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Old 04-02-2012, 10:40 AM   #1
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The Descent of Man: Are men going the way of the dodo?

I recently did an article for my site commenting on the decline of the masculine man by and large in society, and has earned me a shocking number of emails from people who agree or disagree. Question is, what do you folks think? Is masculinity going to go the way of the dodo and disco?
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:49 AM   #2
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No.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:51 AM   #3
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Masculinity?

I find that men from my generation are less likely to be assholes. Namely, because they don't have a wife that depends on them monetarily, so therefore, puts up with their crap. I guess on the flip side, guys don't exactly feel the need to hold down a full-time job all the time to support 2.5 kids at home. Men still hold down masculine jobs though - the truck drivers, farmers, electricians, plumbers, etc are all still out there. Maybe it's good that hipsters are allowed to do as they wish, instead of having society tell them that they need to get married, work at the plant, and watch the news every night...

I don't see a problem with this change.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:52 AM   #4
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in certain cultures perhaps...watch a few commercials and you will see that the north american white male is a shlubby thing regularly having eyes rolled at him...
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:53 AM   #5
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I'd give you my opinion, but I'm sure it's too girly for you to give it much weight.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:03 AM   #6
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Took a look at your link. Saw a whole lot of sweeping generalizations, melodramatic doomsaying and complaining about pop culture figures.
You do realize that John Wayne was an actor, right?

I'm sorry but what on earth makes your definition of "man" the only correct one?
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:05 AM   #7
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I find that men from my generation are less likely to be assholes.
I still encounter asshole-ish guys, but that's another story. Though assholes can be found amongst both sexes.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:13 AM   #8
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I almost find modern society comparable to when certain chimps split from the main and formed the bonobos, males becoming less chest poundy and females rising in status, it's thought because the chimps had so much resources they weren't competing as much or something.

Relationships wise, it seems the really traditional guys end up with the really traditional girls, and the modern guys end up with the modern girls who more meet in the middle, sharing power, consensus decisions etc. And then there's the freak reversals, dominant women and submissive men, it happens.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:35 AM   #9
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I would say there is some truth to what you're saying, but here's my unscientific take.

1. The change in the economy from being manufacturing/industrial based to service/knowledge based. It used to be that any man could get a good job by heading to the local factory right after high school. That's not the case anymore, and a lot of men that would historically fill blue collar jobs, are finding themselves exiled from the economy (e.g. a lot of the guys who have no college degree/trade/education). This has in turn, create a large group of disenfranchised, and directionless men that are dropping into apathy.
2. Women entering the market. Back in the 50s or 60s, probably 80% of the economy was a boys only club, and in those days skills were in more demand simply because we were keeping women from upping competition levels for jobs (e.g. we needed doctors because of a growing population, and because men were almost exclusively the only doctors, more men could easily get into the profession). Now we can see how foolish it was, to relegate women to the home, from an economic perspective (why would you purposefully limit your talented workforce?). However, this has overall increased the level of talent required to secure a good paying job, and in turn has eliminated perhaps half of the available slots that used to be exclusively for men in many professions.
3. The destruction of the nuclear family. The nuclear family isn't necessarily a realistic ideal, however it did create a system that forced men into positions of responsibility at young ages (most people got married in their early 20s). Because of this social pressure, prolonged bachelorhood was looked down upon, and this forced men to have to grow up early. With the removal of this type of social pressure, and the fact that only a minority of americans in more recent generations experienced anything resembling a nuclear family (e.g. mom staying at home as a housewife, etc.), more men are choosing to pursue their own interests as opposed to starting families.


The thing that concerns me, the most is #1. I do wonder what's going to happen when you've got millions of unemployed/limited skill set men, who have limited or no prospects in the economy/society.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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The thing that concerns me, the most is #1. I do wonder what's going to happen when you've got millions of unemployed/limited skill set men, who have limited or no prospects in the economy/society.
The same thing that happened when technology increased productivity and decreased the amount of work required in any field throughout the entirety of human history.

Vast improvements in standards of living.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:00 PM   #11
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Yaaaa...okay. I read your article and all I saw were two classes of guys: The knuckle-dragging studs and the effeminates, Metrosexuals, or whatever you want to call them.

Maybe men are less like assholes these days as someone referred to in a previous post but that doesn't mean they're less masculine. Today's guy is more likely to help his wife around the house and help raise the children, put in a full day's work, watch football and have a few beers with his friends...same as thirty-something years ago, except for the 'helping around the house and raise children' bit.

IMO, your article is full of generalizations. If you're disappointed in today's current crop of guys, try looking outside your social circle. (That isn't meant to be snide--maybe you haven't found the guy you're looking for).
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:32 PM   #12
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Masculinity =/ men. Masculinity, like femininity, has changed with time, and can differ depending on culture.

Masculinity has changed, but I wouldn't say this is a bad thing. There are good and bad things. But I think it's also important to remember that the image of masculinity put forth by popular culture isn't universal. The men of the 1960s were not a bunch of James Bonds and Don Drapers. The men of today are not all a bunch of Seth Rogens.

