According to anew study from King’s College London’s Policy Institute and Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, in partnership with Ipsos U.K., which has uncovered that older men actually have more progressive views of the equality of the sexes than the next generation of men. Perhaps surprisingly, Gen Z men are more likely than older baby boomers to believe that feminism has done more harm than good. Similarly, Gallup’s data shows then young men around the world are becoming increasingly conservative, while women are becoming more progressive.

One explanation for the study’s findings is that young men today are entering the workplace at a time when women are holding senior positions for the first time in some companies’ history.  I believe this is a factor but does not sufficiently explain the findings.  Older men seem less interested in redefining masculinity because they are secure in their masculine roles and find the subject of masculinity more of an intellectual exercise rather than one that affects their daily lives.  However, Gen Z and younger men are faced with either an old school man code which leans to patriarchy, and in the extreme toxic masculinity, or a new man code which is driven by the gains made for women’s equality by the feminist movement. 

The problem is that the new man code is ill defined and filled with ambiguity about what it means to be a man that supports gender equality while still embracing the best of masculinity. The notion that the only way to achieve gender equality is to embrace gender neutrality has become the mantra for many feminists and totally devalues masculinity.   In addition, the focus on gender fluidity with its pronouns and identity labels makes it even more difficult for younger men and boys to define their masculinity in a positive way.  The result is either confusion or regression to hostility to the gains women have made in their pursuit of gender equality.

The irony is that there is a new man code which embraces the best of masculinity while supporting gender equality.  Unfortunately it has not gained sufficient attention to benefit younger men and boys. We need a masculinity movement that highlights positive images of men in the media and as mentioned in previous blogs a masculinity curriculum in our schools.  The educational community is largely female which makes it even more important to teach a new man code in our schools.

The King’s College study highlights the necessity of embracing a new man code to counter the growing confusion about gender identify for young men and hostility to gender equality.

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