Thursday, June 5, 2008

Males and "Props"

Pertinent to representations of masculinity in our course texts, all by women writers, that privilege size and power (in line with Charles Darwin's doctrine of sexual selection), is this article in today's Vancouver Sun on men who are avoiding fatherhood.

The article discusses an academic study, where "University of B.C. sociologist Nathanael Lauster examined more than 60 years of U.S. census data," and uses terminology explicitly in terms of performance:

Men are getting "stage fright" and turning away from fatherhood because many can't afford the "props," such as a house, that they believe are necessary to being a good father, according to research presented Wednesday at a massive conference of Canadian academics.
The article also invokes concepts relevant to the "freemale" idea, satirised in the character of Bridget Jones's mother, as well as the books attack on failure of "commitment" as a mark of failure of masculinity:

....starting in the 1970s, a shift occurred in which stay-at-home wives became less common, while owning a home became a more socially important "stage prop" for good fatherhood, he said.
That has contributed to lower fertility rates because some men choose not to father children, Lauster said, and to more single motherhood as others flee fatherhood responsibilities.
Lauster also studies cultural changes affecting families, including the sexual revolution.

1 comment:

Rosellas_Handmaidens said...

Doesn't this sound an awful lot like special pleading? I mean, with the shrinkage in women's clothing fashions caused by our "erotomania" (as you so eloquently put it last semester, Dr. Ogden) who's really doing the "performing"? I'm sick to death of men whinging and complaining over criteria for masculinity that they put in place. If you don't like it ... do something about it. I mean, that is the masculine principle in a nutshell (no pun intended) isn't it? Do something.

Maybe if women could get a decent wage for a day's work, it would be easier to own a home. A little equality goes a long way.