The poor American Male. The poor, misunderstood American Male. The poor, misunderstood, misguided American Male. Newsweek's article made me laugh out loud, not because of our wretched American Male populace, but because I recognized my own experience in their lament.
Return with me if you will to the late 70s, early 80s, when women in business wore a feminized version of a male business suit. We also wore what my friend Priscilla called "floppy discs" around our necks, those dreadful paisley things that were a cross between a bow tie and a scarflette. I was one of those women in the sneakers, sailing up sixth Avenue on my lunch hour, desperately trying to keep my floppy disc from flapping in my lipstick.
Perhaps I'm being unkind but the mythology of human development has it that boys definitively lag behind girls and always have. Forgive me, but ... duh.
So, Newsweek, my friends, let me tell you what's really happening to the American Male. The credential I claim is having been through it myself.
In those sneaker/business suit years, women had just about had enough of being second class everythings -- from voters to parents to coworkers. So what did we do? We got real. And we have spent the succeeding decades noticing, acknowledging and working with what Carl Jung would have called our animi. Code: the inner masculine in all women.
We found out where and when we wanted to be soft and emotional and where and when we wanted our own set of brass ... knuckles. It was experimentation, discovered, uncharted territory and we who pioneered it were brave, truculent and loud a lot of the time.
Regardless, women found their inner strength and began to use it everywhere in our lives.
So, American Male, take it from someone who's been there in reverse. The same thing is happening to you, only Jung would call your journey a connection to the anima, or the feminine energy within each man. Think of it as a journey of connection to connection, connection to your softer, more yielding, gentle and loving aspects.
Think of the relief you'll feel when you put down the burden of machismo that our civilization seems to have ordered up for real men, and the even greater relief you'll feel when you give yourself permission to be a whole, emotional, connected, caring human.
Just so you'll be motivated to keep going, I want to make you a promise. The day I got it that I didn't have to be sweet, pretty, helpless, bad at math and a host of other things that I was told being a real woman meant, I was set free. And it felt great.
Hang in there, guys. You'll get there, and once you do, you'll understand that you're worth it.