Dienstag, August 05, 2008

Der britische "Guardian" fragt: "Sind Männer die neuen Frauen?"

Eine der führenden Zeitungen Englands stellte am Sonntag die Frage, ob Männer inzwischen eine ähnliche Emanzipationsbewegung brauchen wie noch vor Jahrzehnten die Frauen. Ein Auszug aus dem Artikel:

Men appear to be confused about what they are and unsure about who they are meant to be. So with more of them feeling disenfranchised, disillusioned and disempowered, is it feasible to think of men as the new oppressed minority? Might men, in fact, be the new women? And, if so, who is to blame for making them feel marginalised?

In the UK, men account for 75 per cent of all suicides. They are twice as likely to die from the 10 most common cancers that affect both sexes and, typically, develop heart disease 10 years earlier than women. Although there is a national screening programme in place for cervical and breast cancer, there is no equivalent for men, in spite of prostate cancer claiming 6.7 per cent more deaths for men than cervical cancer in women.

While women still earn on average 12 per cent less than men and are severely under-represented in top-level corporate roles, men in full-time employment work an average of 41.9 hours a week, compared to women's 37.6 hours. According to the American men's-rights author Warren Farrell, there might be a glass ceiling for women, but there is also what he calls 'a glass cellar' for men. 'What I mean by that is men are both at the top of the economy scale and at the bottom. Of the 25 professions ranked the lowest [in the US], 24 of them are 85-100 per cent male. That's things like roofer, welder, garbage collector, sewer maintenance – jobs with very little security, little pay and few people want them.'

Farrell says that women generally prefer a more flexible work-life balance and that implies 40-hour weeks 'at most'. Often, mothers are able to work fewer hours only because they are financially supported by their male partners. This, he claims, is the real definition of power. 'I define power as "control over one's life". A balanced life is far superior to the male definition of power: earning money someone else spends while he dies sooner.'

(…) Meanwhile for many men, their loss of status in the home and the workplace is twinned with a loss of confidence in themselves. Neil Oliver, the television historian who has just published Amazing Tales for Making Men out of Boys, says that there is a conspicuous dearth of positive male role models. 'I grew up hearing tales of Ernest Shackleton and watching films like Zulu,' he says. 'The world in which I was a little boy was one of clearly defined roles for men and women and we don't have that any more, so men are struggling to readjust. Manly men have been hunted to near extinction in Britain and the concept of manliness has been outmoded. Yet the urge to be a man is a primal thing and still exists in boys today.'

In the classroom, too, boys are at risk of losing out on male role models. According to government figures for 2006, the ratio of newly qualified female to male teachers under the age of 25 was approaching seven to one. The introduction of coursework and modular exams is believed to play to traditionally female strengths – girls tend to be more methodical while boys tend to follow high-risk strategies such as cramming the night before an exam.

Some critics argue that this creeping 'feminisation' has led to girls outperforming boys on almost every level: they use more words, speak more fluently in longer sentences and with fewer mistakes. By the age of 11, some 76 per cent of boys have attained government-set literacy standards, compared to 85 per cent of girls. At GCSE level, 66.8 per cent of girls achieved A-C grades in 2007, compared to 59.7 per cent of boys (in real terms, this means they trail behind their female counterparts by nine years).

Do these statistics have any bearing on the everyday experiences of ordinary men? 'I don't know if I feel oppressed, but there's a sense in which women can talk about us with impunity,' says a 32-year-old male lawyer from London, who does not wish to give his name in case his female colleagues start pelting him with rotten tomatoes. 'I've been in the office on several occasions where sweeping generalisations have been made about the general crapness of men: "Oh, all men are useless, no wonder he couldn't get the job done in time" – that sort of thing. I don't take it all that seriously – at least, not yet – but I know that I wouldn't get away with saying the same things about women.'

For a long time, it wasn't particularly fashionable to stand up for men. Warren Farrell, the daddy of the so-called 'masculinist' movement, has been making his arguments since the late 1970s and frequently attracts outrage. His books –Why Men Earn More and his latest, Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? – seek to redress what he sees as an endemic sociocultural bias against his gender.

In almost all respects, he believes that men are now the weaker sex: 'The problem with feminism is that it saw man as the enemy. When only one sex wins, both sexes lose.'

Das war ein langes Zitat aus einem sehr viel längeren, insgesamt lesenswerten Artikel.

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