The past few days have been a bit emotional and I want to dial that back a bit but stay relevant to the ongoing discussion we have been having. The other day a close friend of mine asked me if I thought men were made villains in popular society. As we discussed the question it got me thinking about how we define what a man should and should not be.
The first image that popped into my head was the 50’s Ward Cleaver stereotype. Dad works all week to provide for the family and spends the weekend doing yard work, working on the car, or watching the game. As a result of equal rights movements that have been ongoing since the 50’s I think this image has become as hated as it is respected.
The next image that enters my mind is the dad from the sitcoms of the 90’s that I grew up on. Think of Tim Taylor from Home Improvement. In many ways he is much like the earlier idea; he provides for his family, does the yard work, spends his free time in the garage or watching the game. However, he is also emotionally handicapped and often times portrayed as being flat out stupid. He is a bit of a goof that would most likely be helpless without his wife guiding him through things.
While comparing these two images of a man I do not know that I would say I think men are villains necessarily but I do think they are commonly portrayed as being idiots in modern times. This topic is highly charged based on a history filled with ignorance and oppression, so knocking the image of men down a peg is understandable.
The difficulty of the issue is that there is some value in the traditional idea of what a man should be, but at the same time there is much more that needs to be considered. For example, teaching men that it is ok to have emotions other than being angry or horny. I also feel that we need to separate the idea of being a man from sexuality. Whether gay or straight what it means to be a man should be the same.
If you have been reading me recently you know my position on “normal”. I absolutely feel that our ideas of gender need to evolve as we do as a society. Although, the history major in me also sees value in the ideas of the past, so in my mind the best resolution must come from a complete view on the subject.
There are my two cents on the subject. How about yours?