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Sherman Yellen Headshot

That Poor Embattled Y Chromosome

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I found Maureen Dowd's op-ed piece on the feminization of men's life-styles in this Sunday's New York Times very amusing and extremely well written. But as one who lived through the Second World War (albeit as an adolescent) indoctrinated with the 1940's notions of masculinity -- we all wanted to be tough good guys to destroy the bad guys -- I think the focus might be about what we have gained by allowing men to break the hard and fast rules of what it takes to be a man, rather than viewing this change in certain life-styles -- among a very few -- as a hit on the Y chromosome.

I grew up at a time when it was possible for a rage filled man to whack his kids mercilessly, and the world considered that the right and proper way for a man to behave. We have come a long way, and if it means that a few narcissistic fellows want to put on false eyelashes, who is hurt by this? In thinking about gender, I had hoped that the New York Times would deal with the recent Chris Christie attack on a law-student, a former Navy Seal, who during a public forum dared to ask Christie some questions about a college matter that affected his education. Christie raged, screamed at the man, threatened him, claiming that the student would end up in jail if he behaved that way as a lawyer; all this to a guy who was merely exercising his right of free speech. Christie continued to attack him verbally long after he had had the man tossed out of the audience by two cops. Now Christie is considered a "real man" -- a "regular guy" among his supporters, a future presidential contender. Ironically, he is the governor of a state that has just put on trial a boy who invaded the privacy of his gay roommate, a state that considers bullying a crime worthy of incarceration. All this while the governor practices bullying from his bully pulpit.

The role of a man is more endangered by the uncontrollable rages of a Chris Christie -- which are glorified as the triumph of testosterone by his fans -- rather than by some poor dolt on a runway, or in the street, who has mascara running in his eyes and can't breath easy because his spanx is too tight.