After almost 40 years of feminist agitation and gender-neutral pronouns, it is still men who are far more likely than women to run for political office, start companies, file for patents, and blow things up. Men continue to tell most of the jokes and write the vast majority of editorials and letters to editors.(And blogs.)
And--fatal to the dreams of feminists who long for social androgyny--men have hardly budged from their unwillingness to do an equal share of housework or childcare. Moreover, women seem to like manly men: "Manliness is still around, and we still find it attractive," says Mansfield.We? Harvey's a guy. And while I'm here, let me say that the arithmetic on the housework sharing question is always screwy. There is no whole from which to figure out what half is. If you think an hour a day is the right total and your partner thinks an hour a week is the right total, how much does he need to do to avoid the charge that he hasn't done his share?
Skipping way ahead in the article (past a long section on philosophy that I won't try to summarize):
What would Mansfield have us do?...A classic feminist question is why must it be women's job to make men good? One answer is that men will be so horribly bad if we don't.
First of all, he thinks we should clearly distinguish between the public realm and private life. In public we should pursue, as best we can, a policy of gender neutrality. He firmly believes that the law should guarantee equal opportunity to men and women. However, "our expectations should be that men will grasp the opportunity more readily and more wholeheartedly than women."
Though he mentions it only in passing, it follows from his position that our schools should be more respectful and accepting of male spiritedness; they must stop trying to feminize boys. A healthy society should not war against human nature. It should, he says, "reemploy masculinity." That means it has to civilize it and give it things to do. No civilization can achieve greatness if it does not allow room for obstreperous males.
In the private sphere, his advice is vivé la difference! A woman should not expect a manly man to be as committed to domesticity as she is; nor should she assume that he is as emotionally adept as her female friends. Manly men are romantic rather than sensitive. They need a lot of help from females to ascend to the higher ethical levels of manhood, and Mansfield urges women to encourage them in ways respectful of their male pride.
ADDED: I hate when I have to get out my sledgehammer, but some hotheads writing about me elsewhere don't get my sarcasm. I heartily resist the notion that it is women's work to make men good.