So a woman will look to be protected and the man wants to be her protector. If she finds it difficult to life heavy bags, he delights in doing so for her. And a thoughtful man is honored at being able to please his partner physically. So far so good? No.
I wonder if the explosive increase in vulgarity in music and the pencil stick female models that have accompanied the women's movement is due to men being insecure about their maleness.
First of all, why should men be so insecure? Here are some possible reasons:
- A man greatly defines himself by his occupation and earning power. His wife can now equal or outdo him.
- Machines have largely done away with his need to exert greater muscular strength. Most men are just flabby today, myself included.
- Women are trying to access the most macho and powerful careers in the military and in politics. Battlefronts are no longer a male only domain.
So if he's not needed for his mostly exclusive male-only contributions to the family's finances or for heavier physical labor, what is he essential for? If men and women share the same roles in society, in what way can he define himself as 'other'?
I will suggest that the reason for the increase in vulgarity in music is because men no longer feel the same level of self-respect. If you feel badly about yourself as a man, then why should women want to be with you? As a result, diminished men then 'hate' women for their independence. They create a whole dialogue where women are lowered to physical objects that are to be played with and used. And no doubt, inside these men's souls, they are further angered with themselves. The whole cycle goes from bad to worse. Furthermore, if a woman is a sexual being and she doesn't depend on 'her man', what's to stop her from leaving him and exerting her sexuality elsewhere? More reason for him to be fearful.
Whereas a man who is more secure in his relationship enjoys the femininity of his wife, those who are not secure may need to redefine femininity. The woman can become an object. He is therefore not worried about how loyal she is or how she views him. Alternatively, he may try to think of her as being dependent upon him by turning her into a child. Historically, as women advanced in their earning potential, models started showing up with fabric draping their bones. Shapeless arms and legs look prepubescent. But men are attracted to the form of a softer, rounder feminine body, so what to do? For many, the solution has become women boasting enlarged breasts, enhanced lips and implants in their bottoms. All on a tiny frame.
Today's female lead actress generally shows up all busty and financially independent but skinny. Her male counterpart looks like a gorilla with the type of physique that requires 6 hours a day in the gym. Not your typical guy.
Actually, there is an irony here. Look out at the real world. Obesity is hitting record levels and the discrepancy between the models and the typical person has never been greater. When Mr. or Mrs. Average look in the mirror, they do not see the glamour of Hollywood. The entertainment industry is there to provide the fantasy, the escape.
If these insights are valid and explain some of the social changes we see, can they help us attempt a definition of manhood that will be healthier to both men and women? I think so.
Consider these aspects of a couple:
- A woman needs a partner who will be emotionally strong, at least a good portion of the time. He can do this well.
- She also wants a partner who will be proud of her and join her in intimately sharing her fears and successes. He can also do this.
- A woman also wants her partner to find her physically pleasing. For men, that is a natural.
- She wants to be proud of her husband for having integrity and standing for what is right. He feels very manly when his wife is proud of him.
- A woman wants her partner to shoulder up to whatever is required to make her world work, everything from being a father to the children to doing the dishes if that's what's needed. For some men this is new and makes them feel effeminate. But being your wife's greatest support is very much appreciated by her.
What you don't see here is a reference to physical strength. Yes, a woman would like to feel safe because her spouse is near her. But she also needs so much more. Therefore men, instead of thinking that you need to degrade a woman so that she will need you, elevate and cherish your wife for who she is. She will no doubt adore and respect you. Yes, there may be exceptions, so you need to speak to your wife and find out what makes you manly in her eyes. Women may want to ask their husbands how to be more pleasing to them as well. Are you ready for the questions and the answers?
Men, you have an intrinsic worth to a woman, beyond your physical prowess. Be open, work to be successful at what you do, but mostly, be her best friend and supporter. Of course, it doesn't hurt if she also finds you attractive :-)