Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Big Think - The Problem With Men

Today is Good Men Day, so what a perfect day to look at some of the challenges men face these days. Many of the problems we face we have brought upon ourselves in some ways (although it is ALWAYS more complicated than that).

Patriarchy, as any feminist will tell you, has historically victimized women - but what they won't tell you (or at least most of them won't) is that patriarchy has victimized men as well. Patriarchal masculinity has limited men and our development as human beings, leaving us likely to suffer crippling depression in silence, to fail at relationships because we fear intimacy or vulnerability, and so on.

On the other hand, the products of patriarchal technology, with its apparent disregard for the damage it might inflict on the environment and other human beings, are now killing us, as is apparent with xenoestrogens, not to mention guns.

And recently, a new word has been coined to label the effects the economic collapse that we have largely created - and men created capitalism - are having on our lives: mancession.

All in all, being a good man is a challenge, so if you have a good man in your life (a father, brother, son, friend, husband, or lover) take a moment to show some appreciation today (and every day).

The Problem With Men

For millennia, men have assumed a certain dominance, both physically and culturally, over the world around them. Yet, as we enter an age of disruption, wherein the norms of history are rapidly succumbing to irrelevance, even the traits that once distinguished men—be it winning glory in battle through a marked propensity to risk, the ability to hunt game large enough to feed a family through a craving for ultimate satisfaction, or the ability to out-earn a colleague on account of aggressive business tactics—are translating into drug addictions, rising domestic abuse rates, and an alienating recklessness amid the demands and mores of twenty-first century life.

The trend goes beyond societal forces. Men’s bodies themselves are under assault, as the Y chromosome is encountering greater problems reproducing, and is overly prone to toxins and mutations on account of its placement in a cell. Males are more likely to develop a wide range of diseases, perhaps in part because of the size of their brain in comparison to their bodies, and are less likely to survive birth. They stand at a significantly higher risk of learning disabilities and developmental disorders, and generally die at a younger age.

What’s more, with the current recession, men have found themselves increasingly victim to powerful feelings of insecurity, which could likely general an overarching pattern of anti-social behavior, including a very dramatic and rising cult-like inclination to take out their entire home.

Given the precarious state of masculinity at this pivotal moment, Big Think presents The Problem With Men, highlighting the latest research into the field and uncovering some of the measures that can be taken to prevent the potentially drastic consequences.

Part 1 of 7

The Dislocated Male

Reihan Salam: Fellow, New America Foundation

What’s left of the male breadwinner stereotype may not survive the recession. The results won’t be pretty.

Part 2 of 7

Were the “Mad Men” Such Bad Men?

Reihan Salam: Fellow, New America Foundation

Is the post-sexual-revolution man an improvement? Or does the “Mad Men” phenomenon signal nostalgia for something important we’re losing?

Part 3 of 7

Why Men Drive Fast and Take Chances

Marvin Zuckerman: Professor Emeritus, University of Delaware

Since the days of hunting and gathering, males have been hardwired to seek out novelty and risk. Yet in today’s society, this trait often proves fatal.

Part 4 of 7

The Horror of Familicide

Richard Gelles: Dean of The School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania

In tough economic times, some men kill their entire family.

Part 5 of 7

Men at Work

Nomi Prins: Author

How the workplace warrior complex and a certain playground bully mentality may be connected to reckless deregulation.

Part 6 of 7

The Helpless Y Chromosome

Marianne Legato: Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University

The masculine chromosome is unique in its inability to repair itself, making it exceptionally prone to mutation and pollution.

Part 7 of 7

Depression: The Male Silent Killer

Marianne Legato: Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University

Contrary to popular opinion, men are just as likely to suffer from depression than women—they just repress it, sometimes with fatal results.

No comments: