Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Working on being a man pt.11

This is one of many parts in the ongoing series of working on being a man. They aren't in any special order I just number them to keep up with them.

Have things been tough for men in the past? Yep. Are things really tough on men these days. Yes. Are the odds insurmountable? Hell no.

I've been thinking about a post on this for a while and I got a bit of extra motivation from Hugo so I decided to go with it now.

You see in the past when faced with adversity men displayed an amazing ability for overcoming it.

Coming over to the New World and setting up shop in a time when disease was rampant, living conditions were harsh, and help was months away at best? I think we can say those men handled business. But all was not perfect.

That whole Frontier era when men were striking out into the unknown? We survived.

The early days of the Industrial Revolution?
You already know the answer. Men adapted just fine.
I wouldn't say just fine but I'll get to that in a bit.

In these hard times men are met with a pretty serious challenge. Unlike those previous examples where the belief that men are only useful as low end labor and are disposable were held firmly in place this time around things have shaken up. And with that shaking something comes out in the harsh light of day. A myth.

As Hugo suggests there is a myth of male inflexibility at work. That there are forces at work that leave men in a position of thinking that they cannot change with the times as needed. There is some truth to that. Those forces create and depend on that illusion to keep men in the limited places they have been for ages. Why? For their own gain and power of course (which is why I find it odd when I'm suddenly represented by the likes of Donald Trump and Bill Gates just because I got an X and Y on the Chromosome Dice Roll like they did).

Well the trick is that this myth has been shaken up by the fact that these tough times have shown that toiling away in a factory to make ends meet, risking dying in a mine for the kids, or ignoring one's own health to finish that construction job to put food on the table are no longer the only options that men have. Not only because women are stepping up but because the times don't allow for it now, those ways are dying out. A lot of the jobs that were lost were in areas where men were pretty much relegated to (via believing the myth that that was their place) and a lot of those jobs are not coming back. This is where a piece of traditional masculinity actually comes in handy. Being able to make it against the odds. Yeah things a bit tricker now. The old ways of getting tough are not there anymore, the forces and people that would like for us to stay in our place are still there, and we have to forge ahead.

So the old ways are fading. New ways must be found. Our forefathers found new ways. We can do the same.