Men not marrying? How deep does “the problem” go

From Girl Writes What


Men used to be able to derive a positive male identity from marriage. That is, through the respected and uniquely male role of husband and father. When that identity is increasingly characterized by society as superfluous, obsolete, or in the words of Harriet Harman, unnecessary to social cohesion, it is no longer a way for a man to defer his disposability, is it? Moreover, when that identity can be unilaterally stripped from him on the whim of the increasingly fickle and hard to please female even when he does everything right, marriage ceases to be a positive way for men to define themselves as men. It becomes a way for men to define themselves as chumps and idiots, and who wants to define themselves that way? Moreover, from sitcoms to romcoms to TV commercials, to billboard ads, the role of husband/father is increasingly one of playing the incompetent buffoon to sassy, smart, together wife or even child. In the mass media there is nothing noble or respectable about husbandhood or fatherhood anymore. Further, when the roles within marriage become virtually indistinguishable and interchangeable, a man’s role becomes less and less…well, uniquely male. It’s just a role. It can be a path to meaning and fulfilment (if he’s lucky), and it may be something he desires to do and become, but it’s not necessarily a path to defining himself AS A MAN.

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