If you believe what you hear and see in print, online, and on television, the obituary of manhood has already been written. Men have never appeared more lame, helpless, and absolutely unnecessary. It's as if half the population is on a permanent lunch break.
But the demise of men is a myth, fabricated solely to denigrate men by elevating women. And television perpetrates this myth by portraying men as stupid, vapid, and emotionally brain-dead -- essentially useless. After all, women no longer need men to have babies or for financial support, and they're marrying at the lowest rate in history. As women garner increasing power and success in every professional arena -- medicine, law, business, and politics -- and their paychecks become essential to the survival of their families, they expect men to treat them as equals. Women's equality doesn't depend on the decline of men. If everyone is equal, then no one is less.
However, too many men are still not accustomed or willing to considering women as equals. This perceived inequality has its origins in prehistory and probably began when the first caveman picked up a boulder and moved it for a woman. Clearly women have come a long way since then, but for many guys, relationships with women are still about who's better able to pick up the boulder.
That emphasis on physical prowess has produced a gaping deficit in men's emotional development -- an arena in which women excel. Since women are more emotionally conscious than men, some guys have assumed that dealing with emotions must be an exclusively feminine quality -- and, therefore, one they should avoid. In fact, some have taken this attitude so far that they insist that the notion of men developing their emotional awareness represents the "pussification" of America.
This name-calling of men, by men, is particularly damaging to guys who're working to become better men by learning to access and control their feelings. It strikes too close to home to be believable and indicates an inherent insecurity in their manhood. They are still looking for women to move boulders for, instead of following in the footsteps of men who are eager to improve the quality of their manhood.
It also damages women, who're growing increasingly frustrated with men who continue to espouse this antediluvian attitude. The more contributions women make to society and families, the more they need men who can hold their own on an emotional level. Men who behave like little boys don't charm women or bring out their maternal qualities, in case some men haven't noticed. Women want and deserve better. The "girly-man" finger pointing doesn't wash any more either. Just look where the guy who invented that phrase is now -- tossed out of his home and marriage, and struggling to convince his kids and the world he's okay. Cool and manly? Not really.
But the most important reason that men need to become emotionally conscious is that they'll become men they can be proud of because they are in total control of their manhood. This will not just make them women's peers, but will bolster their own self-esteem and earn them the desired esteem of other men. Women and children will benefit too, of course, because they will respect and learn from a guy who tries to be the best man he can be. Women's support is critical.
The most appropriate way for men to develop this emotional awareness is to work together in men's groups where they can develop the ability to express how they feel and control their behavior, without feeling pressure from women. When that finally happens on a large scale, the media will stop their harangue about the demise of men, and congratulate men for being more fully alive than they've ever been. That day is coming, hopefully soon, and for men who insist on lifting boulders, instead of evolving, good luck with women in the 21st Century.