The Modern Men

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The Modern Men’s Movement Essay, Research Paper The Modern Men’s Movement The 1970’s saw the intensification of the feminist movement as a social, moral, and political force in the American arena. They focused their attention on the systematic oppression of women in politics and business. They were attacking male chauvinism, dominance, and a social system that relegated females to household duties. By most standards, the feminist movement has been successful in nearly all of its endeavors. The result, however, has left the American male uncertain of his own role in not only the dating arena, but the business, marriage, and society in general. All the things that once made a man desirable now make him the enemy of the advancement of women. The result has been a

reactionary ?Male? movement. Though not as prominent in the media or politics the feminine counterpart, it has garnered a rather loyal following through the 1980’s and 1990’s. It focuses not on men’s rights, but functions more as a male bonding experience that educates and enlightens men about their new roles. ?Created in the mid 1980’s, the Mythopoetic men’s movement emanates from the works of Robert Bly. His view is that the men’s role has lost direction. The men’s gatherings are to reconstruct a valid male initiation and role model.? (Schocke) This male movement has been cautiously encouraged by women’s groups. Most realize the new pressures being exerted on men by the changes in society and recognize a male movement as a means to finding the new balance. “I

believe that ‘we’, I.e. men and women, need a “men’s movement” in the sense of men that have come to understand the evils of patriarchy … These are men who are prepared to work in harmony with women to create a new society liberated from patriarchy.” (Hagan, 14) Women want and need the men’s movement as bad or worse then men do. The entire point of the feminist movement is to change men. Though not overtly stated as such, the promotion of women must occur in men’s thoughts to happen in a society initially run by men. They must encourage men to not only bond with each other, but to reconstruct their mindset in a way more appropriate to the new social structure. That is exactly the point of the men’s movement. It is important here to distinguish between

different factions of the men’s movement. There are more than a few, but most fall into one of two categories. The smaller, less important group deals with their frustration in a non-directed physical bonding manner. They have gone so far as to assume initiation and celebration rituals similar to those of Native American culture. The larger group, including feminists and male liberationists, believe in feminization of the male character. “Masculinity distorts an individual’s nature. It puts him out of touch with his emotions. Men do not cry. They do not touch each other. They do not form real friendships. They are too silent. They are aggressive, achievement oriented, competitive bullies.” (Stearns, 179) Stearns goes on to assert that by assuming more feminine emotional

and social traits that allow more healthy relationships. The problems with male-hood have not arisen as a result of men’s complacency, but the sudden rapid change in the status of women. ?Men may be less responsible for female dissatisfaction than women’s inability to find the family an adequate substitute for traditional child bearing.? (Stearn, 163) Suddenly, in the last decade, the role of the man has become uncertain. In the 1950’s and 60’s, men were the breadwinners. A man brought to the marriage the capability of support. The woman brought to the marriage the home and children. Now, the women also bring in the money and the man has become an optional part of the family. Women can now become successful on their own and children become a burden. The man ends up