The roles of men haven’t changed. Men are still expected to bring home the bacon, protect their families, be in charge of their family destiny and participate in society in a dominant role guiding their offspring to the most successful outcomes possible.
However: Society as a whole has changed while the perspective of men’s roles has not. Society has deemed it improper to kill other social groups, other religion’s members, to prevent other groups from having opportunities which could benefit them while making one’s own life more challenging due to this constant change.
Technology’s advances since the Industrial Age have all but destroyed the nature of men as the primary provider. Mechanization meant women were completely capable of participating in society more equally because when education was equal and training were equal, the outcomes of the Industrial Age also became equal.
The differences men enjoyed under the Agricultural Age where men’s physical strength was a significant advantage, especially where warfare was concerned, as well as the socialized idea of protecting women from danger because they are the progenitors of the species, meant women were unable to participate in much of what society had to offer because men used their stature to oppress women (for a good reason, or so the excuse goes).
The very nature of gendered roles in an Information Age society has been rendered meaningless. With few exceptions, the truth of our civilization, whether sub-societies are willing to accept this is: Women are equal in every significant way to men. They have all the capacities men have enjoyed for centuries and they are unwilling to return to sitting at home and giving birth to children as their primary role.
And society is better for it.
But the converse is also true: Men, who have due to the opportunities they gave themselves, enjoyed dominance over society’s economic, cultural, social and traditional powers have to accept this hegemony is coming to an end. Women are entering these circles of power and some room will have to be made. Men will have to broaden their horizons into what have been considered traditionally “women’s work” — teaching, nursing, dental assisting, occupations where nurturing is a primary component — with the surprising discovery they may find they can enjoy the work, enjoy the interaction, find themselves fulfilled in ways they may have never had the opportunity to experience in any other social paradigm.
Men can be fully integrated into the nurturing aspect of our Human capacity. They have to want to. Unlike our animal cousins, humanity is blessed with the capacity to exceed our instinctual parameters. Animals can never be more than the sum of their experience and their instinctual responses to those experiences.
If you train dogs or cats for example, the best training takes place when you harness the animal’s instinctual behavior and append it with a conditioned response. You are using its natural tendencies to create a new behavior. This behavior will most certainly not be understood by the animal, even if it prospers for the effort, but such a condition will not be passed on at the genetic level. It is a conditioned response. It is an adapted behavior. It has not altered the fundamental structure of the animal’s instincts, only its apparent behavior.
Humans have a unique capacity among animals: We can create new behaviors, new ideas, new ways of doing, new ways of interacting with each other simply by making the effort to do so.
We are not subject to an instinctual limitation to kill what we don’t understand. We are not obligated to oppress someone weaker than we are. We are not compelled to rape, murder or destroy people we have never met.
We may have done so in the past due to social pressures, a lack of food, a desire for better resources, a fear of the different, but all of those things should be behind us now. The knowledge that we are not all that different from each other IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE NOW. Only the people who make money from promoting our differences still stand to gain from our inability to change.
Change is our only universal constant. Our ability to adapt to change is what will save us from our social inertia, our reliance on tradition and culture, which were useful when we were developing and our technology changed at a generational pace, culture and tradition were a means of adjusting slowly to a changing world. The pace of change, the onslaught of new technology means we have to adapt to new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing each other, new ways of accepting the new and different.
You will be confronted with the new and different every day for the rest of your life if you choose to live in a major city anywhere in the world. If you cannot handle the pace of change, head inland, become a farmer, live and die on the seasonally changing land’s pace. A lack of change there is good. If you live where the world is being transformed by technology, the only mindset which works is the adaptive one.
Adaptive thinking allows you to be a nurturer on Monday, a warrior on Tuesday, a manager of your home on Wednesday, a parent on Thursday, and a caregiver to an aging loved one on Friday. And you feel no particular away about any of these roles. They are the roles you needed to play at the time you needed to play them.
You are equally good as a caregiver as you are as a construction worker and the difference in you as a person doesn’t exist. You aren’t less of a man if you change a diaper or empty a bedpan. It is simply part of the way things are in the world today.
Adapt or die as your internal landscape of obsolete ways of thinking continuously conflict with the outside world where women, minorities, new religions, migration, social pressures, climate change, technological shifts all change the nature of the future of our species.
I am not saying dispose of tradition or culture. Both are a response to the species pressures placed on us by our world. I am saying we have the capacity to recognize when we have been wrong and can apologize, recognize our failures and grow into being fuller, more realized beings able to love, nurture and build a new future vastly different from our ancestors who would never understand the world we are living in today, but they might secretly envy our freedoms just the same.
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