Now, as a man who has never been a macho-man, I have no problems here. So, do not jump all over me thinking that I am going to engage in griping sad stories. No woe-is-me here. I am doing fine, thank you. But, as I have been blogging for years, and talking about this for even longer time, we live in a world where the old formula for masculinity is being thrown out--which is an awesome thing--but without a replacement formula for what it means to be a man. This is especially troublesome for young men of today, and for middle-aged and older men who are used to operating in the old ways.
I completely agree with President Obama's bottom-line on twenty-first century feminism: "the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free." But, ...
This is leaving muddled what it means to be a man in the twenty-first century.
Pandering political rhetoric aside, there is a genuine question here: What is masculinity today? Is it flexing steel pecs and biceps? Is it bringing home the bacon? Is it possessing testicles and a functional urinary tube? Or is it merely the possession of a Y-chromosome in an era when the value of muscles plummets before a digital economy?I am glad I am not a young man, at least for this reason. I have had my own share of angst right from my teens, thank you.
It is also getting reflected in the crazy political soap opera theatre:
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are tapping into what I’m calling a “Lean Out” generation of young, discouraged and angry men—men who are feeling abandoned by the thousands of years of history that defined what it meant to be a real man: to be strong; to be a provider; to be in authority; to be the ultimate decision maker; and to be economically, educationally, physically and politically dominant. A growing percentage of young men are being out-earned by young women, as women capture 60% of the higher education degrees required for success in today’s economy.Maybe you want to counter argue that the Trump and Sanders supporters were/are mainly those who are struggling for what used to be a guaranteed American Middle Class life. But, ahem, dig deeper and the economic issue is mostly a male problem.
So, any words of wisdom here?
Today’s chorus of angry men might want to revisit Benjamin Franklin. Drawing on the Latin word vir, or virtue, he characterized manliness as tranquillity, resolution and orderlinessTranquility.
Hey, young men, listen up: It looks like good ol' Uncle Ben was talking about me after all! I am delighted to be highly masculine, by Franklin's definition. And I have a manly beard too! ;)