Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"You are man-ish"

In Tuesday's Arts section of the New York Times i came across this article entitled,"Downsized and Downtrodden, Men are the New Women on TV." The article discusses the recent shift in portrayal of men on new television sitcoms. It focuses on the main characters of the two new shows "Last Man Standing" and "Man Up." I personally have not seen either of the shows, or heard anything about them until this article. However, reading the article does prompt me to think about how men have recently been portrayed compared to past male television figures. I think back to popular television shows in the past with strong, defiant male characters such as "Macgyver," "The Cosby Show," "Home Improvement" and so on. Each of these shows had a male figure who was more or less the center of the household or the storyline in the show, and it often came down to him "saving the day." Obviously in "Home Improvement" Tim was usually fixing one of his mess ups, but none of those were due to his lack of masculinity. A quote in this article that particularly struck me states, "Nowadays men get on their wives' and girlfriends' nerves by not being manly enough." Personally i find this representation of men and masculinity to be a bit over the top and frankly absurd. Yes, the fact that i am a male might factor into this a bit, but the recent rise in feminine achievement and success does not have to mean the masculinity of men take a hit. The way these recent television sitcoms are portraying men as stepping aside the women dominating the scene is only going to hurt both genders in the long run. As was the case with women and their quest to gain equal status as men during the onset of the feminine movement, men are going to be susceptible to the same thing if the pendulum continues to swing in its current direction. There needs to be a happy median found, and if that median is not found soon, and men are continually downcast as weak and effeminate characters, the young boys who are today becoming men in this age will be at a loss, and i feel will suffer tremendously.

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