Prior to the 1970s, role models for young men were plentiful. Their attributes were well described and positive. There were examples of successful men shown in many situations: head of family, business and political leader, sports participants, doctors, lawyers, assembly line workers, minors, airline pilots, explorers, military people, etc. There were self-improvement and further education plans as well as manual skill development programs and technical education schools, all mainly developed around what the male would need In order to support a family. The role of males and females in American society was pretty much settled. The leading/ building/ creating/ directing types of vocations were mostly peopled by men.
Women were mostly shown in support roles for men and rarely in positions of leadership and/or decision maker. This portrayal of women’s role in society was by and large due to the majority of them being house wives and mothers, and even though the role played by women while being the house wife and mother also involved, in many cases, handling the family finances, that was not considered a skill set. Women worked in, among others: nursing, medical technologist, secretarial, wait staff, organizing, teaching in primary and secondary schools.
Were those types of vocations peopled by women because of their free choice, or was it because of societal pressures?
The reasons for those choices of labor can be debated although there is objective demonstration that early on in life most females lag behind males in innate spatial and logical cognizance.
The need to be in control of her situation and being competitive was not recognized outside of the family situation. Their physical strength being only forty percent of men led to them being viewed as less capable for vocations which required physical strength. Did all this lead to women looking for work in other than technical disciplines?
Women were viewed as the supplicant gender in sex. Men were seen as the aggressor which led some to miss the point that in other than rape cases females are the gender which controls when and if sex occurs. She was also expected to comply with his expectation for sex which also led to the misconception of the male being dominant.
The reasons for the choices back then are important for this article only to draw context for looking at how things have changed since those days and accessing what the impact may be of these changes on males.
Minority groups within society began getting more attention while gaining a greater part to play in societal decision making as women rose in prominence. There have been several minority groups identified: Women, people by place of origin [Latinos, Asians, and the like], Blacks, Disabled, LGBT people and some others.
Recently there have been very bad actions by younger males which resulted in deaths of innocent people and I’m left to wonder if the societal changes over the last five decades have played a part in those actions.
I believe the primal urges within males are still strong and a driver for their actions. They still strive to be leaders among men and demonstrate this through making nearly every activity competitive. They still feel they play the role of protector of ‘their’ female, if modified. That ‘their’ female should look up to and respect them. They think they should be the decision makers in their relationship while conceding the woman’s things, such as decorating the abode and controlling the house hold issues, to ‘their’ female and that they are to be the ultimate disciplinarian in the family. Their image, as they see it, is still that they are head of the relationship with ‘their’ female. They fall back on sports to bolster this. They still believe they voluntarily concede leadership to ‘their’ female and that society as a whole supports that belief.
Weakness in a male is a very bad attribute. It diminishes his very reason for achievement and his feeling of self-worth suffers.
Males have always dealt with rejection by females of their advances but they still had the strong leader role models in the media to look up to and be impressed by. This is no longer the case.
Television is the main source of input to society. The participation of women, LGBT people and minorities in the world of advertising has replaced that of heterosexual males. The decision making process in marketing and advertising is strongly influenced by women and LGBT groups and begs the question: has the result grown to where heterosexual alpha males are the subject of derision or suppression? It seems as though that may be the case.
The portrayal of the sexes on TV impresses society with what the genders should be. An example is the female complaint of the desirable female: slim, physically fit, well proportioned, and beautiful.
As for the young male: gone are the strong role models; the clear thinking, decision making heroes he imagines his role to be. He does not have an area of activity which is free of females. There is no place where males can be males without the effect of female disapproval of his priorities and value system. In nearly every advertisement, and most of the sitcoms on TV the male is portrayed as a bumbling idiot, incapable of existing without a female to make decisions, protect and defend him. Even in the world of sports the reporting and discussion programming is no longer men’s province. Although the sport is contested by men, women, some who do not even play the game, now lead the discussion panels and news reporting, replacing the men who once did that. The young man needs role models, not anti- alpha male models and not simply men who excel at a game.
With only impressions of inadequate males and the leadership of females on TV, and in some cases, his mother leading the family, the young male has nowhere to turn to legitimatize his need to be a competitor. Does this diminish his achievements; his sense of self-worth? Is achievement academically an alternative? How does he deal with the frustration? What role in society does he see for himself? How would he act out in this situation? What effect might that have on the already difficult need for gaining respect from males and attracting a female?