A man’s role in today’s world is different to 50 years ago, but by how much, is the question, and what responsibilities go with that role?
The age of feminism has been a great thing and we have a much more balanced approach these days which is an important benefit. We haven’t got it right yet of course, but we also have not accurately defined what a man’s role is in this new environment. It cannot change too much because we are what we are, however, there obviously needs to be a bit of tweaking so we can adjust to the new normal.
Historically men are protectors and providers - that should not diminish; but we do have to include the new role of women that recognises that they can do this now as well. Women have been empowered but that does not mean men have to lose power.
True power comes from within, one’s own ability to have influence over circumstances. Any other type of power is given or taken from others and that, as we have seen through history, is not a healthy situation at all.
To be in a group of men is a powerful experience, the masculinity, testosterone and banter all reek of strength and dominance. Of course, these words express the extreme - jocks at school or a football team, but that is the stereotype. When one is accepted into a group of men like this it is exhilarating, it has a lot of high male energy. So, when you experience this power it is important to use it responsibility.
Men are blessed with masculinity and with-it physical strength, the ability to focus and work in teams. The reason is to hunt and protect, roles that do apply today but very differently. The primal brain still governs us when it comes to matters of survival. The conscious brain however must also contribute as we need to live together in groups and therefore get along with each other.
Men can be decisive, and many are driven to take charge by their primal brain, but the conscious brain needs to limit this and ensure we understand that we may not have all the information required or the empathy needed to get it right for everyone.
A man’s self-awareness can be measured by his ability to consider others and their views before letting his own ego take total control. Life is built on balance now, unlike the old Charles Darwin rule “survival of the fittest”, the maxim now reads survival of those who best adapt.
Today self-aware women may still want to see and be with a powerful man, but they will need empathy, self-control, and consideration for others, not the old stereotypical Alpha male.
The 21st Century Alpha male is one who is caring, protective and secure, one who can provide security and safety but also lead by example, hands on and involved. This makes it a much more complex role than that of his forefathers.
The masculine power needs to be put towards new conscious exercises such as leadership, partnership i.e., balancing with the feminine, for example involvement in family and the day-to-day care of children and others.
In my book “The Answer is You” I mentioned the importance of men being rewarded and for women to feel secure. Just as a woman needs to be able to trust a man, a man needs to feel he is needed and belongs, he needs to feel a sense of significance to satisfy the deep-rooted or ingrained elements in his DNA that make him a man.
The new elements of a man’s role in the 21st century would be more empathy, respect, self-discipline, and more intellectualism. Men will need to embrace emotional fitness and cognisant control. Losing one’s temper is now not acceptable.
The parameters of our relationships have changed too, women deliver so much more now and need to be supported in all roles, men are not always sure how this is to be achieved.
Let me give men some hard learned hints:
1. Listen without needing to fix.
2. Lead from the middle of the crowd, do not manger from the front. In other words, get involved in the day-to-day tasks.
3. Be an equal partner in all things. Do not just follow and don’t lead without consulting.
4. Exercise (use) your cognitive thoughts to control how you feel.
5. Be independent and allow her to be independent.
6. Care and look through other’s eyes before judging.
8. Respect, honour and protect.
9. Communicate with intent to understand first, and to be understood later.
10. Acknowledge her and allow space.
Being a modern male in this century is not about adapting the old norms and behaviours, it’s about dropping some of them all together and adding new ones. Old
derogatory jokes between guys are no longer acceptable, but that does not mean we can’t be funny. We need to stay masculine, strong and focus on being a responsible individual regardless of what gender we are.