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The Industrial Revolution created great change not only in technology and the economy, but in the way people lived. Especially how men worked.
Not only were farmers affected, craftsmen were dealt a blow as well. After apprenticing for years to learn a trade that required deep knowledge, unique skills, and a steady hand, craftsmen found themselves replaced by machines which could do their hard-learned job in a fraction of the time.
For men who had felt their manliness defined by the owning of land or the membership in a guild, this was a wrenching change. What would being a man mean in the absence of the nobility of working with one’s hands and the dignity of true independence and self-reliance? Could a man still be a man while pulling the lever at a factory or sitting at a desk in an office?
Fast forward a hundred years and we find ourselves in the midst of another industrial revolution of sorts. Again technology–this time computers–is changing the way we live and work. Ironically, while the shift to men working in factories had society concerned for their manhood in the 19th century, today those manufacturing jobs are often used as the symbol of manly work–their disappearance linked to a crisis in manliness. The information age has made more and more jobs feel less and less tangible. At least the men in factories did something with their hands…can men still be men if they’re only using their fingertips? Today society wrings its hands about that question.
So how did our Industrial Revolution forefathers solve their “crisis” in masculinity?
By moving away from defining manliness by a man’s job, and re-rooting it in virtue and excellence. We say “re-rooting,” because defining manhood this way was not new; it was the definition also espoused by the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the books written around the turn of the century, books with titles like Stepping Stones to Manhood and The Making of Manhood, authors argued that being a man came down to character. A man was industrious and frugal, responsible and trustworthy, courageous and bold. This definition of manhood could be striven for by any man, no matter what sphere of life he found himself in. Whether he was tilling the land or working the assembly line or sitting in an office, he could live with honor. And so men adapted, and the crisis of manhood dissipated.
Originally posted by FortAnthem
Perhaps if men had continued to judge their manliness by the virtue of their character, rather than by the caricatures found in TV commercials, the world would be a better place today, like the "good 'ole days" of yore when a man's handshake was his bond.
Originally posted by spw184
I think manlyness is a bunch of BS.
Gender should not matter on how you act and people who do are tools.
But on the other hand, Im queerer than a 3 dollar bill.
A man was industrious and frugal, responsible and trustworthy, courageous and bold. This definition of manhood could be striven for by any man, no matter what sphere of life he found himself in.
Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
My word is my bond. AND I wear a lot of flannel and drive a pickup.
I burp, too.
Originally posted by FortAnthem
Another thing I often wonder about is whether there ever really was a time known as the "good 'ole days" or if this is just the result of nostalgia for the care-free days of our youth before we were forced to take on the responsibilities of adults.
If you look back, it seems they complained about the same problems that society is facing today throughout history.