It's also important to remember that there's some tendency to romanticize the past.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:46 PM   #13
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Women can take control if they want. I don't even like to drive that much. I'd much prefer to sit in the passenger seat and stare out the window.

Masculinity died when I was born.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:34 PM   #14
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Is masculinity going to go the way of the dodo and disco?
And polio? Smallpox? Hanging, drawing and quartering? Yes, and good riddance to it.

Your version at least. Some of us can express our feelings, cry occasionally, maybe even bathe and still manage to be masculine. And without being obnoxious assholes. I know, crazy right?

/edit: Oh, and Zoombie? Love the new avatar.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:41 PM   #15
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You mean men like.......









<-----------------------------------------------------------this?






God, I hope not.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:43 PM   #16
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What is masculinity? Is it refusing to wear make-up, keeping short, military-cropped hair, growing stubble? Is it chivalry? Putting women on a pedestal? Is it a lack of interest in feminine things? Is it fucking around? Beating your wife? Not letting her have a job? Being heterosexual? Drinking beer? Being into sports? Fighting?

Why are these good things? Why should they be preserved?

My man is quite manly. He's secure in himself and his ego, grounded, realistic in his goals, he doesn't allow his emotions to control him and strives to be better than he is. He is protective of his loved ones, polite, caring, generous to those around him and assumes the best in people. He has a dominant and engaging personality. He also hates sports, has hair longer than mine, occasionally wears make-up, feels comfortable in skirts and dresses, welcomes LGBTQ people into his life without feeling uncomfortable or "threatened", believes in progressive ideals regarding women's rights, race issues, etc, and happily does his share of the housework. And he's cried in my arms until he's fallen asleep, on more than one occasion. Oh, and he's a pacifist.

So is he masculine, or not? Why are the traits I mentioned for him in the first half of that paragraph seen as masculine? Surely those are positive traits for anyone to have. Are the best aspects of masculinity irrelevant unless he drinks brand-name lager and hoots at the TV when the footie is on? Do his long nails and hair cancel out his beard?

Which aspects of masculinity do you feel are being lost? And why does that mean that men, as a group, are dying out? Why are those aspects of masculinity the most important ones, and why do we define them as masculine traits?
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:58 PM   #17
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Pardon me for being harsh and unmacho.

The cultural attitudes being defined as masculine here, which I usually call being macho are the attitudes of teenage boys. That pushy, trying to assert power, playing king of the hill sort of thing. The 'alpha male' idea. That's biologically unsound among other things since our species doesn't have a biggest horns means being the only one who gets to mate.

In any case. At the core of this attitude is a combination of fear, pride, and an unwillingness to see women as human beings worthy of individual respect.

What some call losing masculinity, I call growing up.
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:39 PM   #18
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Masculinity is a fashion. Like any fashion, the idea of what it is changes over time.
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:41 PM   #19
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Yeah. This sort of attitude seems to be backed by two unspoken fears:

1: Men have no worth except for that displayed by how macho they are.

2: Femininity and masculinity are at odds with one another. When one gains, the other loses.

Both are dead wrong and harmful lines of thought to men and women alike.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:09 PM   #20
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:16 PM   #21
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You do realize that John Wayne was an actor, right?
Who's real name was Marion, no less...
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:31 PM   #22
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So the re-ascent of Man itself is dependent upon preserving the role of the white American male?
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:12 PM   #23
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:21 PM   #24
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Well, statistically speaking, if you want to find the pattern male, he'd be wearing a turban, own sheep, and speak some Mongol-Asian-Indian language.

That makes it kind of hard to reconcile that with being a 1940s Hollywood creation like Humphrey Bogart. The pattern man lives in a yurt and drinks yak milk beer.

I'm lactose intolerant, so I fall through the male cracks immediately there.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:29 PM   #25
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(e.g. we needed doctors because of a growing population, and because men were almost exclusively the only doctors, more men could easily get into the profession.
That's a very skewed and myopic view. When I was applying to Med School, there were 37 applicants for each available slot. I wouldn't exactly call that, "easy." Although there were some misogynists on interview committees here and there, the real reason so few women got into medicine was that they didn't meet the qualifications, AND apply for med school. You can have the most brilliant woman ever, but if she didn't apply, then she didn't get in. In the same way, if she didn't take the hard sciences in high school and then in college, she wounldn't qualify. Medicine has generally been far more meritocracy based than most professions.
I would however agree that the academia path that lead up to med school did have pervasive misogyny which was throughout the culture, but that's not med school or life as a physician.
Your analogy would however work for boards of directors of financial institutions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
Pardon me for being harsh and unmacho.

The cultural attitudes being defined as masculine here, which I usually call being macho are the attitudes of teenage boys. That pushy, trying to assert power, playing king of the hill sort of thing. The 'alpha male' idea. That's biologically unsound among other things since our species doesn't have a biggest horns means being the only one who gets to mate.

In any case. At the core of this attitude is a combination of fear, pride, and an unwillingness to see women as human beings worthy of individual respect.

What some call losing masculinity, I call growing up.
I think you're giving them too much credit. It's more like 6 year olds mentally, in adult bodies.

Last edited by GeorgeK; 04-02-2012 at 05:38 PM.
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