For centuries, Western society has propagated several stereotypes of “manly” men. The “average Joe” is the plaid-shirt wearing, blue collar worker with a beer in one hand and the remote control in the other. The “rugged man” likes to rough it in the great outdoors, camping on the weekends and organizing a football league with his neighbors. The “successful business man” rolls up his sleeves and works his way to the top, staying late in the office and bringing his work home on the weekends. With different personalities and preferences, these men all have one thing in common: they fit the stereotype of a traditional male.
In its September 27 issue, Newsweek Magazine ran an article entitled, “Men’s LIB.” Highlighting the various roles that men play in society, the article advocated for the redesign of masculinity at home and work.
Although many men volunteer to do the dishes after dinner, the article claims that the distribution of home life responsibilities is still off balance. According to the article, “The average wife still does roughly double the housework of the average husband: the equivalent of two full workdays of additional chores each week. Even when the man is unemployed, the woman handles a majority of the domestic workload, and it’s the same story with child care. If both parents are working, women spend 400 percent more time with the kids.”
The authors propose a solution to reverse this trend: policy change. Citing international examples such as Sweden and Germany, they suggest that the United States implement policy changes regarding paternity-leave legislation. Referring to the legislation pass in Sweden, the article says, “If a man refuses time at home with the kids, he faces questions from friends, family, and, yes, other guys. Policy changes produced personal changes—and then, slowly but surely, society changes as well.”
The battle of redesigning masculinity doesn’t just take place within the home, but throughout the workforce. For decades, men have flocked to typically-male jobs. However, the job titles that are expected to grow the most in the next few years, such as teachers and nurses, are mostly dominated by women. As the articles states, “The coming employment gap represents a huge opportunity for working class guys—and for the families they’re struggling to support. The problem is that men, unlike many women, still feel limited to a narrow range of acceptable masculine roles—a range that hasn’t kept pace with the changing employment landscape.”
The authors advocate for the redesigning of masculinity as matter of necessity. As society has altered and progressed over the years, the image of the typical male should have too, but it didn’t. The female icon has transitioned from June Cleaver to Hilary Clinton, whereas the male image has remained at Archie Bunker.
The article concludes, “Ultimately, the New Macho boils down to a simple principle in a changing world, men should do whatever it takes to contribute their fair share at home and at work, and schools, policy-makers, and employers should do whatever they can to help them. After all, what’s more masculine: being a strong, silent, unemployed absentee father, or actually fulfilling your half of the bargain as a breadwinner and a dad?”
To read the full article, click here.
The Men’s Divorce Law Firm strongly believes and supports the continuing evolution of the role of men both in their domestic and career capacities.