Friday, 17 January 2003

Are Men Being Emasculated in the Twenty First Century?

Let's face it, the average man doesn't amount to much of anything. If he is not out attending to the women folk, he is out promoting men's rights. What exactly is men's right? That is like fighting for universal women's suffrage. In order to campaign for a right you have to have lost it somewhere along the line. At which point was the male population so disenfranchised that they felt the need to "fight for their rights?" We are the ones that make the rights. We are the ones that create laws and enforce them so when did the phallus of the western world become limp?

The emasculation of the western world has been going on for a long time, at least since the early twentieth century and for the African American population it has been going on since at least the eighteenth century.

I was reading a book the other day called We Real Cool: Black Men Masculinity by Bell Hooks. The author goes on to trace the plight of the black man back to the days of the plantations and how an inferiority complex has been sown in the minds of African Americans for hundreds of years. When slaves were originally brought from the African continent, their views on masculinity differed from the views of their captors. In Europe and America at the time male masculinity was defined as having control over the women and using that to establish dominance in their households and society.

The enslaved Africans on the other hand, saw masculinity as the ability to protect and provide for the women folk at all costs. They did not see women as ornaments but as equals that happened to have weaker bodies. The argument in the book slowly digresses or progresses, whichever one you would like to call it, into a long winded soliloquy into the many problems plaguing the black race.

The book itself only served to make me laugh because the author was not, in my opinion, identifying problems that were unique to any subset or ethnic group. They were problems that plague young men today in general. When these problems are not addressed then they spill over into adulthood and affect the men that are meant to be raising well rounded children. I won't really get into the problem of the black race because they are many and deep rooted.

This is a sermon on the emasculation of men, an emasculation that is flowing from the west to the East. I have had the privilege of living in many different countries in my short life. I grew up in Atlanta Georgia and Moved to Western Africa where I got my tertiary education and I am now living in the United Arab Emirates. The further east I go (Although I cannot speak on the Far East just yet), the more I realize that the loss of manhood is concentrated in the west.

In Africa, arguably the first bastion of civilization, men in the larger cities such as Lagos and Accra have begun to imbibe the traditions of western culture. They no longer embrace the role as the protector as they once used to but are now encouraging their women to play an equal role in the provision of basic necessities to the household. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself but what I do not like is when these same men will turn around and say that they have become emasculated. If you give out the position that you were meant to inherit eg provider. You have no right to complain when the person that is playing an equal part in supplying the basic necessities to a household also want to play an equal part in governing it.

What did you expect to happen when your partner started to bring home half of the disposable income? Did you think that it would be business as usual? The simple truth of the matter is that as long as the cost of living continues to rise and more and more women are forced into the mainstream to secure better and better education then the more rapid the emasculation of men will be. Until in reality we will not be able to tell the difference between men and women aside from obvious sexual characteristics.

Our ancient symbol of virility, the unicorn, has forsaken us. That majestic creature that was so strong and stubborn that it refused to enter Noah's ark and instead swam in the deluge commanded by god. Whose horn was the very symbol of health and that anyone fortunate enough to drink from it was made nearly invincible. The strongest symbol of what it means to be a man has been lost to us. Will we ever get it back? Who knows?

In the legends, a virgin girl tricked the unicorn into a docile state where it was taken by surprise and killed by hunters. Have we again been seduced by the docile virgin and allowed our masculinity to be destroyed?

The horn and the unicorn that once represented the most sacred object, the phallus, is now just a child's plaything or a picture on greeting cards.

Do you realize that women feel the emasculation of the male population more acutely than you and I could ever imagine? Women were made to be subservient to us. When I say subservient I do not mean that they do not have an opinion and should be treated as our slaves. Quite the contrary, a good woman is a gift. When I say subservient to us I mean that they were made to follow where we lead. Your woman would much rather you said "get dressed were going out" then "I don't know, where do you want to go."

The ideal woman is strong enough to support a man in his darkest times and meek enough to give way in his greatest glory. Unfortunately, men have become boys and boys are toddlers and it is up to the women to lead the household. How can an entire population retain their masculinity when a large portion are growing up without suitable male role models.

The men they look up to, if there are any at all, are weak and ill equipped to instill proper values into them. They cannot teach them what it means to be a man because they themselves do not know. This is what I would call a shame for lack of a better word.

We have arrived at a turning point, either we sink as men or swim as men. Whichever path we do eventually choose will rewrite the course of the future. If we arise again to our former glory then the world will change for the better.

If we sink in our attempt to swim, if the waves are too strong and carry us under then we will hit the bottom of the ocean and a new social dynamic will be formed. The problem with the latter course is that like with every form of substance abuse it is going to be a painful adjustment process. Withdrawal is not a friendly experience.

Unfortunately, with the way things are going, we will soon hit that rock bottom, at least the western hemisphere will. I will ride out the storm in the comfort of UAE, or Ethiopia, or maybe even South Africa.

My fellow men, if we are to weather this storm then we need to make the changes not in the people around us but in ourselves. If you cannot be the change you wish to see in the world then you have no right to complain. I do not wish to be the leader in the coming struggle but if no pragmatic male can rise and lead us then I will reluctantly don the mantle.

I hope the men of this world are up to the challenge.

The first step in the journey of a thousand miles that we are about to embark on is to become the best men possible; I wrote an article on that here.

Until we are ready, you can catch me at Indomitable Audacity where I always muse on one topic or another Cheers!

No comments:

Post a Comment