Monday, 1 September 2008

Myth of feminisation of men

Conservatives often argue that social problems reflect breakdown in traditional gender roles, which they quite naturally term "feminisation of men" and "masculinisation of women".

The argument that masculinisation of women has occurred is one that has appealed to me for a long time, probably because of my experience reading about the increasing level of violence in music and films. I have always felt, however, that it reflects masculinisation of culture as a whole not complete confusion in gender roles.

My own life experience and readings about culture has never suggested men have been feminised as a result of the women's movement. Rather, it suggests that a very violent popular culture that denigrates femininity and glorifies extreme selfishness has (perhaps) forced women to become tougher and less empathetic.

In this context, a 2005 blog and study of parenting trends in the European Union is refreshing. According to the study

- the proportion of men in the EU who help with childcare has fallen in the past decade by around one sixth
- the proportion of men in working class families who involve themselves in childcare is fifty percent higher than the same proportion for middle class families

Both these results suggest that in the developed nations outside Australia and Red America, as I mentioned in a previous post, masculinisation of culture has really proceeded to an extraordinary level and that caring (traditionally feminine) values are not only ignored, but hated as people think only about themselves.

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