According to an article by Clem Bastow in the SMH this week, we as a society are facing a crisis of manhood. I’d definitely agree with that fact in itself, but I’m not sure if I agree on what this crisis is about.
As Bastow claims it, we supposedly live in this enlightened and liberating time – and yet men “Can’t cry, can’t show affection, can’t ask for help, can’t cope…”. These thoughts come off the back of a new documentary being produced by feminist Jennifer Siebel Newsom, titled The Mask You Live In. In it, she aims to explore the myths of modern manhood, in an attempt to help men feel secure whether they’re the emotional or non-emotional type.
This is definitely a tough issue, and one where it’s easy to have one opinion and then act another way. Personally, I want to say that it’s fine for a man to be emotional, but in complete honesty I wouldn’t date someone who cried more than me!
In reality, are there many men who are actually so sentimentally expressive? After all, it’s a well-known fact that the emotional side is naturally more developed or articulated in women than men. Perhaps we are urging males to be more emotional than they innately are?
What I may be trying to say is this – yes, men should be free to express their emotions, but perhaps we have to realize that they do this in a different way to women. And they should definitely be encouraged to express themselves in their own way, especially it if means turning around the high suicide rates amongst men. I feel like these rates could be due to the difficulty men have in seeking help or counsel: maybe this openness to input is what we should be encouraging rather than pushing them to “cry more”?
Although all this is important, I don’t think it reflects the real crisis of manhood. Men aren’t sad because they have to repress their tears. I think it’s much deeper – it’s about looking for genuine love, which is the deepest desire of every human being. And yet our society seems to push them in every other direction. There are many factors involved, but perhaps one of the biggest is pornography, and with it the fact that males are developing highly confused attitudes toward relationships and life.
That all said, what do you think? Are males in crisis because of their lack of emotion, or is this just part of something bigger?