What role should men play in feminism?

Images of men for the future

From male dominance to feminism

It was only in the course of the bourgeois and industrial revolution that these conditions began to become more flexible and modern. From the 18th century, the hierarchical stratification was gradually replaced by functional sub-areas, the spheres of the public and the private were formed. Man divided himself into his self and the roles that he could play in modern society. That could lead to surprising counter-drafts, such as one early variant of the "softies" that was popular around 1800: sensitive men who wrote letters and were always close to tears. Nevertheless, the classic division of roles between men and women remained for a long time, and the bourgeois nuclear family continued to form the mandatory model of life.

That changed suddenly with the Cultural Revolution of 1968: The public style became more informal, a new age of sensibility began. Greens and women's movements made a traditionally "feminine" Social style of intimate communication popular. Public life, previously a male-dominated domain, became “more feminine”, and women became “more masculine” - also through their aggressive advocacy of a female communication style.

For the man this opened up new options to live out his identity, from the softie to the gay to the househusband. But he continued to do so self-centered, with no real distance to one's own role. This was also shown by the emphatically "male" identity designs of the 1980s: Macho, yuppie and adventure single were the first harbingers of the crisis of meaningthat started in the 90s. At least now, at the transition from the industrial to the information society, it became clear that almost everything that was previously considered exclusively “male” has been devalued, above all the physical labor. Women were just as well equipped for the tasks of the new knowledge and communication economy. At least.

Today: the split man

Women today have increasing influence in all areas of public life. This epochal change is becoming more and more visible in the new network economy: in the “social business” Soft skills such as communication skills, empathy and the ability to work in a team. The traditional male focus on hierarchy, status and competition is downright damaging to business. The increasing flexibility of work and production conditions also favors “soft” skills. Women are thus actually becoming the superior sex - and for men breaks the foundation of her manhood, by which they had defined themselves for centuries and almost as a matter of course.

Basically, feminism is now catching up with men themselves. Much like women have to do today between different role expectations change and make situation-dependent decisions. “The masculine” is split up from the inside, so to speak, and opens space for a variety of possible characteristics and a new plurality of roles. For example in the area of ​​partnership and family, where “new” men strive for new relationship and father qualities.

The era of the unbounded sex

Go with it too Tendencies towards retraditionalizationbe it in the form of decidedly “male” products (such as the cooking magazine “Beef!”) or lifestyle trends such as the beard hype. At the same time, however, these trends confirm that a redefinition is in full swing: according to the "Gender Paradox"-Phenomenon, the differences in gender identities are more pronounced, the more equitable a society actually is. In Norway, decades of “gender-sensitive” upbringing led to a revival of well-known male and female professions.

We live in the age of the "unbounded" gender: "The" women and "the" men no longer exist, masculinity and femininity should always be thought of in the plural, and lifestyles are practicable regardless of gender, age and social origin. Facebook has also recognized this and the number of its Gender options in profile increased from two to 58. This equalization also creates a historically unique situation: For the first time, men have to adapt to womenin order to be able to keep up socio-culturally - before it was always the other way around.