to see an American rebirth (which may occur after the dissolution of what’s left of the United States), but many younger men may live to see it. They will likely be the leaders of the new culture so that, instead of having to go to the ends of the earth to assert or recover their manhood, many of the American or post-American men of the future will likely be honored and honorable and, once again, held in esteem after a decadent culture has passed through the season of its decline and fall.

147 St. Martha May 23, 2011 at 10:13 am

@J . . . I have heard from more than one man in the profession that nursing is a rewarding experience. My seventeen year old son is making plans to go into nursing when he graduates high school next year. Thanks for offering your perspective.

148 Mike Mahoney May 23, 2011 at 10:47 am

It was touched on and then drifted away from. Men can no longer employ the three things that when combined no woman can ever have; our particular sense of justice and the means to enforce it along with an unrestrained competitive spirit. IOW, we can no longer fight. As crude as that sounds, a life of pure and fierce competitiveness restrained only by a severe consequence if you cheat and bolstered by the right to impose rough justice if cheated upon seems like a rough and enervating formula. Watch a bunch of four and five year old boys in unstructured play; before the school gets ahold of them. They go all out, hog wild and even slights get addressed immediately, with vigor. Then they go to school.

149 Deuce May 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

The FACTS are this. The government has, as is government’s only skill, used FORCE to assimilate women into traditionally male roles over the last century. It is all part of the global social engineering project that has been going on in the world since the early 1900′s. You were all born into this experiment though you will never accept it. No matter, the proof is out there. From the eugenics movements in the 19-teens (including Ford’s famous production line), to Soviet experiments selectively breeding aggression and docility in animals, those who seek to control have co-opted the use of government force to create a population of docile but capable automatons, to serve a privileged elite without ever biting their hand. Public Schools have been the training centers for this since the 30′s (another well documented and verifiable fact). This is why education statistics are the most telling of the decline of traditional manliness in men. And these statistics have swiftly translated to similar trends in the corporate world. Proprietors of businesses, looking to maximize every possible margin for their own gain at the expense of everyone else don’t want rogues who take risks and seek their own glory. They want docile, subservient types, easily manipulated by emotional pleas, eager to please, and frightened by reprimand. These are female traits. But more and more you find these traits in the androgynous girlie-men wandering the halls of corporate America. And not surprisingly being squeezed by diminishing pay (has YOUR salary kept pace with the price of gas?), and kept back by their manly instincts to push limits that their female bosses fear pushing.

This whole issue has nothing to do with who is better, or more capable. It is a manipulation, plain and simple, and one designed to enrich a small group while our humanity is sacrificed to social order. To be sure women are being exploited equally, it just isn’t as obvious because they have seemingly been elevated. But while the rise of women is society is nice to see, but given that it comes at the cost of the downfall of men, we will ultimately lose in the end. With all due respect to women, their “victory” over men has come at a tragic cost…

150 Timothy May 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I have to second what Harold Chase said: your highest duty as a man is to raise your sons. This duty cannot be performed by women. They mean well, but they have no clue. I was raised by women without a single other male around. It’s taken decades to begin learning the lessons I should have learned by puberty, and a lot of luck to survive the pitfalls of that ignorance. Fortunately, I now have a son of my own who will never suffer the fate of being fatherless.

Even if you accomplish nothing else in life, simply raise your sons, and know that you have made the greatest possible contribution to the world.

151 Lonejack May 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm

@ Deuce

To add a little to your comment, the strident feminist movement of the latter 20th century was funded largely by certain enormous “charitable” and not-for-profit institutions such as the Rockefeller Foundation. Youngest of the brothers, David, once stated that his family’s decision to do so served two primary objectives of the NWO agenda: 1) to levy the income tax on the second half of the population and 2) to fracture the nuclear White middle class family. Desired corollary effects of women in the workplace included, among others, the steady increase of day-to-day exposure of all children as early as possible to the public school environment, where government could more directly control cultural indoctrination, and the steady decrease of the economic and political influence of White men, who were viewed as the single most likely and strongest potential impediment to the attainment of a global collective under a central authority of the power elites, which, presumably, included the Rockefellers and their financier and central banking allies in Europe.

