What does it mean to be a man? The feminist revolution of the sixties and other events such as the world wars and Vietnam resulted in men being unsure of what it means to be a man. The good men, the heroes of America, willingly left to go and die for their countries in World War I, World War II, Vietnam and various smaller battles that the United States fought to protect Americans and other people around the world. Tens of thousands of men died in those wars leaving women to raise their children alone. Over the generations, women have raised boys without imparting the knowledge of what it means to be a man—not because they wanted to, but because they were unable to provide the male perspective, advice and understanding that fathers are responsible for passing down to their sons. All this resulted in generations of men ignorant of what their purpose in life was. These men married women and had families without knowing their role or what they needed to provide for successful family life. Frustrated with being unable to create a happy home, many men gave up and left, turned to alcohol, became workaholics, became abusive emotionally or physically, etc. Women, meanwhile, were also forgetting what it meant for a man to be a man. After generations of seeing abusive or absent men, and often being the victims of such men, women became bitter and angry. This anger led to the feminist revolution where women burned their bras in protest of their mistreatment. They wanted to be treated as equals, but even more than that, women wanted to have men who behaved as men. Unfortunately, these women didn’t know what that meant and came up with their own definition. Basically, they decided that men should be the same as women. Men should be nurturing, loving, calm, affectionate, etc. These were all wonderful qualities that men actually should develop; however, the continuing anger and bitterness of women towards men and the fact that men haven’t embraced the feminist ideal of manhood shows that this definition isn’t totally appropriate. Women’s fears of being abused led to men being “sissified” or what therapists would call “emasculated.” In other words, their masculinity was taken away from them. The feminist revolution was the beginning of a change in our society from a standard of living to which we will never be able to return. Over 50 million women in the US are working. If they all quit tomorrow, the economy of the country would be ruined. The traditional family in which the man is the bread winner and the wife stays at home with the children has changed with most families being two income homes (often with the woman earning more money) and women expecting men to participate in child rearing equally. Traditional male jobs are declining and “pink-collar” jobs such as nursing and secretarial work are on the rise. How does today’s man fit into such a society? The old traditional norms no longer work and men MUST redefine what it takes to be a man just as women have redefined themselves. If men don’t do this, then problems of alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence and homicide will continue to rise and women will continue to become more and more angry at men. Men generally don’t realize how important they are to the family. Most men feel that they aren’t contributors for anything except keeping food on the table. Women, unfortunately, feel this as strongly if not stronger than men. It is rare to meet a woman who knows why she should have a man around. Common conversations among women are centered around hypothesizing on “what men are good for.” One woman said, “The only thing a guy is good for is sex and I can get that without having to go through the trouble of having him around all the time so why bother with a husband?” Another woman decided to adopt children and raise them as a single mother because she believed they’d be better off without a man around. While this is hard to hear, it’s understandable. Women have seen generations of men abandoning them and abusing them. Eighty percent of all murdered women are murdered by their boyfriend or husband and research shows that women’s happiness drops significantly after marriage. Having a man around is difficult, dangerous and seemingly pointless. However, research shows that men have a huge influence on their children’s cognitive ability, educational achievement, social behavior and psychological well-being. Women who are happy in their marriage are better mothers and have an easier time dealing with their children. Sons of fathers who treat their wives respectfully are significantly less likely to act aggressively towards women. Daughters of involved, respectful fathers are less likely to enter into violent or unhealthy relationships. On the other hand, research has shown that husbands who display anger, show contempt for, or who stonewall their wives (i.e., "the silent treatment") are more likely to have children who are anxious, withdrawn, or antisocial. In short, fathers have a powerful and positive impact upon the development and health of children and some research shows that fathers have a more powerful impact on children than mothers, even when the father is absent. What do women really want from men? While women have attempted to define (and redefine) what it means to be a man, they do not feel that they’ve succeeded in getting what they want. Most have given up and retreated into bitterness and contempt towards men. The real question is, what does a woman actually want? Women’s bitterness and anger stems from generations of frustration of not getting this mysterious quality from men. If men can figure out what a woman really wants and give it to her, they can put an end to the disrespectful resentment that women often aim at men. The problem is that women don’t know what they want either. Just as men have forgotten what it means to be a man, women have forgotten what they need from men and why it’s so important to them that they have a man in their life. Men understand that women are great at providing nurturance, affection, love, etc. that a man needs. But what does