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Men in the 21st century

John Edmonson defends modern man´s role in society


Back in the 1980´s everyone was talking about the “new man”. Every magazine was full of pictures of him holding babies and saucepans, and we were told that no self-respecting modern man would expect his wife to do all the childcare or housework. So, we didn´t. The division of domestic labour changed and men got in touch with their feminine side. Or at least that´s what I thought.


However, read any of the articles written today on the subject and anyone would think that men haven´t changed since the beginning of time. No one seems to think the division of labour has really improved and apparently we´re supposed to feel guilty about it. But all of my married friends are new men compared to their father´s generation. They don´t expect their wives to do everything for them and they all spend quality time with their kids.


I´ve got two older brothers and both of them do most of the cooking for their families, as well as being the main breadwinners. Neither of them spend hours in the pub with their friends watching football. And I don´t think either of my brothers want the lifestyle our father´s generation had – certainly none of my friends do. However, no newspaper reports that. Instead we get surveys such as the one quoted in The Guardian saying that on an average day in Britain, men only spend 13 minutes caring for their children, 45 minutes cooking and doing housework, but three hours watching TV.


It´s hard to find anything that shows men in a positive light these days. And each time I read about how selfish and unhelpful men are, my blood boils! In fact, I´ve read two articles on the subject recently, and each article suggests that all women are capable of being the breadwinner as well as running the home – apparently men aren´t necessary anymore! Would a woman tell a man that when she needed a tyre changed or when there was a burglar climbing through her window at four in the morning? I think not!

(Face2face, Upper intermediate, p. 80, Cambridge University Press, 2007


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