152 john May 23, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Hi guys, remember this is not a global problem, it is mostly an American, Australian, and British problem. You American men especially should travel to other countries as soon as you are able. Then you will see what real women are like. When you return to the USA, you will have absolutely no interest in American Women. Do you know why? Because they are not really women. They are something in between a man and a woman. Now wonder relationships with them are so uncomfortable and unnatural. I lived in America once and tried to have a marriage with disastrous results. My advice for young men: If you are serious about having a career and a wife and children, get out of the USA as fast as possible. I did, and I am much happier now.

153 AmateurRadio May 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm

This is an intriguing intro. Looking forward to the explorations.

I think it is useful to note that we keep kids in a classroom bottle well past the age when they really could be independent. Under Common Law, at 16, a “child” became an adult. And this was to meet up with the lowest common denominator (slowest maturing). Look at kids. At 16, they’re full of themselves. They think they’ve got it down. They don’t but it’s because the adults haven’t done their job…

The species hasn’t changed much in several thousand years. If kids could be independent in an agrarian world at 13 and 15 only a hundred years ago, why are we keeping them cooped up, chasing their tails in repetitive classrooms until they’re 18?

…It is my contention that the job of adults is to prepare their children to be independent, to make good decisions and to be self-asserting at the earliest possible age. I’m not talking about pressuring kids to grow up faster than they can, but helping them mature morally and intellectually as quickly as actually suits them–not as suits those who have designed the public schools to soak the assertiveness and self-directedness out of kids and to turn them into authority-obeying and power-seeking droids.

This is somewhat off subject, so I’ll not try to elaborate, but I think I’ve written enough to generate some resonance with like-minded readers, who may have also read Iserbyt and Gatto on public schools.

As a victim of the indoctrination, still suffering from it 30-plus years after graduation, still over-cautious and cowering before authority, I am particularly interested in the elements of the promised material. People who know me might argue that I am not like that, but inside, I am. I hate it. Debilitating? Somewhat…

Also, men today feel hounded about every manly thing: cuss in the wrong place and you’ll find yourself in a figurative dungeon; boisterous boys are treated to psycho-chemotherapy; if you’re into the outdoors or guns or whatever, “you might just be a redneck”; if our simpering, sissified (and unnatural) culture offends you, you’re a simeon boob; if you call corruption in and among government and business like it is, “you just might be a terrorist.”

Some of us get beyond the anger that accompanies the recognition of these affronts. Others do not. All who recognize these affronts for what they are will struggle to deal, day in and day out.

Heheheheh. Perhaps more fodder for your explorations…

154 steve May 27, 2011 at 8:44 am

I am an engineer. If the sexes truly are equal, given that females now dominate the educational system as both students and teachers, how come the supermajority of engineering graduates are still male?

Most females I know, even the smart ones, simply can’t think like an engineer must.

Some might advocate affirmative action for women, but there’s no way to make math, logic, and physics any less rigorous.

I love women. But the saying vive le difference is meaningless if you don’t recognize that there actually is a difference.

155 Shea, Francis May 31, 2011 at 10:18 pm

I am currently on deployment with the navy on “Southern Seas 2011″ and the daily emails are perfect. I forward them to the guys all the time. Due to limits on size there are never any pictures and i can never comment or enter in any of the great giveaways. I just wanted to say i love this article more than most. Keep up the great work. Cant wait to read more state side. I have been doing pushups at the top of any hour I am sitting. it is now a common question if i have done my hourly pushups. it keeps me out of the chair. my wife will hopefully like the extra few years i get from not sitting so much.

156 Anthony June 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Yes, yes and YES! This is the first article I read of the Art of Manliness and let me tell you.. I was clapping my hands and cheering at every word I read like a christian screaming “YOU TELL THEM MEN!”
Seriously I never felt so identified with a text like this before.
This page is going to my favourites.

157 Bob June 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm

When I read John’s post, post 152, I HAD TO RESPOND because ITS DEAD ON TRUE.

