The current era has been marked by a continuous series of challenges to once indisputable truths about sex and gender. Ubiquitous contraception, for one thing, has altered the fundamentals of reproductive roles. The alteration of these fundamentals has been followed by a series of transformations and dislocations — women’s rights, reproductive rights, gay rights, transgender rights, new forms of family formation and dissolution, and vastly altered patterns of fertility. Challenges to core understandings of masculinity — and femininity — are inescapable.

    The immensity of these upheavals should not be underestimated. That people are seeking political solutions to rapid societal changes is no surprise. That these solutions erupt in political conflict is also inevitable. For some, new horizons in matters of sexuality and sexual identity offer opportunity; for others, discomfort and fear predominate. These responses are increasingly sorting themselves into partisan affiliation, sometimes uncomfortably. And as I said at the outset, they have become an integral element of contemporary political conflict, which means that an ultimate resolution is light years away.


    The greatest adverse shock to the psychosocial welfare of U.S. men has not stemmed from dysfunctional notions of masculinity (not that these are above reproach) nor from #MeToo (which was long overdue) but from deep secular labor market forces — both technological and trade-induced — that have over nearly four decades reduced the demand for skilled blue collar work...These forces have dramatically eroded the earnings power, employment stability, social stature, and marriage market value of non-college men. The ensuing dysfunction touches not just in earnings and employment but also male idleness, dysfunctional and destructive behavior (e.g., drug and alcohol abuse), and the erosion of two-parent families, which, research suggests, facilitate children in becoming successful adults.

mic drop

I'll say this - and I've said it to several people, and say it just about every chance I get - I'm in two trade school programs. One of them prepares high school grads for a future where their jobs can be replaced by a $10k robot.

The other one prepares high school grads for a future where they're selling upcycled dog collars on Etsy for $30 each.

Here's the thing. The CNC trade school? 35 dudes and Stella. The jewelry trade school? 18 women and me. Those 35 dudes? They cut up, they tear down, they in-group, they slag on the welders, they slag on everyone that isn't them and those that are them are subject to a pecking order made up entirely of who sucks more at any given moment. All of them have guns, most of them have trucks, and they are not a nurturing bunch. Except to their dogs. They are absolutely bugshit about their dogs.

The women in the jewelry school?

It is amazing to me how everyone in that class bends over backwards to be supportive of each other. And we're talking "finding something nice to say about a Wu-Tang logo cut out of nickel silver." They help each other, they talk about life goals, they dream together, they have each others' backs.

The CNC program's instruction is invariably delivered in the form of "if you do this, you will get fired." "If you fail to do this, you will ruin things." "If you do not account for this, it will be your downfall." The jewelry program's instruction is invariably delivered in the form of "this will help your revenue." "If you keep this in mind you'll work faster." "Here's a pitfall to watch out for that can sap your productivity."

I've never before seen such a stark difference in gender roles. I'm thankful for the opportunity. I want the women to win. I want them to win by a blowout. Their present is better. Their future is better. Their past needs to be vastly more distant.

I threatened to kill my father with a machete when I was seventeen. It was in my hand. He'd taught me how to survive a knife fight when I was nine. Traditional masculinity? I haz it. It's gonna die whether we want it to or not; the only question is how much it drags down with it. We live in a world where dudes have husbands and you can't call people the n-word without massive blowback and these are good things and if it rustles someone's jimmies in the process then their jimmies need to be rustled.

posted by blackbootz: 264 days ago