The February issue of Domashniy Ochag magazine went on sale. We tried to find the answer to the question on its pages: what kind of men do we like today and why. The key theme of the release is the new masculinity. How are the lifestyle, attitudes, values and behavior of a modern man changing? Our columnist Grigory Tumanov reflects on what true masculinity is these days and why it seems necessary to rethink it.
Dad once gave me one entertaining phrase that I want to share with you. “In Russia,” he once said, when we were engaged in a “purely masculine” (at that time it was considered so) discussion of the latest political news in the kitchen, accruing a hundred whiskey each, “there is an important national fun: dragging eminent dead from place to place . Of course, we were talking about well-known to you political figures of the Soviet past, about whom we can’t decide in any way - they are cannibals or still progressives. The same, however, applies to the ideas given to us by the past - we drag them from corner to corner in the same way.
“Did dad teach me to be a man?”, “Why then did my sister grow up with the same set of knowledge, qualities and ideas about personal freedom?”, “Okay, but how could a person born in 1938 teach two opposite sexes children from different wives in relation to the modern idea of gender roles?”, “And if it weren’t for my dad, would I have grown up as a man?” - I have been asking myself these questions non-stop for many years now, but I still can’t find an answer to the question: did dad teach, and not mom, to be a man and was I taught to be a man, and not just a man? And in principle, if we talk about something masculine, then this is an inevitable reasoning about death - after all, we do not just die before you, women. Therefore, do not blame me, such a beginning.
Well, since any "expert" column requires numbers, let me give them right away. Here TASS informs us that between two population censuses (data on the record last, alas, are not yet available), that is, between 2002 and 2010, the number of single fathers has increased: before there were 1, 18%, and now it has become 1, 27%. Not so revolutionary, but you must admit, it slightly breaks the stereotype of a classic Russian same-sex family consisting of a grandmother and mother. Single mothers, by the way, have become a little less: since 2002, their number has decreased from 12.78% to 11.72%.
What can this tell us?
To worry less about men who grow up to be mythical non-men, since they were raised only by a woman? About how we'll have more people with this unexplored male upbringing? God knows, interpreting numbers is a thankless task. I only know that a single father and a single mother face different difficulties due to gender circumstances in the country, and that if a child grows up with a trauma, it is largely because it is tritely difficult for any single parent to work and pay enough attention to a small person at the same time. nearby.
But if you draw any thoughts from these figures, then here you go: it seems that the slightly increased number of single fathers suggests that the role model of the involved father is no-no, but straightens his shoulders. This is probably one of the most understandable and accessible ways today to talk about what a conditional new man can (exactly can, and should not) be like. I really don't really like the term "toxic masculinity" as it is terribly misused, and trying to build something new only on the condemnation and denial of the old inevitably leads to a desire to grab on to this old one stronger.
Therefore, when a man is told that he can be a great father, it is much more constructive. And in fact, the set of qualities offered for a great father is exactly the same as for a great mother: to be attentive, supportive, interested in the desires and thoughts of your child, and also to bring him up first of all an empathic and self-sufficient person.
When we start talking about the fact that a single mother will definitely grow up one son, and a single father will have a completely different one (well, yes, because no one will teach him to hammer in nails), we lose sight of few things. For example, often single mothers just need to know much better about the design of the electrical panel and the composition of wallpaper glue, since many things in the house have to be decided by themselves, and fathers have to figure out how to cook a symbolic borscht for a week.
Not to mention the same single mother could easily raise a child raised in a much more traditional sense of masculinity than the father, because if there are stereotypes, then why do we think they only hurt one gender? I know families where mothers and grandmothers project all their patriarchal attitudes about “real men” onto the boy, but I also know fathers who for the first time stop talking about feminists with a bad giggle when their daughters are born - they suddenly begin to see what can wait for a girl in Russia.
To be honest, it is more and more difficult for me to write this text, because in order to overthrow stereotypes about male or female upbringing, one must rely on some weighty postulates, but if one reflects seriously, they cannot be such. Well, is it true, or what, only dad can teach perseverance and determination, and mom - gentleness and accuracy? We, one way or another, pass on our lived experience to our children, trying to simplify their life in this world, so that we don’t hiccup later on while they go to psychotherapists or write lengthy columns (sorry, dad).
I think that almost none of our parents, even telling us some stereotypical postulates about the role of a man and a woman many years ago, did not want anything bad for us - they acted in accordance with the ideas of a particular time and wanted the best for us.
It's just that the generation of today's 30-40-year-olds, having acquired children, today can minimize their trauma from the collision of their two-dimensional postulates with reality. Well, that is, thanks to grandfather for bushido, but is it strange in 2021 to seriously consider that dishonor can only be redeemed by death, and a true man should devote his whole life to serving? All life principles and approaches to parenting have their own historical and cultural context, but today the beauty is that we are free to not label.
My friend, who solved conflicts with his fists a couple of times, today says: “What an asshole I was and what a shame for that.” This is not throwing ashes on your head, not a stigma for life - this is an acknowledgment of mistakes and the fact that you have worked on them. If we return to archaic ideas about masculinity, then here he is for you - a responsible man. He simply took responsibility for himself. A small but still noticeable number of men today can finally reflect on everything. To put it bluntly, even about whether they are in love with "purely male" fishing, because they really like the excitement and contemplate the waters, or because in adolescence all the boys were supposed to love it.
I'm trying, honestly trying to remember if my parents told me how a boy should behave and how a girl should behave, and I can't. I do not think that they were adherents of any progressive ideas, they were rather very, very basic: do not offend others, value yourself and your time, do not be arrogant, try not to lie and be responsible for what you have done.
Mom didn't explain to me that girls should be called first - she said that relationships between two people are given for joy, and trying to overcomplicate them is nonsense. Dad talked about restraint, but in exactly the same vein that burning over small things and accustoming yourself to this means that in the future you will be unsettled by more serious problems. In any case, it was primarily an upbringing regarding interaction with the world - hold, boy, a set of tools with which in no case try not to cripple anyone, and then yourself.
So what? Well, here I am, a man of 34 years old, with one marriage behind me and a second happy one. Previously, he thought that mom and dad gave me a balanced upbringing, because it had both female and male, and then realized that, having lost one of his parents, he took the illusion about the male part too literally, made a mistake, broke firewood and repaired what he could trying to match the bright image of his father as a real man. Until I realized that it was just longing for a person, and he taught me, like my mother, completely different - including not building unnecessary illusions for yourself, trying not to harm yourself or others, and remember that being a person is much more difficult, than just the owner of one or another set of primary sexual characteristics.