1. The term ‘new macho’, upon first inspection, is a paradox: the encouragement for men is to adopt their ‘new man’ status through taking “girly jobs” and “dirty diapers.” Put basically, the new macho-man should be willing to take on jobs that are considered to be traditionally feminine as the new man is not affected by what is/isn’t masculine, and is more concerned with completing the tasks as and when they need doing. For example, if the baby’s diaper needs changing then the man should do it. The concept of ‘new macho’ is not interested in traditional gender roles.
The article suggests that the new man should do his “fair share at work and home” and that since jobs are no longer gender-dependant, men should be willing to take any job that will bring home the bacon. It is said that men are taking more traditionally feminine jobs such as teaching, librarians and nurses, but they are adding a masculine touch to the roles: “gym teachers instead of English teachers, reference librarians instead of children’s librarians, and ER nurses instead of paediatric nurses.”
2. In 1995, the Swedish government passed a new law stating that families would lose one month of paid vacation unless the father took it. It was intended to encourage fathers to “work less and father more.” The vast majority of companies in Sweden also actively encourage their male workers to take four months of paternity leave after the birth of a new baby. Similar schemes are taking place in Germany, the UK, Japan and Australia, leaving the U.S. as the only major country without a paternity leave program. However, this could change very soon: the majority of Republicans, Democrats and independent candidates now support the idea of paid leave for fathers; and some larger companies are already allowing fathers to have two weeks paternity leave. So, with the government and larger companies starting to follow suit, it is down to the fathers to change their opinions: for example, in California, only 26% of men take the opportunity compared to 73% of women.
3. Since the U.S. began to shift from ‘brawn to brain’, there have been a number of changes: the male share of the labor force has gone from 70% in 1945 to less than 50% today with the advent of more and more women going out to work. Young, single, childless women are now considered to be the biggest commodity in the country’s biggest cities due to their feminist ambition and enlightened work ethos. So many men have found themselves out of work in recent years due to the recession and its masculine industry-targeting effect on construction and manufacturing: industries dominated by man.
4. The television is a huge source of our information: we build pre-conceived ideas of how things should be, based on what we see on our favourite programs. A resurgence of programs depicting men as being manly, such as The Deadliest Catch, Ax Men and Dirty Jobs: programs that depict men as being fishermen, loggers and as taking on difficult and dangerous roles. This contradiction with real life roles means that men are confused about whether to take on the ‘new macho’ role and focus more on being a father verses the “re-romanticized” notion of the masculine job.
5. The article states “Until recently, the concept of masculinity had always bent to the demands of the day." This implies that in the past, men have fitted the required social, whether that is a farmer, “a rugged individual” or a metrosexual father. With women fulfilling more roles within society, it is less necessary for men to meet specific demands. This means that their role is less defined and the ambiguity is causing some distress among male-circles. A modern thinking woman may consider the ideal concept of masculinity as being a man who loves his children and who would gladly stay at home to support his family while his wife goes out to work. A more traditional woman may be attracted to the idea of a man who gets his hands dirty and does a stereotypically masculine job such as a fire fighter or a logger. Masculinity appears to be entering into an extremely fluid stage of its evolution.
6. The men in my family reflect a number of different aspects of masculinity. My father, while not in a notably masculine role, does fulfil the macho role of having preconceived ideas about what is manly, while also working from home meant that he was also able to fulfil some metrosexual ideas of looking after his children. My uncle, however, definitely fulfils the metrosexual idea of staying at home to look after his daughter while his wife is the breadwinner. Their family works because they all view themselves as taking part and working as a team, rather than referring to out-dated, traditional roles.