I went to Turkey earlier this year, and the women were so different, I dumped my feminist girlfriend as soon as I got back. I didn’t even wait, after 2 days there I was so impressed by those women that I just became single and came back with a bag full of phone numbers. I also met girls from the nation of Georgia, and they’re not only beautiful and amazing, but so respectful and womanly. They’re also intelligent and educated. At a conference I was at, I also met Pakistani women, who were actually slammin’ despite their reputation in American media. These women are not modern feminists, that’s why they’re still sweet. A woman like this is the kind of woman I would do anything for. They don’t try to supplant you as the head of the household, yet they’re strong and won’t take crap. They keep you in line, in a way you admire rather than resent. If I sound misogynistic, I by no means am, although your average American feminist woman would think so regardless – and that’s why I want nothing to do with her anyway. She can find some sensitive ponytail guy who will leave her feminine side unsatisfied her whole life – because deep down, the vast majority of women have an inner feminine side that is ALSO being suppressed by modern culture, and if you know anything about Taoist philosophy, the feminine needs the masculine to complete itself and grow (and vice versa – the masculine needs the feminine). So what the feminist movement does to guys these days is not only neuter the men, but they spay the women, leaving everyone unsatisfied.

Since I got back, I’ve embraced my inner man. I started doing martial arts and boxing like crazy, I’m planning bow hunting trips for the fall already, and I even turned down an $80,000 per year job to join the Marine Corps. I feel awesome. And I hope to meet a foreign woman while in the Marines, or a real American woman, which is so rare these days. If you have one, you are a LUCKY man, thank God for that right now.

Like John said, if you’re a man, go explore the world and meet foreign women. You will definitely lose all interest in Americans/Brits/Aussies and Canadians for that matter too. But you BETTER be a real man on top of it, because in other countries they have REAL men and a real woman will not settle for anything less, it doesn’t matter if you’re wealthier. Lastly I would just like to emphasize I am in no way anti-female. I totally believe in women’s suffrage, work rights, etc. I believe in being the household head for sure, but not as a total jerk dictator, but as a provider, loving husband, protector, father, leader. Like the real men of the past – I want the responsibility of being the head of the household, and I want a woman who appreciates and honors and admires that – I want my masculinity to draw out the femininity in a woman, and to be happy.

158 Frans Zdyb June 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm

@ Steve

As an engineer student myself (applied math), I can answer this:
“If the sexes truly are equal, given that females now dominate the educational system as both students and teachers, how come the supermajority of engineering graduates are still male?”

Just because status quo is that most engineering students are male, doesn’t really imply anything about the causality between the students’ gender and their ability. This is not to be taken as anecdotal evidence, but about 20 % of the students from my year are women, and they are doing just fine.

You seem to state that women have trouble with problem solving
“Most females I know, even the smart ones, simply can’t think like an engineer must.”
This doesn’t match my experiences. However, you could argue that (generally) men are more inclined towards problem solving, and I would agree. But inclination =/= ability. And that would answer your question.

Anyway, on topic:

“the 5 switches” is fast becoming my favorite series on AoM! Awesome stuff.

159 Dave June 8, 2011 at 2:12 am

I find it unhelpful to still speak in terms of what men and women can and can’t do pragmatically (I mean in cases of like who gets to be an engineer or not and that kind of stuff) but society, while I believe in equality, still needs the unique artist of men and women as distinct. I am the product of two working parents and was not raised with the image of my father being the final authority over my mother, they were a unified team, but my mom was a lady to the core and my father knew how to be a man. Its too late to un-ring the feminist bell as far as reverting back to the classic 50s image of ‘Father Knows Best” what we need to do rather is zero in on being men for our own good. men become unless when feminized because it goes against our nature and I think a lot of women find the same thing when they become masculinity, but this does not necessarily effect ability to preform in the same jobs and so on, just that both traits are needed in a functioning society, and society suffers without men and ladies in all levels of society. I think that is a lot of what early feminism was probably getting at but it got lost in a power struggle.

An example of this is my field, I am studying to be a minister. The influx of female pastors suffered at first because it involved women trying to be slightly more manly and the furtherance of the already downward spiral into wimpy male pastors. At my seminary however I actualizes see positive sign. Most of the women I know studying to be pastors now in my age bracket (late 20s) aren’t so concerned with acting non-ladylike as they are just being strong while owning there femininity, they have less of a probably what previous generations labels ‘acting like a stereotypical woman.’ And I don’t take as much grief at all as you’d think for being a man and not getting into the whole teary eyed pastor stereotype. They let me be a man. In other words there is an equality not based on blurring the lines between the sexes but embracing what is needed of both and fatherly and motherly figures in our communities, both kinds of leadership are need to work together.

All that said and done this is such a great website, if we men are, even in an equal society, going to still be men and unashamed of it we need to do what the feminist did a long time ago and band together to support each other.

