Physical attributes aside, are men becoming obsolete?  First, a tip of the hat to the article that got me thinking about this:  “Why Are We So Conflicted About Manhood In The Modern Age?”  which I found at the blog The Art of Manliness.  It’s a good blog and not what you’d think given the name.

So, anyway back to my thoughts.  I don’t think I’m alone in my belief that early in the history of mankind (personkind?) gender roles developed because the division of labor was essential to the very survival of the social unit, be it family or tribe (the neccessity of the social unit is another story entirely).  Men being physically larger and stronger took on the now familair male roles of hunter, warrior and protector while women, the bearers of offspring took on the female roles of caretaker and nurturer. As history has progressed and civilization taken hold the lines between gender roles have blurred.  Now we find ourselves at a point in history where resources have never been more plentiful and the environment has never been safer for individuals.  Whereas is the past people grouped together for survival or protection, an individual can today survive and indeed thrive on their own without the support of a family or tribe.  So what of the gender roles?  Modern societies still have need for the traditonal female gender roles as not much has changed regarding child bearing, rearing and the need for a nurturing environment.  But the need for tradional male gender roles has faded.  Sustenance is easily acquired, no skill in hunting is required.  Such protection as is now needed is provided by a slim percentage of the population that is increasingly female.  Technology makes many of the tasks required for “survival” as easily performed by women as men.  Further, the actions associated with female gender roles seem to be actions that one might be naturally inclined to take, while the male actions involve a level of physical exertion or danger and so might require a certain amount of inner discipline to undertake.  And if it’s not essential, why bother?


Being a man


Taken a step further, male behavioral traits today are often looked upon with disdain and indeed young boys are discouraged of boyish behavior in school.  Normal “boy” behavior is now called hyperactivity or ADHD and many boys grow up today without a male role model and so never learn to properly emulate male behavior.  As the human race continues to evolve, will the male of the species be relegated to “drone” status, required only for physical tasks that machines can’t perform or fertilization of the queen(s)?  When all is said and done does society today have any need for male behavior, or are men expected now  to just be women with penises?

I’m still working on the answers to those questions.  But one thing I do know – men and women are different.  Physically and mentally.  In their motivations and their responses.  And so there will always be some human behaviors that will be considered male (and female).  The questions will remain – the answers will change as we do.