Holidays, Men, and Politics – Intertwined?

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on December 21, 2016

The latest timely topic in the news includes a debate about the song: ‘Baby it’s cold outside’. This is an oldie holiday song currently being picked at/debated on social media as unacceptable male behavior, inferring the women is the victim. It concerns me that holidays cannot be holidays with songs from the past to simply be enjoyed as they intended to be. It seems as such all becomes a political debate… THAT song is being picked at when there are many songs of the now that are profoundly blatantly disturbing. 

As a Marriage and Family Therapist and Relationship Expert I specialize in the relationship between men and women and the relationship one has with their own self identity. With that said, I have been watching the painful effects of what we as a culture are doing to males. I have been providing counseling services since 1993, I have observed the transformation of the messaging that is placed upon males and it undoubtedly has caused confusion for many as to what it is to be a male, a man, and how to interact with women.

An example of a challenge men have includes, it is not uncommon for men who are assertive to be called; manipulative. Men who are sexual initiators, they are concerned as to whether that is okay or if they are supposed to let the woman lead the way.  Then, when the married woman yearns for a sexual initiator and creativity in the bedroom and cheats due to a lack of physical attention and sexual boredom, the man wonders what he did wrong. I see this in my counseling practice as a challenge for some couples more common then it was many years ago.

What are we creating? What are boys of these days to learn what it is to be a man in a relationship, and what are girls of these days to learn what it is to be a woman in a relationship? Parents struggle with raising of boys, fathers question how to father with mothers at the helm managing their husband’s fatherly actions. What is a father to teach his son for how to be a man? What’s a mother to teach her son? What are parents to teach their daughters as far as expectations in a relationship? Clearly defined roles as to what it is to be a man vs. a woman are a thing of the past. Expectations are unsaid and unclear as we as a culture are unclear ourselves in our own messaging and are confused about what we want and expect in one’s own gender and the other gender. Thereby creating a lack of clarity.

What are men of the 20 something age like these days vs. “those days”? 30 something? 40 something? vs 50 something? What’s improved? What hasn’t improved? What are boys learning and what are young men learning? How is social media/the media playing a role in the development of and what is being taught to males as to what is deemed acceptable vs unacceptable? What role does schooling at a young age and on the university level play in the development of males?

Today’s brief blog is meant to open up dialogue for my readers to consider what their values, opinion and beliefs are as to what it used to be to be a male, what it is currently, and what it shall be. Whether the topic is assertiveness at home or at work, parenting, marriage, dating, sexual interactions, communication….whether we are considering what we are teaching young boys or teens, the messages we are sending young adults and older….Happy thinking….

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