The Emasculation of men
by Ros Roberts
A couple of thousand millenia ago man peeked out of his cave to go kill a beast for his meal, he wasn't really interested in marinating or cooking it, at least beyond the necessary hygiene processes for survival. As he took a tentative step from the entrance of his domain he saw a finely built woman walking by with a group of women from a tribe that he hadn't come across before. Something instinctively in him knew that she would be good breeding stock for his own perpetuation. None of this was registering in a logical thought process in his mind, it was just a deep instinctive feeling. He walked from the door of his cave armed with his club, yet he really had nothing to fear as they were just a group of physically weaker two legged individuals.
He approached the group and walked straight up to the woman and grunted. “Uggghhh”. She whispered to her friends, something a bit longer than his “ugghh”, but he really didn’t understand what they were saying. They giggled amongst themselves. Now this irritated him for a minute………that there was some language they were using that he wasn’t familiar with and whether he was being ridiculed by them, but the feeling soon passed. He had the club, and he knew what he wanted. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her back inside his dark domain. None of the other women tried to stop him, in fact, the woman that he wanted seemed to succumb without any resistance.
Time went on, he kept the woman as his own, but she encouraged him to move closer to her clan so that she could still to gather as she had done before. He met a few other men from the clan and they began to hunt together – it was safer in many ways, so it made good sense. Each day they would go hunt and the women would sit around the home base gathering nuts within the safe confines of their camp and talking in their funny little language. The man was happy, the woman was happy. Their survival stood a much stronger chance as a group. Well, she still got in the way sometimes………it was easier to fend off a predator if he only had to fight for himself rather than worry about what was going on back at camp, but something deep inside himself enjoyed the feeling of being able to protect her and he knew it would ensure the perpetuation of his own kind.
Fast forward to 1950’s………..men had just come back from a war, and had really proven their worth as the protector and provider. Technological advances brought us consumerism; refrigerators, washing machines and a myriad of appliances which made our caretaking jobs so much easier. So, of course, we should make their lives and homes more enjoyable, so that they could continue to go out and earn and give us more material things to elevate our status.
We had less homemaking work, and more time on our hands. We no longer needed to sew our own clothes – Chinese factories could do that for much less, we no longer needed to scrub our clothes in a stream with a rock, or even to stir them with the hot coil of earlier decades, we just had to throw them in. Cities grew, shops were further than a walk to the corner, so we got these new refrigerators to keep more for longer and said goodbye to the iceman.
And we were BORED out of our brains. Many intelligent women started to question if there was more to life than just breeding babies. There was less female gathering; friends and families lived some distance away, and the extended family started to dissipate as we became more engrossed with material consumption. Women started to question life, and felt increasingly alienated from other women, particularly the older generation and we began to separate from each other more into individual and isolated lives. Women were no longer willing to tolerate a marriage where the husband may have a mistress or a marriages of dominance and subservience, or worse still, violence at the hands of their husbands.
Divorce laws began to change, birth control became as simple as taking one pill each night; women now had a choice how many children they could have. They could work without the horror and disapproval of family and friends and they began to gain financial independence where they no longer needed their men to bring home the “kill”. Their homes were relatively safe, there were no wolves at the door that their physically stronger husbands had to fight off.
What were men good for? For a while, not much. We realised that if we asked for what we wanted, we could enjoy sex and we didn’t have to submit to it without choice. We could actually say “no”.
“Honey, I want to talk first.”
“Tell me what you are thinking?”
“I wish you were more sensitive and could understand what I am feeling”
“I want more from this marriage”
“Ugggghhh” man thinking (in abstract – because he’s not too good at words) along the lines of kill, food, sex, what is it you want????
Okaaaayyy……so now guy is told that he’s supposed to do something else, something that really isn’t too good in his biological DNA. He’s supposed to “relate”
So he tries, and he tries, he busts his butt to actually express himself. And over and over again, he exposes himself to the risk that he will be eaten alive by showing his vulnerabilities.
He dares to cry………..and suddenly he’s called a wimp! He tries to talk the way she wants him to, but he’s not too good at getting out what he wants to say and it might get thrown back in his face in the next argument. It was so much easier when he just had to kill stuff!
We asked men to be sensitive, to give us more than just providing – we got pretty good at doing that ourselves. But we expected them to be all things, we expected them to be our emotional confidante as well as our physical provider. And there’s a risk there for them – as soon as they open themselves up, their guard comes down and they are at greater risk from predators, even if it was the female who found his vulnerability.
In essence, we cut off their balls. We left them flailing and never knowing what they were supposed to be. They’ve never been too good at this talking stuff, yet they try, and many do very well at it. But in the process they’ve also had to give up part of being a man. As soon as the woman subconsciously realises that, he’s weaker to her. And yet, instinctively some deep recess of her primitive make up still wants that protector.
Men’s suicide rate has increased dramatically since the mid-sixties, whereas women’s has declined considerably. They are not comfortable in this new mould. Yet we still ask so much of them. WE are also responsible for the emasculation of men and we need to get ourselves back to a point of understanding between the two. I wouldn’t like to see men to go back to the cave days by any means, but I do applaud those who’ve been able to make the transition through the metaphorical open plains and exposed themselves to the risks that we’ve demanded of them. Hopefully over the next couple of generations we can get it to a happy equilibrium, where men can find their identity that will make them comfortable within themselves – and they can still keep their balls.