a woman need? While it’s not politically correct, women need stability. All men have heard some woman say this, but neither men nor women generally understand what this means. Usually, we interpret it to mean that women want a man’s money. This leads to men working their butts off to provide financially for their families and yet they still come home to an angry woman. This is because financial stability is only a small part of the overall concept of stability. So what does stability mean? A good definition is “the quality or attribute of being firm and steadfast.” Okay, stop and think about that. A good man, a man that a woman absolutely must have for her personal happiness and sanity, a man who is providing what his family needs is firm and steadfast. One more time: A good man is firm…and steadfast… Has that really sunk in? This is what a woman wants you to be. This is why women across the world are angry and pissed off. They want you to be firm and steadfast. Yet how do men generally react towards women? They give in to women’s anger because it’s easier and they want to stop their women from being angry; they hide from emotional and family problems; they aren’t around when women need them; they often abandon them and abuse them or at the very least are so sensitive to criticism that the family feels they have to walk around on egg shells in order not to get an explosion of anger. All of these behaviors are instability. The man is not being firm and steadfast in his beliefs or his behavior. So why is this stability so important to women? A psychologist named Abraham Maslow came up with a pyramid of needs in which he prioritized human needs into a hierarchy. Take a look at the pyramid. Everyone is striving towards self-actualization or becoming the best that they can be. However, we need to meet our bottom needs in order to move up to the next level and eventually to the level of self-actualization. The first thing we need is our physiological needs such as food and water. Then we need safety and security such as shelter, health and protection. These two needs must be met before we can begin giving and receiving love, affection and belonging. This third level is what women excel at. Women are professionals in giving love and providing a sense of belonging. However, for a woman to be able to do what she does best, she must have her physiological needs met and her safety and security needs met. In other words, in order for a woman to be able to do what she does best, she must have stability. Can you begin to understand why this characteristic is SOOOOO important to women now? Men are the professionals at providing stability and are as good at that as women are at giving love. If a man does not provide stability to his wife, he takes away her ability to love, he takes away her womanhood. Most men understand how important their job is. It almost defines who you are. Well to a woman, her ability to provide love defines who she is. The despair and anger men feel when they lose their job is the same despair and anger a woman feels when her husband fails to provide security for her. Now imagine, a man generally goes unemployed for a short period of time. A woman in an unstable marriage feels these horrible feelings for years or even a lifetime. An interesting twist to this pyramid of needs is that while a woman’s greatest need is security, a man’s greatest need is at the self-esteem level. Men need to be respected. Men’s anger towards women is generally because she acts so disrespectfully towards him. As women are vulnerable to the fear of instability, men are vulnerable to the fear of contempt. Men tend to avoid arguments with their wives because they want to avoid being disrespected and they don’t know what else to do except get angry and demand her respect or give her the silent treatment. If you look at the hierarchy of needs, a woman is not able to provide men with respect if her other needs aren’t being met. The ability to be respectful is a level 4 need. She must meet her needs of 3 lower levels in order to progress to the fourth level. If a man wants his wife to stop her bitterness, contempt and anger, he must help her to meet her needs first because they are more fundamental than his. In other words, he must provide her with stability by being firm and steadfast and then with love by being a friend who is affectionate, intimate. Only then she can begin to do what she is proficient at which is loving and being loved and then progress to being respectful. When a man is providing stability and love to a woman, only then can she be respectful to him. Yes, this is putting a huge amount of the responsibility on the man. It’s not politically correct, but it’s true. Men have the power to create healthy, happy relationships and families. Women try hard and can even sometimes succeed, but they do not have the power to change the family like men do. Look at almost any marriage and any family and you’ll see a woman who is fighting tooth and nail to change things for the better, but it cannot happen if the man doesn’t use his talent for creating stability. Men are more powerful than they can imagine and families will not heal and achieve happiness if men don’t begin to recognize their power to change lives. Exercise 1 Take some time to think about what it means for you to be a man. Women cannot continue to define masculinity; therefore, you as a man have to decide what a man in this time period needs to be. Write down ten things that are vital components for a man to be a real man. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Exercise 2 How does it change your view of your role as a man now that you understand some of the huge impact that men have on the world around them? Did you have any idea that you, as a man, are so powerful in other people’s lives? Do you feel that you’re living up to your potential and your responsibility as a man? Exercise 3 What does it mean for you to be firm and steadfast? What would you be like if you were always firm and steadfast? What things would change? How can you provide stability to your family?