Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Changing views on Masculinity.

The article I chose to look at for this week is Why We Need To Re-imagine Masculinity written by Matt Sayles on the website Newsweek. It can be found here.

This article is rather quite interesting as it deals with the decline of masculinity in America, through the loss of masculine jobs that is greatly effecting the way men see themselves. Throughout the article it states how masculinity in America is being effected, not only by loss of jobs, women bringing in more money, but also on how men themselves are reluctantly changing the way they lead their lives. The challenges of American masculinity is quite clear in this article as it says that "As the U.S. economy has transitioned from brawn to brain over the past three decades, a growing number of women have gone off to work. Men’s share of the labor force has declined from 70 percent in 1945 to less than 50 percent today, and in the country’s biggest cities, young, single, childless women—that is, the next generation—earn 8 percent more than their male peers." This is suggesting that economy isn't held up by the blue collar jobs that men have been doing anymore. It seems that as time goes on, economies and businesses are looking for jobs where it doesn't tax you physically but taxes your ability in working through problems.
It is also suggesting that men are losing out to women, who are seemingly more of the labor force. Men losing out to women isn't really a masculine thing, thus there is concern for the masculinity of American men.

The article also goes onto say that paternal leave is necessary for men to take. It states that America is one of the few countries that does not support a paid paternal leave for men, the article also suggests that men who do not take paternal leave are most likely losing out in the long run. It also pairs this with housework, with women doing 400 percent more than the male, even if he is unemployed. The article says "
All told, most new fathers take off two weeks or less for a new child, no matter what. Baby time is simply not seen as masculine." This is clearly saying that men who look after their own children, or take time off for them seem not to be included in being part of the masculine men who work at all times.

The article then goes onto state that, masculine jobs are now much harder to come across than before. However many new jobs are being put out, with such jobs as teachers, nurses, home health aides and customer service reps (which are mostly occupied by females) most likely will not be filled by men, seeing as they can still only see that men should fill a narrow range of jobs that are acceptable for men. The article suggests that these challenges of masculinity are mostly the inability of current men to change their own opinions of what is acceptable for men to do. The article finishes with this point "
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," which is rather true. The last line of the article suggests that it doesn't matter what a man does for work, as long as he is a strong father figure for the next generation, "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?"

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