Good for the daughter but not for the wife
I think we can all see the problem with this:
And other problems linger:
By more than two to one, men say that it is harder to be a man today compared with their father’s generation–and a number of the reasons focused on changes in their relationships with women.
It is clear to me that these blurred lines and conflicted feelings are not easily divided by demographics or ideological leanings either.
This is just one of the insights from a recent Hart Research Associates poll for the Shriver Report Snapshot: An Insight Into the 21st Century Man. The online survey was conducted among 818 men 18 and older.
Eighty-five percent of men say they are clear in their role in society today, but 45% say it is harder to be a man today compared to their father’s generation, while just 20% say it is easier to be a man today (35% say it is no easier or harder). For those who say it is harder to be a man, a number of the most common reasons stem from changes in relationships with women, including that women are in a stronger position in the workplace and financially; men are taking on a greater share of household responsibilities; and more demands are being placed on men.
While the old mold in male-female relationships has been broken, it’s clear that the new shape has yet to set. Sixty-three percent of men say they are very comfortable living with or being married to a woman who works outside the home, and 51% are very comfortable with a female partner earning more money than they do. But 56% of men agree, generally speaking, that men are more concerned about making good impressions and earning the respect of other men than earning the respect of women. And while a majority are very comfortable with their female partner working outside the home, just 24% of men said they would be very comfortable being a stay-at-home dad and not working outside the home.
These blurred lines and conflicted feelings about relationships with women are present in another way. Men were asked to select from a list of 10 terms the two or three qualities they deem most important in a wife or female partner. From the same list, they were asked to identify the most important qualities in their daughter when she grows up. Intelligence topped the list for a wife or female partner at 72% and for a daughter at 81%. But the ranking of qualities on both lists diverge after this, sometimes with wide gaps. While 45% of men consider being attractive one of the most important qualities for their wife or female partner, just 11% said so for their daughter. Similarly, 34% specified being sweet as a key quality for a female partner, but just 19% said the same for a daughter. Conversely, men are much more likely to cite being independent (66% for daughter; 34% for wife/female partner) and strong (48% daughter, 28% wife/female partner) as most important qualities for a daughter...
I just post this as a little FYI to illustrate that the issues around gender are very complicated and in the most intimate ways. As a good friend of mine pointed out the other day, women bear the additional burden of seeking equality not only in the public sphere but must often deal with oppressors who have no idea they are oppressors and with whom they share their private life as well. Let's just say that it's complicated for everyone and pretending that it isn't merely serves the status quo.