As you read this, I'll be attending TEDWomen 2016 in San Francisco, where I'm telling the story of The Future of Men to an audience of feminists. I'm proud to be included among them, and to have defined several years ago the emerging story of the evolution of men that I wrote about in The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century. The book anticipated the current destructive political gender debate. In my introduction explaining why I wrote the book, I commented:
"As I wrote this book, I recognized how our society, culture, companies, and lives are permeated by inappropriate sexual activity, sexism, misogyny, and pornography--and how accepted this has become. I listened with more awareness as my male colleagues engaged in obviously inappropriate sexual banter and behavior, none of them considering that it was dangerous, painful, destructive, and offensive.
"I also recognized an emerging cultural backlash in the media and among both male and female organizations that is polarizing gender issues and creating more distance between men and women instead of building healthier relationships and moving us forward on a path toward mutual respect and understanding. It became apparent that as society appropriately focuses growing attention on women's equality and issues, young men need an advocate and support as they navigate the challenging and confusing new world that the growing success of the women's movement is creating."
In Chapter 5 of The Future of Men, I predicted Donald Trump's response to his recent woman problem.
"What are we teaching our sons? For generations, men have lived in a state of constant denial. For many, the earliest lesson taught to them by their fathers was that if caught in a compromising situation, the one single rule to live by was to deny, deny, deny. This code permeates society, from 'Weinergate' and Chris Christie to Bashar al-Assad's refusal to admit to using chemical weapons and from Bill Clinton's 'never had sex with that woman' to the Republican Party's steadfast refusal to admit that the attack on Iraq was misguided."
For those who may wonder at the vitriol being leveled at our future President Clinton, I called attention to its history in chapter 20:
"A 2010 study... found that political cartoons from the 2008 presidential election represented Hillary Clinton as smaller in size, uglier, and more violent than her male counterparts Barack Obama and John McCain. Even more disturbing, a statistically significant number of cartoons showed Clinton being the target of violence, and much more than the male candidates."
I concluded The Future of Men with this commentary:
"Both men and women who grew up with a fundamental belief in traditional male/female roles will hold on for dear life to their prescriptive place in the world--a world in which the man has dominance over his kingdom, exerting physical, financial, and emotional control over his kingdom, exerting physical, financial, and emotional control over his family and workplace. But it's a serious error to assume that the same dynamics that formed the male and female realities of the past one hundred plus years will be those that inform the next hundred.
"We are entering a new age of female dominance and a reshaping of the male psyche, the male libido, and the male ego. This is the new reality, and it will gain greater and greater momentum. Nothing in the history of humanity can prepare us for this newly upside-down world. We cannot look to the past or even the present for rules to help us navigate the future. We can only accept or fight the inevitable ascendency of women and the dramatically shifting roles of men. We can, it seems, rely on the genetic stability of women to guide us into the future, collaboratively and cooperatively with men, to achieve a more stable and healthier gender balance."
Marketers; agency creative writers and art directors; video and music producers, performers and writers; news directors; journalists and editors; and all those invested in media, advertising and marketing must heed the changes in gender norms that will sweep through government, business, culture and society in the next four years. Pay attention!
Following my session 4 talk at TEDWomen on Thursday (live stream link is TEDWomen), I'm speaking at the S.H.E. Summit in New York on Saturday October 29. On November 3, I'll be on stage at the 3% Conference and on November 5, I'm being interviewed by CNBC correspondent Contessa Brewer at the BRAVE Summit. This commentary was originally published at MediaVillage.com.
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