From creating new males studies curriculum on college campuses across the country to the ravenous consumption of the book “The Art of Manliness” to the new “retrosexual” styles of Mad Men hitting the store front windows, it seems the United States is experiencing a menaissance, a term cleverly coined by CNN.
According to its advocates, this menaissance is not only the reclaiming of the biological essence of what it is to be a man but also the social quintessence of manliness. Not only does this menaissance want men to again be proud of their body hair and body odor but it also wants them to be wants them to reclaim their position at the head of the table, board room and society.
Meninists say young men today are confused where their position in society lies; they are confused how to grow up into “real men.” The solution is to look back 50 years to the glory days of the 50’s and 60s when men turned 18, put on a skinny tie and became a man.
Unfortunately, menists are looking back at the good ole days with baby-blue-colored glasses, and unable to see the dysfunction the dichotomy between men and women in the glory days created in the family and in the work place. With so much pressure to provide for their families, men worked themselves to early heart attacks. With out an outlet for their emotions, men became detached from their wives and children. And let’s not forget that with the only option to be a women-impregnating male species, gay men were at best marginalized and at worst killed.
Of course, let us not forget where women stand in this menaissance. For men to be ‘men,’ women must become the opposite. If men are to wear pants, women must wear skirts. If men are to be the bread winner, women must be the baby makers. If men are to be strong and emotionless, women must be weak and hysterical. As uncool as feminism might be right now, there is no way women are giving up their right to pants, executive positions and respect.
Having a strict dichotomy between genders made life easier in many ways. People knew what was expected of them; they knew what their life lot was. But it was not the most productive society we could have, we did not utilize all our talents and in the end we were not as happy as we could have been. Strict dichotomies are fine for paper but in real life , they force people to live lies.
The solution for society to progress is never to look back. If young men want to grow up, perhaps they should look less to an AMC series and more to their own fathers or father-figures, real men who grew up without the aid of a menaissance. Become a man or a woman has much less to do with what you wear, where you work, how much money you make and much more to do with your ability to take responsibility for yourself, make your own life decisions which god-willing are not in lined with the stereotype plot line of the 60’s.