A little background on where I get my definition of masculinity. They say a girl will grow up and want to marry a man like her father. Couldn’t be truer in my situation. My father is a tall dark and handsome man with a commanding presence. He’s an alpha male, a family man, a great story teller. People are drawn to him, babies love him. He has a deep voice, strong arms and calloused, working man’s hands. He raised 3 children on his own when my mother decided she had better things to do. I was 6 when it was just the 4 of us; my brother and sister were 8 & 10. I hardly saw him during the work week. Dad worked 12-14 hour days to put food on the table and clothes on our backs. We didn’t have much but we always had what we needed. On his 1 day off, there was always something to be done. The truck needed new brakes; the lawn needed mowing, tree limbs needed to be cut. This is how I spent time with my father. I helped him with all the “man work” around the house. Our father daughter time was handing tools to him when I was 8, replacing the roof on our house when I was 10, building a deck when I was 12, etc., etc. I have seen my father fall enormous trees, build sheds in hours and fix many of our old, dilapidated vehicles. As I got older and moved out on my own, my father was still the one I called when something went wrong with my car or I needed something hung. At this point, my brother was also someone I could rely on. After all, he learned from the best! This is what masculinity has always been. Dad taught me everything but I never really needed to use the knowledge because I had men I could always rely on.
Now that I live several hours away from home I do everything for myself. I see that there really aren’t very many men like my father. They really “don’t make them like that anymore”. I ask myself “What happened to masculinity?” “Where have all the good men gone?” I believe men have become too feminized in society. Males these days view hard labor as “low man’s work”? Income and status has taken the place of the pride from a hard day’s work. Men now view the ability to pay someone else to do the hard labor as success vs. being able to do it themselves. Emphasis and Access to education has made men more intelligent but has made them soft. I love an intelligent man, but as I always say if I have even the slightest chance at beating you in an arm wrestling match I’m not interested! LOL Why is it so hard to find a balance between brains and brawn?
Another reason men have become so feminized is the lack of a male role model. Females do most of the child rearing. We are definitely born nurturers but we should not be in charge of turning a boy into a man. We are ill equipped in this area. Many boys grow up without a father either because they work out of the home too much or because they no longer have a relationship with the child’s mother. Strong women are amazing and they do their best but it will never be the same. We can’t teach them how to be men, the head of the household, the protector, the person who can handle everything, the Hercules in his own idiom. Only a man can do that, whether it is a father, uncle, grandfather, etc. These men teach boys to become men through our own sort of “rites of passage”. Mowing the lawn, changing their own oil, fixing things around the house, building things with their hands, these are things passed from a man to a boy to mark his journey into manhood. Important tools to use when he has a family and a household of his own.
So it should not surprise me when nobody offers to help me change a tire, chances are they have no idea how. Masculinity is sadly becoming a thing of the past. My Hercules has been replaced by Hermes. He is brilliant but he will not go to battle for me and he definitely cannot build a house for me. Either I will be in charge of the “man work” or perhaps I will have to teach him how.