Only 30 percent of adult men under 30 identify themselves as “completely masculine,” according to a survey conducted by YouGov. What’s more, 18 percent — almost 1 in every 5 American men — identify themselves as more feminine than masculine. The study included a random sample of men, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Men in their thirties and early forties were significantly more likely to rate themselves as masculine, and men ages 45 and up overwhelmingly responded that they are completely masculine or almost completely masculine.
Until now, conventional wisdom had held that millennials were redefining gender roles. Now, it appears that the men of our generation are rejecting gender roles altogether. And plenty of women are doing the same: The same YouGov study found that 12 percent of women identify themselves as more masculine than feminine.
The Washington Post ascribes this shift to changing gender roles. Women are getting more college degrees, and often out-earning their boyfriends and husbands. Even if a man wants to be the protector, sometimes economic circumstances dictate that he cannot. There are other men who ask for a date and pay the tab at the end of the night…and then promptly use their Venmo app to ask their dates for reimbursement for the cost of their drinks or meal. How hurtful and tactless, to have someone spend time and money to get to know you and then request a refund. If anyone ever does this to you and you have the self-restraint to not burn down his apartment building, you deserve a medal.
For the first time in more than a century, more young adult men are living with their parents than are living with a romantic partner. Women, however, are more likely to live with a partner than with their parents.
But, the financial chapter is not the whole story. It’s certainly not the only way to care for and protect someone — a relationship is, after all, mostly about emotional needs. Be there, be supportive, open the jars, and kill the spiders. No matter who is the breadwinner, or who is winning more bread, opportunities for masculinity still exist. However, the study shows that some men have little to no interest in taking them.
The Washington Post also says that men “looking forward to raising children” makes them less masculine. I respectfully submit the opposite: Men who seek fatherhood are more masculine. It’s probably one of the manliest things that a person could possibly do, in that only men are able to do it. (I make an exception for the Caitlyn Jenners of the world, knowing that those are exceptional cases and that the vast majority of women will never be fathers.)
The cultural shift away from masculinity is the sum total of millions of individuals living their own lives, in their own way. To each their own, right? It’s not necessarily a problem…unless you’re a heterosexual millennial woman seeking a partner. Potential partners who are “manly men” are now in short supply. This is not another rant about “where have all the good men gone?” (Those, I dispense only after several glasses of wine). This is about where all the manly men have gone.
The American man used to be a rugged cowboy who protected his wife and children. Now, he has a bun and does yoga…just like many American women.