If you look at the long history of the human male, some trends emerge. Males have classically dominated the public/political realm and engaged in more coalitional violence. We are more aggressive, more prone to lethal violence and theft, and males, on average, travel greater distances over a lifetime. This is the problem that is keeping males from stepping up to adapt and evolve: we are letting our past determine our future and it is not working. By all measures, males are falling behind across the globe. This is because too many boys are still counting on the old tactics to produce the same results in a completely different world.
I will be the first to admit that there probably was a time (30,000 odd years ago) when these traits were vital to the survival of our species, but the world we live in now is more diverse, dense and less dangerous overall (this may sound controversial but the numbers bear this out). We have built structures around us that provide much more security than we have ever had. There are fewer wars to fight and—for most of us—less time spent securing food and shelter and more law and order. In developed countries like ours we have a ridiculous amount of leisure time compared to people living 10,000 years ago. Couple this with the very recent emergence romantic love and you have men and women spending more time together than at any point in history. But too many males (I call them boys) are still living in our pre-history. They are exerting their “cave” power on the people closest to them—women.
The problem is that while at one time this type of dominance may have worked for us long ago, it is not going to take us into the future. As men, we have to evolve in real time and not wait for random mutations to save us or leave us behind. While we are products of evolution, we do not have to be its victims. Too many men fall back on our history to excuse their bad behavior (Hey, what can I do? Men have needs…), but trust me, these men are already being left behind. Want to be on the cutting edge of masculinity? Evolve already. We can do this. We can learn to share power with women, negotiate, form coalitions, roam less, resist violence and try a little tenderness. This is the rise of “Masculinity 2.0.” It is much better than the DOS version that roamed the plains of the late Pleistocene. Want to show women what an evolving man looks like? Come to the rally against sexual violence at 6 p.m. tonight in Connelly Center Cinema.