Let’s talk about gender roles. About those roles and how they’ve changed in the last generation or two…
I’ve typified that whole list of Alpha Male characteristics all my life but the truth is, I’ve been on a journey over the last several years to drop the mask and interact differently with others.
Especially with women. Especially in light of how our culture is shifting, or has shifted to a more woman-centered way of doing things.
Being a boomer, this shift was a very big deal for me. Truth be told, I thought it was awful when I first began to see it clearly.
And then after a while I would whine about how the culture evolved from men being in charge to women being in charge without any transition time in between where we at least paid lip service to being equals and negotiated everything, and so on…
And now I see that–although friends or couples are free to discuss stuff, negotiate stuff and deal with stuff anyway they want–we have passed into a time when women get to hold the power stick.
Like a lot of us–a lot men in particular–I saw how these things were changing but was probably well behind the curve and wasn’t able to “see” it all clearly or articulate how this was working itself out in our culture or how it might effect me and my relationships.
So by the time I had any real grip on this, it was pretty much a done deal.
I spent most of the ’90s seeing that a patriarchal system had been weighed and found wanting but convinced myself that the new way of doing things was the aforementioned negotiation and perpetual compromise model that I carried around in my head.
But I get it. Someone has to chair the committee. And although, as I said before, friends and couples certain can work these things out in any way that’s mutually agreeable, for most folks, Mom is wearin’ the pants.
Of course lots of people don’t see it that way. And a lot of men are resisting. You go, bro!
At this point, I just have to throw out a joke. A joke, I hasten to add, that I heard back in the ’60s!
Dude says: “I wear the pants in this family! And I have my wife’s permission to say so!”
Now, humor aside, I can now see clearly how ugly and vicious men who cannot or will not accept this can be. It puts many culturally conservative people in the US–your evangelical crowd, especially–in common cause with extremists in other cultures and religions.
The things done here and all around the world to “keep women in their place” are often horrible! And it’s astonishing that so many conservatives in the US are fully on-board with that kind of thing and don’t see how that attitude, when carried to its natural end, essentially makes them into a sort of American Taliban.
This “fight” is going on everywhere. In every corner of the planet. And even though the particulars can be very, very different, the general process tends to be quite similar.
I think most of us are ready to accept that one of the most important–if not the most important–skill any man can bring to a relationship is the ability to say “yes, Dear!”
So let me offer up my own take on where we are as far as gender roles and all of that: “Happy wife, happy life” is a fine mantram for us when we’re not quite sure where we are or what works in a 21st Century relationship.
Men who cannot or will not get on-board drag their feet at their own risk!
“Bulldog Ben” Basile
© 2019 Benjamin Basile