The Changing role of men in Western culture
In a post-modern world lacking clear-cut borders and distinctions, it has been difficult to know what it means to be a man and even harder to feel good about being one. The many boundaries of a gendered world built around the opposition of work and family--production versus reproduction, competition versus cooperation, hard vs. soft--have been blurred, and men are groping in the dark for their identity.
Overwhelmingly, the portrayal of men and male identity in contemporary western societies is mostly negative. Men today are extensively demonized, marginalized and objectified, in a way reminiscent of what happened to women. The issue of the male identity is of crucial importance because males are falling behind in school, committing more suicides and crimes, dying younger and being treated for conditions such as ADHD more than females. There has been a rise in divorce rates where in most cases, child custody is granted to mothers. Continuous negative portrayal of men in the media, along with the feminization of men and loss of fatherhood in society, has caused confusion and frustration in younger generation males, as they do not have a specific role model and are less able to define their role in society.
Boys are seriously under-achieving in public schools in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, according to several recent research studies. Men now comprise barely 40% of enrolled University and College students and graduates.
What is the effect of male stereotypes?
What external pressures promote male stereotypes?
How does society confine males to particular masculine character profiles?
What’s the risk of ignoring just how mistaken our ideas about gender are?