Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Several weeks ago, I was watching some of the episodes of the Dick Van Dyke Show on Netflix. In one particular episode, the theme was the decline of the American male. The discussion at work has to do with all of the examples of how the American male is declining, such as doing the dishes and helping with the kids’ bath, etc. Rob makes the claim that no that isn’t the case, but when he goes home, what does he do but do the dishes and help his son get ready for bed. Of course, that show was filmed in the 60’s. Now, some fifty years later, I look at where the American male stands and the things they indicated were signs of the decline back then look chauvinistic today. Back then, there was no question that Rob Petrie was the head of his home. Oh sure, there were gags where Laura appeared to have the say, but they were clearly meant to be gags. Today, the idea of a man being the head of his home is frowned upon, and yet there are still people out there pushing the idea that girls can do the same jobs as men.

To tell you the truth, I’m confused. Don’t get me wrong, if a girl wants to become an astronaut or a truck driver, that’s fine with me, but it seems like everywhere you look there is a big push for girls to take on jobs that have traditionally been considered men’s work. It is so much so that it seems like the writers of television shows want to discourage girls from taking on traditional female roles. And I don’t know what they want boys to do, but they clearly aren’t promoting the idea that boys should become leaders in their homes and communities. For the men on television shows see a woman as one of two types. Either she is someone who wants to do a man’s job or she is a trophy he wants in his bed. The women on these shows are no better. They either want to do a man’s job, or they want to be in the man’s bed. You don’t often see shows in which the male characters respect a woman for being a woman and female characters who have enough self-respect to slap the man when he encourages her to go to bed with him.

I realize it isn’t quite as bad in the real world. Yeah, there are people who can’t keep their pants on, but I also see homes in which men are men and women are women. I see homes where men love their wives and women respect their husbands. I see homes where the man is clearly the natural leader, even when his wife as a bossy spirit. But I worry about what young men are being taught these days. So many don’t know how men ought to act because they have no men in their lives. The only role models they have are the wimps on television. And yes, I do mean wimps because putting a character in a uniform doesn’t magically make him a man of courage. We see real strength in how a character handles his family. If what young men are learning is what they see on television, things will be bad for some time to come.