That sentence comes from an article by Janet Carlson, Author and Beauty & Health Director at Town & Country magazine. She writes about how the media is starting to look at men differently. Her position is that women, working to carve out their place, is causing men to feel left out.
The New York Times’ Magazine on October 21, is about women’s empowerment. Lisa Belkin, in her magazine article, Calling Mr. Mom writes: “Men today are at the turning point women reached several decades ago, when the joint demands of work and home first intensified.”
It is true that male dominance ruled for centuries. But now that paradigm is changing. Women for decades had a focus – freedom. Men continue to lose their focus. We aren’t the rulers we once were. As we stop fighting each other what do we do? Women’s focus on fighting for their rights is a great focus. What do men focus on?
It is much easier to fight against an enemy than for nonspecific change. A common enemy unites. Change is illusive as Obama discovered. As a tagline it is great, as a focus it is hard to hold. Our wars are not bringing that focus. Our economic crisis is not creating the needed focus, so as men we are at a loss.
Now that our user’s manual was taken away – what do we do? Who is writing it? We tried to use the women’s manual they wrote. That didn’t work. In her last paragraph Carlson says,
So give a guy a break. Or give him a clue… I’ve come to believe that compassion leads me to a better place where anger isn’t corroding my internal organs… Instead of criticizing men for behaving badly or not evolving in the “right” ways, I think now’s the time to rewrite the manual. Let’s hope they’ll read that.
It feels good to read that yet another woman is no longer viewing men as her enemy. In some ways that makes it harder for us. We can’t be victims to women’s wrath any longer. We can’t fight that enemy either. What do we do?
I could have used a manual on how to be a man. In spite of a very loving father who significantly moved manhood further along from where his father brought it, something was missing. Seeing women change and become powerful in their own right made me jealous. I wanted my own identity as a man and as a gender.
My desire and the collective need got me off my ass to write the book, Grow Up Men, 9 Ssteps to Being a Man. From my thirty years of working with men and fifteen of leading men groups I learned a few things. But it was actually recognizing, and then healing my Asperger’s Syndrome and dyslexia that taught me to grow up. You know how it is; you learn best when you have to take a thing a part to fix it, and then put it back together.
I learned that both men and women often grow up in environments of trauma or stress preventing natural maturation. Men particularly had limited role models. From not being in the best learning environment and not having the teachers we needed, we often taught ourselves. More than an user’s manual we need a training manual. I hope to release that manual in the near future.