There, between the lines of some mild feminist blubbering and quasi-conciliatory relinquishment from this Guardian opinion piece by Rose Hackman, there are some startling grains of truth. I rather enjoyed this essay.
For despite the fact that Hackman in unable to resist expressing a good, healthy dose of feminist Victimology of the Woman sentimentality, she subdues its vulgarity by cloaking it in a “we’re all, as humans, fucked” perspective which is the only way she allows herself to express any commiseration for the suffering men must experience in the 21st Century. In fact, the title of the piece says it all: “As millennials, we’re all in dire straits. But I worry most about our men.”
Hey, at least she gives us that.
Hackman recognizes that female “suffering” does not occur in a vacuum and that there is a large counterpart to this suffering, at least half the population to be exact, which conversely bears the burden of female cultural “success” in the modern world.
As Hackman relays it,
Popular uses of feminist frameworks often put the spotlight on women, but gender questioning goes as much for masculinity as it does femininity. Both constructs imprison us with expectations, and place heavy burdens on our shoulders. That the constructs trace out one sex as dominant over the other arguably makes victims out of both categories.
Gender-based subjectivity aside, Hackman at least recognizes men are just as likely to be the victims of the fluid gender roles inculcated in society by modern feminism.
On the travails of the Millennial male, she smartly recognizes the sources of his devolution.
Millennial men are coming of age in a world that has left them little space to fulfill what they have been taught are positive ideals of masculinity: to work hard, find a decent job and earn a decent wage, to provide for themselves and then hopefully contribute towards providing for a family; to demonstrate value by being strong, stable, reliable and present to people around them, including women.
Worthless, he told me, was the word that sprung to mind when he let his brain do the talking. He was certain he wanted a family and kids, but that seemed far away. There was no foreseeable way toward a car, or a house, let alone pension savings and school fee accounts for future kids.
How much work have we done in terms of changing expectations we continue to place on men? How much do women praise “manly men” who are able to lift and pay for dinner and offer comforting pats on the shoulder? Do we not still expect men to be strong and constant, financially able, successful in the public realm? My male contemporaries seem paralyzed by the fear they are unable to fulfill societal expectations and therefore are not worthy enough for partnership, life planning and love.
And women are not innocent of perpetuating this setup.
I recently texted my middle-of-the-night companion about some plans. And I cringe at myself – not him – when I recall the exchange. I was waiting for him to make a decision, I frustratedly texted him to pick a time and stick to it. “Man up,” I wrote without thought.
What happened to our young Millennials? Those who would conquer to the world and usher in the digital age on the wings of social media and smart phones?
Did we sabotage their prosperity and hasten their helplessness?
Who is the nebulous “we?”
The Baby Boomers.
My parents were from “The Greatest Generation.”
Born of the Depression, raised amid the hardships and uncertainties of world wars, their generation perfected poise, mental strength and self-sacrifice. As all aged generations are prone to do, they began to assume the burden of their involuntary heroism by trying to make life “better” for their offspring. This is a natural instinct. The Greatest Generation grew up hard so their children would not have to; and their children were taken care of, pampered, taught to fend for themselves only, and ultimately failed to develop strength of character. The Greatest Generation gave rise to The Avarice Generation.
Self-absorbed, materialistic, hedonistic, greedy, the Avarice Generation was ill-equipped to provide for its progeny.
And we left the Millennials with a big steaming vat of shit to contend with.
Oh well…at least we enjoyed our day in the sun and now, the sooner we die off, the better. We’ve left enough misery to last a few more generations.