Human customs and taboos are in a constant state of change. This is evidenced by changes in the traditional role of male human beings. Men are traditional heads of the homes and can only partake of specifically designated roles with regard to custom. Slowly the society is turning to be egalitarian. The recent trends in men are a likely outcome of an increase and adoption of a novel cultural frame that pushes for gender equity. Roles predominantly for females are now open to males and those predominantly for males open to females. The statement that men can do women can do is a driving force that steers people to try out new roles. It is no longer a question of gender socialization, but the insistence on competency. How skilled one is at a role determines what opportunities they are liable to attain.
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Men are raised to emulate to their fathers, who are expected to be strong and capable providers for their families. These men are discouraged from an open emotional expression that makes them appear feminine. Most of their training involves problem-solving, risk-taking lessons, assertiveness skills, and logical thinking. They are required to be dependent at an early age clinging on to the shadowy presence of their emotionally or physically absent fathers (the Levant, 2008).
Men try to fulfill their traditional masculine roles amidst criticism that is escalating to unmanageable levels. There is an outcry for change as the structure of society and systems are different from those of twenty years ago. The Levant points out to the fact that men are no longer the sole breadwinners of their families (2008). Women are also in the labor market, providing for their families. In contrast, men are obliged to take up roles that violate their traditional roles. They are required to be nurturing and to show emotions unlike their past role of acting as sources of strength and support to their families. A proof that certainly the roles of men in the past twenty years are nothing compared to the present is summarized in a statement by the Levant. “It has thus become increasingly clear that the social construction of masculinity that has been ascendant in the United States for at least the last fifty years- commonly referred to as “traditional masculinity”- has collapsed” (2008, p.230).
“More recent cohorts are better educated, and this difference alone accounts for many of the differences in gender attitudes” (Cotter, Hermsen & Vanneman, 2011, p.26). It is unmistakably true that changing male gender roles are attributed to high education levels. Education enlightens people to have liberal attitudes. Rigid ideas, for instance, the beliefs that males play only certain roles are no longer considered. Research by Brooks and Bolzendahl authenticates that the rising liberalism of gender attitudes due to education is correlated with an expansive trend of reception of liberal rights ideas (Cotter et al., 2011). High values appear on an indicator of a scale whose basis on attitudes about civil liberties, civil rights, and sexual tolerance show great support for civil liberties and sexual tolerance ideologies. Moreover, the analysis by Cotter et al. also contains a self-report evaluation of political conservatism and liberalism proof of the effects of education on people’s attitudes (2011).
Undeniably, all indications point to the reality that the role of men has changed over the past two decades. However, it is essential to keep in mind that certain individuals, due to their biological advantage, perform some roles best.
Cotter, D., Hermsen, J. M. & Vanneman, R. (2011). The end of the gender revolution? Gender role attitudes from 1977 to 2008. American Journal of Sociology, 117(1), 259-289, Web.
Levant, F.R. (2008). Towards the reconstruction of masculinity. In F. Levant & S.Pollack (Eds.), New psychology of men (pp.229-251). New York: Basic Books.