160 Erik June 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

Really enjoying this new series. Keep up the great work. I’m going for a run!

161 Kate May 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Yikes. A lot of these comments are pretty scary.
My personal experience is that it is rare to find a man my age (early twenties) who isn’t still a boy. Which isn’t an insult to men, it just seems like a lot of boys in my generation don’t seem to have a plan for what they really want out of life, and it seems to just be easier to play video games all day. Yes, I’m a feminist, but I don’t think that is all that uncommon, nor is it a bad thing. ( I would consider my husband a feminist too, btw!) I love my husband, we both felt strongly that marriage (not no-strings-attached cohabitation) was important, and I think he will make an excellent father. We split household chores 50/50, with the exception being that he volunteers for anything “gross” (like taking out the trash, or the cat litter) because he feels it is the chivalrous thing to do, and I am more than happy to oblige. We both go to school, and we both work, and I feel that it is my *duty* as a wife to contribute to our household as much as I can. I don’t work because it somehow emasculates him, I work because it helps us both. When we have children, while we’d both like to work part time and stay home part time, I’ll likely be the one who stays home. I actually feel really guilty about not being able to contribute financially.

I make sure he knows that I appreciate everything he does, and that I do feel that him handling the more manly duties balances out our home life in the best possible way. I can’t say enough good things about AOM and similar sites for showing boys that becoming men is within their grasp, and give them something to stride for. I don’t think being the best man you can be is in any way anti-feminist.

And, to be fair, a lot of the modern Seth Rogan-esque portraits of men in media really do bother me, but I can say the same for a lot of the “role models” for young women in the media too. (MTV’s 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom 2, anyone?) I wish Kate McKay would start an Art of Lady-ness or something, if only to show girls my age that there is more to life than reality television, shopping, Ke$ha, and clubbing…

162 Jeffrey December 6, 2013 at 11:39 am

Intriguing article, as I feel perhaps my personal story might fit into the dynamic which continues to redefine the male role. I am a male about to turn 30, married with one child and another on the way. I am also engaged in a typically “feminine” profession, as a psychotherapist. I literally spend all day long talking about feelings. So, in some ways, perhaps I have rounded the corners of my squarish male psyche. However, I rarely feel more like a man than when I have come home after starting my privately owned business, sought daily to help others in their lives and encourage both men and women to maximize their potentials and conduct happy and fruitful lives, and return to my family as both a provider and a leader. I admit the physicality that at times defines men is not primary in my work, and thus I find other outlets, like working out and joining a local rec sports league. I don’t believe this violates my evolutionary background as a man at all, and makes me feel more connected to the virtues set out in some of the other posts on this site.

Maybe it is in these ways men can determine their present and future roles in society. Women do not need to abdicate power back to men, nor do I believe that men should have abdicated power initially. I support the feminist movement inasmuch as they sought equality. However, I believe that when each gender competes against one another to determine an overall power structure, our society is doomed from the beginning. Men and women need one another for society to function, and having men who are strong and empathic, resilient and resolute is not a matter of becoming feminized; it is acknowledging your core human self and your potential as a man.

163 mason January 6, 2014 at 11:34 pm

As I was reading I couldn’t help but notice the statistics near the beginning of the article. How its women who are earning the majority of the “higher education” degrees. How women seem to be doing better in school and all that is probably right. My fiancee is in school to be a nurse. She’ll be there for 5 year’s. Me? I’m in school to maintain aircraft. I won’t get a bachelor’s oreven an associate’s degree. I’ll be given a certificate by the FAA that states I have proven myself competent in such a field. There are no women in my classes. There are no women in the coarse at my school. I would probably be correct in assuming that there are relatively few women in the field. It is hard, frustrating and mentally taxing work, but I digress. My point is just because women are the majority of people who will obtain degrees that does not mean that men are necessarily being lazy (though I personally thing they are). Perhaps we’ve moved away from the law, business and medical fields and taken up more hands one and technical occupations. Medicine, law, and business are fields where women can easily prosper. And while women have the mental ability to learn a trade such as aircraft maintenance or welding, I have it on good authority that most women would rather have someone else do the job. As a rule of thumb women operate machinery, not maintain it. That aforementioned fiancee has me do all her car maintenance. And I enjoy it.

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