What happened to Dirty Harry and Rocky? Where is Chuck Norris with his deadly roundhouse kicks and Steven Segal with that god-awful, balding ponytail? Where have all the men gone? Yes, these guys either were fictional characters or were acting in some made-up story, but their absence alludes to a bigger societal problem. People don’t watch these movies, because the type of men that watched them and made these movies popular do not exist anymore. The number of men who cared about honor and respect is quickly diminishing. The kind of man that could fight with someone and then shake hands is gone. All of a sudden, men are being petty, catty, and vindictive. All the real men are disappearing.
There was a time in recent history when men were of few words and meant every word that they spoke. A man’s word then was his truth. It was like a statue of law. Binding. Permanent. True. No one guessed what he thought because his actions showed his intentions. Men weren’t self-involved. They thought about how their different behaviors affected the people near them and changed those behaviors accordingly. They were caring, loving fathers, beloved husbands, and well-respected in their communities. Now, in the last 20 years, men have wilted into something entirely different. The lack of male leadership and ego-centric socialization have caused the decline of the stoic, honorable male figure.
Great actor, bad decision. You’re a man, and that’s a purse.
The first reason that men are falling short of recent past masculine standards is that there are fewer, visible male leaders to model how younger men should behave. Though men do still hold the highest positions in corporate America, young men do not see those figures unless there is some misappropriation in the company. Their most visible role model is leaving their homes at an alarming pace. The divorce rate is now well over 50 % in the United States and the break-up of the American family affects the male children disproportionately. And thus, in parallel, it affects society. Women though adept at everything else, can not teach a man how to behave like a man. As primary care-takers, teaching them how to behave becomes at least part of their responsibility. Some useful male wisdom is being lost as parents split from one another even assuming that both parents remain close in the child’s life. Single parent homes with no male role model at all are even worse for the state of men. A man that abandons his family sets the worst kind of example for young males. Men that mature under single parent mothers handle problems differently and seldom have respect for male authority figures. Since superiors in the workplace are still 3-4 times more likely to be male, this is a setup for failure. Also, men of single parent homes are much more likely to have children prior to marriage, so the problem perpetuates itself.
Economic principle also affects the current state of manliness. Instead of leaving business philosophy in the boardrooms, it has now been inundated into society. Children learn to win at costs. There are fewer and less intrinsic moral standards than there were in past generations. In the most basic business class, people are taught to maximize profits at every opportunity and it has spilled into our daily lives. People exploit and extort each other whenever given a chance. Ideals of honor and teamwork have been replaced with selfishness and a cutthroat attitude. Common society has been socialized to provide for themselves at the detriment of others. Men used to stand for principles of fair play, but now choose to take advantage of weaker associates. In the past men would stand up for the weaker people and help them along. Now, at best they do nothing and at worst they ostracize the person for their failure.
Men used to stand for something positive. They were decisive leaders and amicable followers. Before, they made the right decisions at any cost and we need to return to that. We need to get back to men supporting each other, protecting the weak, and raising their children. We need to get back to men being loving, caring, and stoic in their daily lives. We need to get back to men being men.