Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why Men Are Becoming More Like Women

Marcus Buckingham writes in The Huffington Post today:

In its recent special on the State of Women, Time magazine announced that the gender wars were over and declared a tie. "It's no longer a man's world," Time concluded. "Nor is it a woman's nation. It's a cooperative, with bylaws under constant negotiation, and expectations that profits be equally shared."

I'm not so sure. In a war, no matter the outcome of a certain skirmish or battle, the winner is the party whose attitudes, behaviors and preoccupations come to dominate the postwar landscape. By this measure, the outcome of the gender wars, if wars they were, is clear: women won.

Read the rest of the story here.


  1. "the winner is the party whose attitudes, behaviors and preoccupations come to dominate the postwar landscape."

    And then you assert that women won. Wow. That's a tricky one and requires a deep dive into feminist theory to really answer in the terms you set it. In point of fact, based on what I have observed in the workplace, on the street, and in the generations coming up behind me, I'd have to say that men won. Women and girls are behaving in ways that were once considered primarily masculine with disappointing regularity.

    On the other hand, if you look at pop culture, women have largely taken over. Compare the faces on magazine covers: what fraction of them are men? Look at the imagery in advertising: which gender is portrayed more positively? Look at the heroes of pop culture: which gender is more widely celebrated?

    I *do* think we are in the midst of a sea change - and the wind is blowing from the feminine quarter. But western culture is so distorted in enforcing its binary description of gender that it has lost all sense. Calling an end to the gender wars, or even a winner seems problematic at best...

  2. Notwithstanding, or perhaps because of my personal situation as a t-girl, I am of the view that redefining masculinity in a more feminine way or redefining femininity in a more masculine way are ultimately unsatisfying trends. Sure, it makes getting along as friends much easier if we're all more similar, but the true spark of love and lust and romance and passion comes from the differences!

    I am sure I am not alone when I say that I have never been attracted to women who are anxious to adopt the comfortable dress or vulgar attitudes or other traditionally masculine traits, nor have I been attracted to men who are effeminate, touchy-feely, emotional, etc. It is ironic that as a t-girl, I have come to embrace the characteristics of both genders, though I try as hard as I can to keep the masculine to my male self and the feminine to my female self.

    In fact, our community boasts a fair number who have been motivated by the disappearance of traditional femininity in "real" women to assume that very role for themselves. And, I have spoken to women who have lamented the disappearance of "real men" and are not so certain that it's worth trading in the Malboro Man for an Oprah-approved metrosexual.

  3. I think women just "think" they have won, and men in general know better than to be honest about the way they feel about it. Most men learn at an early age that it's better to tell a woman "what she wants to hear" than fill her in on reality.

    A lot of my male friends admit to hating the way women act these days, but also admit they never call them on it because they fear the repercussions from the wife or girlfriend.