It is in many ways a shame that the above writeup loses its direction half way through and veers off from a legitimate
and fascinating discussion of the socialization
of men into a kind of whinge against the popular media and women's reported attitudes towards men, not to mention fashion
. I'd give a lot to hear the original argument brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
The problem with relations between the sexes, and I'm only talking about the generations born since the so-called "sexual revolution", is that they keep being told that the feminist revolution is over, it goals have been achieved and its presumably clearly defined objectives put into practice. It then follows that any social phenomenae which are detrimental to either women in general or men in general are somehow all the feminists' fault.
It is the unfortunate truth that the feminist revolution has come to a grinding halt in the eighties, stumble as it did against the barefaced self interest and greed of the Reagan years in the US and the Thatcher years in the UK (sorry for not including the rest of the world, but that's all I really know about), making it nigh impossible to sustain a public debate which did not center on the financial wellbeing of the individual. This attitude of socially acceptable, voracious selfishness managed to colour both feminist discourse and the public reactions to it, putting an extra emphasys on equality in the workplace (good) and away from equality, or at leas understanding, in the unregulated wastelands of society (bad).
Another cultural shift came with the so-called politically correct nineties, in which the mode of discourse, in particular in the media, took precedence over the mode of conduct. In other words what one said became more important, or at least more closely scrutinised, than what one did. Another imbalance therefore arose, in which both women and men colluded, and which placed the emphasys away from how people treated each other (good) and to how they spoke about each other (also good, but secondary).
During both these periods there was also a drive towards legislation and away from education in matters of social reform, which resulted in the misguided assumption that as long as something was declared illegal, it was no longer necessary to address the question of it being wrong.
Standing as we are at the bottom of this socio-political mudslide, we are witnessing the increased popularity of such socialising tools as the series Friends, in which it would seems that as long as the neuroses and the income levels are equally distributed between the sexes, all is well and good and everybody has good hair. Not so in life. The fact that some men and women, mostly well placed public figures such as actors and musicians, have managed to break out of their traditional gender roles and social constraints is not enough to pacify the general desire for social change.
To put it all more plainly, we are now living in a society where, as long as the wage stats are good, the media is inoffensive and sexual harrassement is being addressed by the authorities, all is well and good. This is simply not the case, for either gender.
Much has been said about the traditional gender roles and social constraints of women, and the title of this node does not invite a detailed debate of the issues contained therein. As to what men want, I can only say I wouldn't have a very good idea, not being one an' all. I can, however, make the assumption, both in personal life and for the purpose of this argument, that not all men were happy living within the constraints of the patriarchy, ruling elite or no. The pressures and limitations imposed on men and their social behaviour were as great as those placed on women, the flip side of the coin of the same rigid, predefined social expectations.
If the battle between the sexes is ever to turn into peaceful cooperation, it is imperative that society - read, both men and women - expand their perceptions about what consitutes acceptable, or normal, behaviour for men. Things are already changing, slowly - for example, jewlerry on men is ever so much more acceptable now than it was in, say, the fifties. Men can get away with colouring their hair, and even get respectable jobs with those haricuts. In large cities, where social change travels the fastest, it is no longer uncommon to see a man doing the weekly shopping, push chair in tow. Men are allowed more time with their children, and are encouraged to have greater involvement in their day to day upbringing.
With the increased pressure on women to go to work, owing to the increase in modern costs of living, men are no longer under as much pressure to be the principal breadwinners in the home and are allowed more freedom in chosing their careers. There are also more creative proffessions open to them, often, ironically, in the technology-driven computer industry. The role of men as the sole sexual aggressors is also slowly being eroded.
In these areas of social interaction, the feminist revolution is indeed being taken to men, albeit perhaps not with as much endorsement from traditional institutions (the state, the education system etc) as would be desireble. It is in these seemingly insignificant corners of daily life that change is to be found and encouraged. To measure the success or failure of the feminist revolution solely in college statistics is, however, to revert to the view that men and women are angling for supremacy over the old bastions of social power, and is a step back in the struggle to create a more egalitarian society.