In her new book, Unfinished Business, Anne-Marie Slaughter writes “the next phase of the woman’s movement is a men’s movement.” (“The Truth about the ‘having it all’ Lie,” by Betsy Fischer Martin, More, September 2015, pg. 57.) Of course, breaking the mold for men has always been imbedded the Liberation Movement. Unfortunately, the strategy has been misinterpreted. A liberated woman, by Hollywood standards, is a woman who can kick butts, men’s in particular, and do it while showing cleavage and wearing six inch heels. Given women’s new macho status, what choice does a man have but to elevate his own to that of an imaginary super hero?
Unfortunately, the American Dream embraces wealth as an important marker for success. Competing for a scarce commodity means alpha males rule. Those who don’t succeed lose their perch in the pecking order, a situation that invites drug and alcohol addictions to escape fear of failure or can lead to mental illness and violence. As Adam Lankford, University of Alabama criminal justice professor who studied mass shootings explains, when men are at “the margins of society, they feel cheated, emasculated and hopeless.” (The Week, September 11, 2015 pg. 2014)
Breaking stereotypes for both men and women is a goal of the woman’s movement. Another is to give nurturing a higher value in our society. Turning women into alpha males and emasculating men has never been on the agenda. Liberation is about allowing people to chose their roles unhampered by gender. If we put nurturing above wealth as a value, how quickly our society would change for the better. (For earlier thoughts on gender roles see Blogs 6/23/15, 8/10/15.)