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Who’s Wearing The Pants Now? Part 2

In part 1 of this series, I spoke about how the male gender is struggling.  Men in the 21st century are expected to not only uphold the traditional masculine stereotypes of self-reliance, restricted emotionality, and toughness, but they are also being asked to “embrace there feminine side” and be sensitive and emotionally available.  In other words, guys today are not only expected to climb over the competition on their way up the corporate ladder, but they are also asked to enjoy taking the kids to play group and watching Pride and Prejudice for the tenth time with the wife.

To make matters worse, men are expected to keep these aspects of themselves separate, because if the guys find out that you enjoy Pride and Prejudice, you can expect to have your “maleness” seriously challenged.  As a result, I think men, though well intentioned, often feel frustrated and inadequate to meet the various, inherently conflicting demands placed upon them, which in turn can lead to disillusionment and disconnect.  What can we men do?   And, what can you do to help the men in your life?  Here are a few ideas.

1)  We need to redefine what it is to be man.

Back in 1963, it was said that “there is only one complete unblushing male in America: a young, married, white, urban, northern, heterosexual, Protestant father of college education, fully employed, of good complexion, weight, and height, and a recent record in sports.”[1]  I think the same could be said for today, some 50 years later.  And, that’s a problem.

We need a clear and achievable definition of masculinity that provides the necessary flexibility for men to meet the demands of the 21st century.  Sure it’s ok to have any or all of the attributes listed above, but is should also be ok for men to be different…to lack confidence from time to time, to feel sadness or shame, to experience unemployment or find out they are impotent.  A man should not blush if he is NOT white, heterosexual, married, young, athletic, well educated, etc.  There has to be a way to keep what is good about being a man and add the attributes we need to adapt and achieve success in our lives.  Speaking of this…

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Married Men Have Better Sex

Finally, there’s some definitive evidence to suggest the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence.  There is a popular sentiment that married men feel stuck, unsatisfied and terribly jealous of their single friends, who seem to have all the fun.  This sentiment has been carried on by movies like It’s a Wonderful Life, and more recently by The Family Man or The Change-Up.  It seems as though at times married men question if being married is worth it.  Well, in a new article by Everyday Health.com, research suggests there are many ways men benefit from tying the knot, and some may surprise you.

Read the article.

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Who’s Wearing the Pants Now? Part One

To put it bluntly, the male gender is struggling.  Currently, for every two college degrees earned by men, women earn three.  The majority of the nation’s jobs are held by women, who have seen their overall earnings grow 44% since 1970.  Over the same period of time, men’s earnings have grown just 6%.   During this recession, three quarters of the jobs lost were by men, and of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most over the coming decade, only two are occupied primarily by men.  Most alarmingly, while only one in twenty working-age men were unemployed in 1950, today that ratio has increased to one in five.

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Men & Depression

Last week Dr. Todd Dunn & I did an interview with Rebecca Cressman of Utah Families show on FM100.3 on Men & Depression.

Did you know that men’s depression symptoms may differ from women?

Did you know that many men mask their depression by substance use, working excessively, or engaging in reckless behavior?

Do you know that 7% of men in any given year suffer from depression?

Do you know how to spot warning signs?

Get tips on how to help the men and boys in your life become more emotionally healthy and where to get help if you or a loved one is suffering from depression

Listen to “Men & Depression” interview online HERE

Dr. Todd Dunn is a Licensed Psychologist at Wasatch Family Therapy specializing in men’s mental health & I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Owner/Clinical Director of Wasatch Family Therapy.

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