Shows such as Mad Man, PanAm and The Playboy Club are teaching new generations about the rigid gender roles of the 1960s. It’s reminding those of us old enough to remember the Bad Old Days how grateful we should be that things have changed.
We know what we don’t want: rigidly prescribed roles in society that we have no say in creating. But what do we want? And how to we create it when we never had anyone modeling it?
We play at it first. We experiment taking on different roles. The last few decades of men exploring being more liberated brought us sensitive men, metrosexual men, and expressive men. After trying on new roles, we are narrowing our choices.
It is as if we are leaving our collective adolescence behind to settle down into being a man none of us saw. This is a man who retains the awareness the last 50 years brought, and the backbone to create the life we want for ourselves and our families.
A friend of mine, Ammi Midstokke, a former marketing executive in Europe, now mom and blogger wrote in her post – Androgyny vs. Equality: Maintaining Machismo in the Kitchen:
I believe that by requiring people to do things that are not in their nature, we essentially are reconfirming their failings on a regular basis. I am not talking about chronic laziness (I swear to cookies, Husband, if you quote me on laundry not being “in your nature” you’ll be doing yours for a year). I’m talking about emasculating men by requiring them to be more like women, or degrading them by complaining when they fail. I don’t often hear men asking us to be stronger or more callous or fall asleep after orgasms. So why do we expect them to use lotion and enjoy “Bridges of Madison County”?
How is your experiment going? As a man what role are you playing? If you are a woman, what do you see a man’s role being?