Article in the news today: http://www.thestar.com/article/86781...nd-take-charge
It’s time for men to man up and take charge
by Robert Cribb
I blame Air Supply.
And the entire male cast of Friends.
As a gender, the modern man has been socialized into bumbling submission.
Doting, indecisive and generally wimpy, too many of us have lost the ancient protocols of manhood.
Consider the basic proposition posed by Toronto writer Elliott Katz in his self-help guide for the whipped male called Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants: Our fathers, bewildered by the feminist revolution, have failed to hand down the kind of testosterone-laced wisdom that defined our gender throughout history.
That breaking of the chain has blurred the male social code beyond recognition.
What remains is a kind of wishy-washy modern malehood that has left men puzzled and women frustrated, says Katz.
“We mean well. But boys have grown up without strong role models. We think we’re being nice. But we’re shirking our responsibility.”
Himself included, says Katz, a divorced father of two whose book sprang from a kind of post mortem on his own marital identity.
“I tried to please. I thought, ‘If I could do what she wants, she would be happy.’”
So, he did.
He worked hard, provided for his family and tried to be accommodating.
“She seemed to know what she wanted and I figured I’ll do what she wants.”
And there’s the rub, he says.
Too many of us have handed over decision making to our wives and girlfriends on everything from the evening meal plans to RRSP contribution levels.
We relentlessly seek approval, defer, scurry to please and compromise endlessly to gain favour or peace.
In short, we are no longer leaders.
Bad call, says Katz.
“Leaving decisions to her is very frustrating for women. We all believe in gender equality. But you’re still the man and you have to take charge.”
Clear signs of the masculinity deficit emerged in the “sensitive new age guy” (SNAG) ’80s and ’90s and advanced to a contemporary state of near androgyny.
Our balls now come pre-busted.
Turn on any number of popular culture sitcoms – The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens, Yes, Dear, Two and a Half Men — and witness the spineless man on comedic display.
The laughs are on us.
For more biting social criticism, consider the Kevin Spacey character in the film American Beauty.
“Lester, could you make me a little later please because I’m not quite late enough,” his wife scolds condescendingly as he spills the contents of his briefcase on the way out the door one morning.
She’s the one driving the car.
“Both my wife and daughter think I’m this gigantic loser, and they’re right,” he narrates. “I have lost something. I’m not exactly sure what it is.”
Last week’s edition of Newsweek magazine featured a lengthy lament of modern masculinity summarized by this line: “To survive in a hostile world, guys need to embrace girly jobs and dirty diapers.”
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s recent book title asks the excruciatingly offensive question, Are Men Necessary?
And a recent essay in The Atlantic — provocatively titled “The End of Men” — reports that after being the dominant sex since the dawn of time, “that is changing — and with shocking speed.”
This role reversal – including the female eclipse of men in universities and the professional world — is all part of the bruising being sustained by the modern male ego.
It feeds our growing deference.
The only path left is personal responsibility, says Katz.
Breaking the cycle requires a new found manning-up philosophy, finding issues that aren’t being handled in a relationship and handling them, being more decisive and, in the end, reclaiming a connection to primal manhood.
And, as an aside, it wouldn’t kill you to banish from your music library any whiny men singing saccharine dirges about lost love. That crap is killing you inside.