Monday, May 14, 2007

GenXY defined

GenXY has two meanings. First, it refers to Generation X and the rising Generation Y. In other words, people roughly in their 20's and 30's.

The other meaning of GenXY has to do with gender. XY refers to male chromosomes. Most of what I have to say is intended for everyone, but there are topics I wish to aim at twenty- and thirty-something men. Men of this age, in my opinion, have been marginalized, ridiculed, and even demonized by the powers that be until their sense of collective identity has dissolved. I would like to address this from time to time.


The Suburban Urbanite said...

Just curious. How have the 20 and 30 year old men been "demonized?" Do you mean women are marginalizing them? How are they loosing their identity? (By the way most people, in my opinion do not have a true sense of identity until they reach their mid 30s--male OR female)

Justin Fischer said...

Those are good questions, and a fair point about identity. I do not mean personal identity, but collective identity.

When I was young there were certain traits that were requisite of manhood: physical strength, emotional stability, resilience, respect toward womanhood, etc. Of course there were traits that were mistakenly equated with masculinity that should not have been.

Contrast the "old" view of manhood with that of youth culture today. The current crop of "emo" kids is a great illustration. There seems no solid concept of what men should be about.

The "demonizing" and "marginalizing" are different degrees of the same problem. Consider popular culture. Who is the moron and who is the sage in every T.V. commercial? Remember the one where the jerk dad is in the backyard attempting to barbecue and lights the yard on fire? Or the one where the stupid dad and the stupider uncle try to jump a riding lawnmower over a pool? What are the women doing in the meantime? Typically something professional, wise, or otherwise mature.

Men are just big kids who can be trusted with little if you care to believe media portrayals. That is how men are marginalized. Most of it seems to be all in good fun, but there is evidence that men are achieving less in life (declining college graduation rates come to mind), and I submit that part of the problem is that expectations for men are lower than they once were.

Demonization is the other part of the story. I would expect that there are some who could read this comment and fairly label me as a misogynist. I once saw a male author labeled as such because he had said a certain woman scientist looked like a cheerleader (the reference, by the way, was clearly about how young new PhD graduates looked to his aging eyes). I have yet to see someone labeled a misandrist. (Firefox doesn't even recognize the word, but had no problem with "misogynist.")

Spouse abusers, child molesters, druggies. Who comes to mind? The most horrific acts of child sexual abuse I've ever heard of were performed by a woman. More than half of spouse abuse cases are woman against man. But who is the demon and who is the angel? What do people, men and women alike, believe about men? Are they incompetent nincompoops or he-man woman-haters?

Really, though, the modern view of men is just a pendulum swing away from the old view of women. There are still dusty old cultural references to how bad woman drivers are or the secretary called "toots" who is patted on the butt as she walks by. The old stereotypes of women are just as wrong as the current stereotypes of men. It would be really nice if we could just get passed it.

The Suburban Urbanite said...

huh. OK. Now I get it. Cool.