Student or Learner
The traditional roles of men and women were established to ensure the power of the head of household. Historically speaking, that head of household was always male. But the rapidly developing world has brought about many changes into the traditional roles of both men and women. We have been socialized to expect men to be brave, industrious and domineering, whereas women have been expected to be submissive, timid and nurturing. Nowadays, however, women do not have to rely on their husbands anymore to provide a financial support for the home and in many cases they become breadwinners and head of the home themselves. Thus, these changes have resulted in male losing his image and ego as the dominant gender in society.
First of all, it is not possible to talk about the changing role of men without mentioning the transformation that the female role has come through. The contemporary social situation was caused in large degree by women anticipation and making them more “equal” to men. Females are not forced to stay at home nursing children and making diners, they are free to go to work and pursue a successful career. And even if a woman chances to bear a child, now she is encouraged to return to work as early as possible and in fact reproved if she does not. Therefore, in many cases men are expected to take over the duties of a housewife. Before long, it is men who do the everyday laundry, it is men who prepare children for school and pick them up afterwards, it is men who cook dinners and sew a button onto a worn out shirt. Especially if the woman’s career happens to be more successful and profitable. Hence, the purpose of men as the 'alpha male', provider and protector within the family unit and the community as a whole, has become obscured and belittled. The vision between roles of men and women became blurred, leaving modern men in state of bewilderment.
It is also key to look at the way in which the role of man as strong and masculine has become cliché. On the one hand, the stereotype of a strong, hunky, masculine man straight from the Marlboro advertisements falls into decline. Brutal, strong and ruthless men were long ago vigorously condemned. However, the new type of a man – gentle, sensitive, caring, grooming himself, not being afraid of giving vent to his feelings, a man who, when in need, will put on his shoulders the burden of taking care of house and children – still evokes mixed feelings due to making the impression of being too feminine. There are however opinions that men simply live up to the women’s expectations. The survey carried out last year asked men what it means to be a man in the 21st century, and “more than half think that society tries to feminize them, turning them into waxed and coiffed metrosexuals, and 52 per cent say that men have to live according to women's rules.” In the 90s the perception of a man was changing more than ever. The androgynous look was desired, and models who displayed womanly characteristics had more jobs than those looking like Brad Pitt. On account of that more and more males were following the trend of metrosexualism. Recently, it has been taken into extremes, where wearing a pink jumper is not perceived gay anymore, but rather as a manifestation of masculinity. Only men who do not show an exaggerated concern for their manliness and feel self-confident are not afraid to see themselves in pink.
But it is not only the fashion trend that pushes men to pay more attention to their appearance, getting their nails polished by professional beauticians, or to step into shoes of “the lady of the house.” It is in fact the lack of proper male models to copy. Let’s face it. Schools, places on which the life of every adolescent focuses, are overcrowded with female teachers. Thus, unlike their female peers, and during their formative developmental period, the young males have little opportunity to experience positive male role models. In consequence, when seeking some ideal to conform to boys tend to choose the person that guides them throughout most of their lives, and who unsurprisingly often happens to be the mother. Accordingly, men are desperately needed in all aspects of society to provide the male perspective.
The blurred vision between the roles of men and women as well as more tolerant and modern society allowed women to take up jobs which were in the past years reserved only for men, and reversely. Men also go for jobs earmarked for women, such as dancers, hairdressers, even beauticians, and very often happen to be very successful. This does not mean that they are gay or effeminate. This is just another aspect of the evolution of society and meeting the needs of professional tolerance.
All in all, the male role has not changed drastically in contemporary society. Looking from the angle of functionality, it is men in who we rest our hopes for holding power and solving everyday life issues. For this reason the majority of population still considers men the only breadwinners even though the reality evolved to the extent that is not necessarily true. Men's behavior has changed, their lifestyles as well, and their roles might also have gone some major transformations. But none of that matters, after all, sensitive, vulnerable women will always need beside them a shoulder to cry on.
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