Friday, January 06, 2017

Masculinity and jobs ... with a p*y-grabbing president

Trying to get people--students, in particular--appreciate the urgency in understanding what masculinity means in the 21st century has been a frustrating failure for me, and yet I try again and again.

This issue of masculinity is extremely important because so many of our public policies, and social mores, depend on how much we are ready and willing to redefine a new masculinity that will be appropriate for the contemporary times and into the future.

Even in this blog, I have forever been talking about it.  There is a thread of "save the males," for instance.  Right?  Or, consider that just a couple of months ago, I quoted the following:
Succeeding in the new economy and culture may well require rethinking conventional ideas about masculinity.
Which is why I find nothing new when I read in the NY Times:
Much of men’s resistance to pink-collar jobs is tied up in the culture of masculinity, say people who study the issue. Women are assumed to be empathetic and caring; men are supposed to be strong, tough and able to support a family.
“Traditional masculinity is standing in the way of working-class men’s employment, and I think it’s a problem,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist and public policy professor at Johns Hopkins and author of “Labor’s Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America.”
“We have a cultural lag where our views of masculinity have not caught up to the change in the job market,” he said.
Seriously, tell me something that I have not been saying for years now!
 One solution is for the men who have lost jobs in factories to become health aides. But while more than a fifth of American men aren’t working, they aren’t running to these new service-sector jobs. Why? They require very different skills, and pay a lot less.
They’re also seen as women’s work, which has always been devalued in the American labor market. ...
“It’s not that they couldn’t become a health worker, it’s that people have backward views of what their identity is.”
Unfortunate that quite a few men (and women) are holding on to some outdated definitions of "real men."
It’s no surprise, then, that Donald J. Trump appealed to men who feel this way — not just his promises to bring back factory jobs, but also his machismo.  
If only many more had understood that masculinity does not mean grabbing pussies!

2 comments:

Ramesh said...

Been here before. I don't see the masculinity issues as starkly as you do, at least from this part of the world. Those old stereotypes of men have long gone.

Sriram Khé said...

"at least from this part of the world. Those old stereotypes of men have long gone."

I disagree. The old sexist stereotypes are alive and flourishing in the old country, even more than here. The social rigidity has been relaxed and that too only a tad in a few corners of a few cities. The rest of the vast 1.2 billions continue to believe and practice stereotypes of men and women in families and societies.

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