I happened to catch the segment on the Daily Show about the “mancession” and related matters. This reminded me of the various “men” movements that have sprung up over the years and how damn silly they are. But first, I will look at some serious issues.
One concern that I have written about before is that men have become the minority in higher education. Naturally, there are some academic branches that are still male dominated. However, the general college population is now predominately female. Interestingly, the feminists who were so very loud when women were the minority are now silent about the plight of men. This situation is, of course, as much a matter of concern as when women were the minority.
Another concern is the matter of economics. The unemployment rate for men is higher than for women and there are indications that women might very well out earn men soon. Economic equality is a good thing (read Mary Wollstonecraft‘s Vindication of the Rights of Women for an excellent argument) and hence we should be as worried about men as we were about women.
If arguments are wanted as to why we should be concerned about the situation that men are facing, we can simply dust off the old feminist arguments for equality and equal opportunity. Naturally, men are still doing well in many ways: men still dominate politics, business and higher education. However, it is wise to be concerned that men might be facing some of the same problems that women faced (and still do).
Now, switching to something less serious: males trying to be men.
The segment I saw on the Daily Show showed males trying to be men by going out into the woods, passing around a talking stick, and speaking about their feelings.
As I see it, joining a male group to cure one’s lack of manliness is like going to a bar to cure alcoholism. Clearly, a male who is passing around a talking stick or standing in a circle to talk about his feeling is hardly a man at all.
I am not saying that a male needs to chug beer, hoot at women, and kill wild animals with his bare hand in order to be a man. I’m just saying that participating in male groups of this sort won’t make a male into a man. In fact, they would seem to clean out any residue manliness the male might have left.
So, what is the way to be a man? There are actually many ways, despite the stereotype of there being just one way. I’ll leave this as an exercise for the reader.