Well, this one is getting run off faster than I like. Since I’m turning Weds into Wednesday Men’s Day for a bit, or trying to, I’ve got a bunch of outlines and ideas, but can’t get to them atm, so I’m pulling this out of my head and stuff here is likely to get touched on again.
So, there’s a lot of books out there on what it means to be a man. Admittedly, not as many as some think there should be, and there’s a lot more about being a woman, and a hell of a lot out there on relationships. But, as a rule, the books for men break down into two categories, at least the ones I’ve run into. Class A are mainly those books that tell men they need to Act Like Men in the traditional sense, being an honorable gentleman, standing up, taking responsibility, etc, while glorifying what it means to be a man. The other set, Class B, seem to come from a more feminist view point, and say a lot of the same things the other class says, though it puts women over men and glorifies the feminine over the masculine.
None of them, however, in my experience, really talk about the things that have changed for men. They gripe and groan about how men don’t step up, how they are lazy, shiftless, immature, and so on. Those that celebrate the Masculine are sad about the loss of maturity in men. The Feminist ones, well, aren’t so sad about the loss of masculinity (some celebrate it) but are upset that men don’t want to step up like they used to. Class A, it seems, doesn’t seem to notice that the world has changed. Class B knows the world changed, and sees the advancement of women as important, but doesn’t seem to realize how this “Advancement” has changed things for men.
Used to be, men had the shit end of the stick. They spent long hours our working (often being at work more than at home, regardless of if they wanted to or not). Men were stronger, so they had to do the hard work. They weren’t given an option. It was go out and do. Farming, forging, making, breaking, fighting, dying, etc. A man was to do all these things. No one asked if a Man wanted to be a stay at home dad while his wife worked. Assuming his wife would have put up with such “non-sense” the community wouldn’t have. But there were some benefits to all the sacrifices men made for family and community. Masculinity was praised, glorified, and honored, because it was well known that it wasn’t right to make a man risk life and limb without giving him something for it. A lot of people like to act like Men forced women down and took the power. A lot of people never lived without Starbucks, tv, cars, the vote, and electricity and machinery.
A lot of people are idiots.
There is an expression, “the Rights and Responsibility There Unto,” which generally went with a title and position in life. Like being a citizen of a nation, you gain the rights of a citizen, and the responsibility of a citizen. Used to be, there were rights and responsibilities for being a man. You were the provider, the protector, and often the guy who made sure what was broken got fixed, along with a bunch of other things. In turn, you were granted respect, honor, support, and viewed as having various rights to one’s earnings, property, children, etc.
These days, not so much. A lot of people like to treat men as if because at one point in history men had more rights than women, it’s okay to take rights from men. Because apparently someone, somewhere in the past, having something, is a perfectly valid reason to deny that something from some one here and now. Which sounds kinda screwy to me. After all, wouldn’t it be just as logical to say that because someone, somewhere, somewhere in the past, didn’t have something, means they can’t have it now?
So, people like to act like men have the “Responsibilities there unto,” without giving them the “Rights.” Look at the practice of alimony these days. Initially, Alimony came about because women couldn’t work, or couldn’t work enough to support themselves. So it was deemed “morally right” that a man should give money to his ex-wife so that she might not fall to starvation and desolation. Of course, this was mitigated by not making the man pay so much that he would fall to starvation and desolation as well.
These days, not so much. A man now can be made to pay more alimony (and child support) than he makes in a year (at least after taxes). He can be made to pay so much that he falls to starvation and desolation. And when he does not pay, he can be sent to prison. This can cause him to lose his job, and both the loss of job and criminal record can then be used to deny him custody of his children. His house, car, dog, and other possessions may be stripped from him as well, in a divorce. And since the divorce rate here in the USA is somewhere between 55%-65%, you’re looking at grim odds as a man.
After all, it’s considered suicidally stupid to play Russian Roulette, and you’ve got a 1/6 chance of death. Meaning that odds are 5/6ths of the time you come out okay. In marriage, you’re looking at better than a 1 in 2 chance of losing almost everything, if not everything, depending on lawyers and the judge.
All the while, more and more women are working, and making as much if not more than the men they are married to.
Is it any wonder more and more men are not wanting to “step up to the plate” in that case?
Of course, the Feminists see a great revenue market for women drying up, so they like to shame men and say “Be a man, step up and marry the girl, pay for the girl, don’t you dare stand in the way of the girl, and when she dumps your ass pay up you lazy, worthless, sexist, no good piece of man-shit.”
The others, though, seem to have not noticed what’s been going on. They think that being a man hasn’t changed at all, despite the fact we’re going on fifty years or more since the sixties and longer since women’s lib started.
So are men to be merely the chattel of others, is this to be the new definition of manhood. Is it to be the househusband, in some sort of gender reversal from “the past?” I saw a trailer over the weekend for a movie about a club of men who had new children and were “learning to be good fathers.”
The only real thought running through my head other than “my gods, they really will make a movie about anything, no matter how terrible it is,” was “my gods, what happened, your balls drop off?”
And yes, it did sound like the Joker said it.
It does seem that way, sometimes.
Now, I’m not going to jump up and say “Men need to Man Up.” Frankly because we’ve tried that, a lot, and the only thing it’s done is get men more and more screwed. When the courts and laws are against you, where a woman can assault you, and you’re the one that goes to jail, or you’re raped (statutorily or otherwise) and then can be made to pay your rapist child support, simply because you are a man (something you can’t help any more than a woman can be being born a woman, or someone gay can help being gay), simply “stepping up and being a man” isn’t going to cut it.
We as a society are redefining what it means to be a man. Some want to take the rights and leave the responsibilities. Some think it best to act like nothing has changed. I think they need to butt out. Those who are making these choices seem to be our Parents and Grandparents, still trying to control our lives. But this is something our Generation, the New Generation, the one that’s had to sit back and have our music and our games bashed, and gotten to watch as our Parent’s generation controled who got to be popular on tv, movies, music, etc. Who get to be the ones to take on the massive debt, the social and political problems, and all the other bullshit that has been dropped on us for our future, while they keep fucking up the present and refusing to step aside and let us pick up and start taking charge. There’s more of them than there are of us, and they are living longer, and we may well be a generation of children made slaves to their parents until those parents die. And then we, who never got to change the world into our image, who are left with the desolation of theirs, where men were stripped of what it means to be men, and women were twisted and turned into vicious, selfish creatures who think nothing of others. And we, who have to live with their choices, we men, and women, will have to face these changes.
But it’s time we start facing them. Because letting them muddy the waters over and over, with stupid movies and telling us a thousand different answers to the questions in life, isn’t going to help anyone.