09 February, 2009

It's a Different World

Oh, how much money I would make if I could actually and reliably, unravel the male mind!!  Who needs a love potion when you can understand why men behave as they do and why they say the things they say.  Seriously, the male way of thinking boggles the mind – probably not as much as the female way of thinking but… we are not talking about women here, are we?  And we are speaking in very general terms in regards to men. 

I think it has to be challenging to be a man in the 21st century.  It is challenging enough to be a woman as we are no longer required to stay at home but have so many choices before us – futures that we determine in many more ways than ever in our past.  However, what happened to men when women gained the ability to choose to work or stay home – to become educated – to not have kids – to have kids without men, by choice?

As the 21st century has evolved, the role of the man has changed, altered, morphed, perhaps become marginalized?  I mean, ladies, honestly, what do we need men for anymore?  We bring home our own bacon, take care of our own homes, and carefully select our children’s genes… where does man fit?

We need the male mind and all that it contributes.  And some of us don’t mind the physical attributes either.

As women adapt and change to the new world they are building for themselves, I have to wonder if men are doing the same.  Are men looking around them at the new opportunities and considering their options?  They no longer are asked to be the primary bread winners.  No longer are they required to take a back seat in the raising of their kids or the running of the family – deferring these responsibilities due to work requirements.

Men have this amazing chance to redefine themselves, their role in the family, and their place in society.  Men are not an obsolete entity because we, as women, can do it all on our own.  But I am not sure if they have figured out where they belong in this new century; I am not sure they have realized the choices they have and the changes they can make; and I am not sure that they are aware that they have the opportunity to define themselves over allowing women the courts, society, and history to do it for them.

Generations of men have taken care of their families financially.  That was the role of the man in the house – he provided and protected.  This mentality might hold true today in many cases as we watch to ensure that men, in particular, buckle down and provide for their family.  But what if the man doesn’t?    A man flits from job to job making little money while his wife stays home and takes care of the kids.  He just doesn’t know what he wants to do professionally.  He changes jobs, family lives off credit, and those around watch and wonder how it is working.  The feeling is one that I understand fully (as can many of us) and yet, there is a need to buckle down to provide and protect your family.  Man or woman, it no longer matters who does the providing or the protecting.  But if a man doesn’t see this as his role… what is his role?  Where does he fit?

There are some men who embrace the choices that they now have.  My dad stayed at home with my brother for a few years while my mom worked.  Mike works hard professionally and is his son’s biggest fan and advocate.  David strives to follow his own dreams and loves being able to spend afternoons with his kids.  These dads are defining their roles in society over allowing women and society to determine what role they will play.  But is this something men, in general, are doing? 

Have men and dads embraced the opportunities that the 21st century provides?  Are they ready for their own sexual revolution?  Are they ready to throw in the towel and say “enough is enough” and strive for the life balance that they desire?  Ready to be a larger part of their kids lives?  Ready to force society to change how it views the role of the man, the dad, even the unmarried dad?  And are women ready to support the new roles of men and dads?  Are we ready to give up parts of our defined and traditional world to allow men to share in that world?


mama llama said...

Interesting, TE. I have seem a lot of men around here decide, with their wives, to be the stay-at-home parent so their wives can work out of the home. They are willing to push "tradition" aside and take a risk, that might make them feel marginalized but then again...might not. It has to be such a rewarding feeling to those men to have such an active, full-time role in the raising of their children, perhaps something their own fathers could not offer them

Then there are those who can't seem to get it. So involved in the way things are "supposed" to be, defined by generations before, that any deviance is practically going against the will of God. And I see a lot of that, too.

So it depends on the man, I think. It is refreshing to see shared roles and women having to respect a man's need to have a little time away from the kids and develop their own interests as well--the spectrum is varied and the perspectives do all of us a lot of good to see.

Be well, TE.

Mike said...

That's going to take a long time. Men have no teachers to pave the path for them. Nor do men group together to solve situations. Prostate cancer kills the same amount or not more than breast cancer kills a year. However testing and treatment are now becoming the norm while breast cancer treatment has been the norm for decades. Why? Women come together. So don't hold your breath on men changing until there is a fourth color to choose in suits.

dadshouse said...

If sexual revolution means I'll finally get laid on a regular basis, I'm all for it! :-)

On a serious note, this is a thought provoking post. I actually don't feel I am defining my own role as much as you might think. I still co-parent with my ex. We still make choices for the kids together. I still have to provide and protect in my own home. etc.

I do think when men are stay-at-home dads, they are redefining roles big time. I tried to go that route, and my wife at the time didn't want me to!