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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Men at Work

By Allison J. Pugh
Originally posted December 4, 2015

Here are two excerpts:

One option is to get angry. When I interviewed laid-off men for my recent book on job insecurity, their anger, or more often a wry bitterness, was impossible to forget. By and large, like Gary the laid-off tradesman, they were not angry at their employers. At home, however, they sounded a different note. ‘I have a very set opinion of relationships and how females handle them,’ Gary told me, rather flatly. ‘It’s what I’ve seen consistently throughout my life.’ On his third serious relationship, Gary talked about the ‘hurt that’s been caused to me by a lack of commitment on the part of other people’, and he complained that ‘marriage can be tossed out like a Pepsi can’. In the winds of uncertainty, Gary’s anger at women keeps him grounded.


Nonetheless, most working‑class men such as Gary are trapped by a changing economy and an intransigent masculinity. Faced with changes that reduce the options for less-educated men, they have essentially three choices, none of them very likely. They can pursue more education than their family background or their school success has prepared them for. They can find a low-wage job in a high-growth sector, positions that are often considered women’s work, such as a certified nurse practitioner or retail cashier. Or they can take on more of the domestic labour at home, enabling their partners to take on more work to provide for the household. These are ‘choices’ that either force them to be class pioneers or gender insurgents in their quest for a sustainable heroism; while both are laudable, we can hardly expect them of most men, and yet this is precisely the dilemma that faces men today.

The article is here.

Note from me: This article not about the standard issues in ethics. However, it does bring up the issue of competence. Do we, as psychologists, understand the culture of males in a changing economic system? And, is the changing economic picture a factor in the increase in white, male suicides?