While women have forged ahead in the workplace and society, men are
finding themselves increasingly marginalized, socially,
professionally, economically - enough so that one book on
bestseller lists recently has been titled The End of Men. This has
led to calls for a men's movement and courses are being taught, but
they are failing to find traction among men. The reason should be
plain: where once Iron John stood as an archetype, along with the
King, Warrior, Lover and Magician, those roles have become sadly
outdated. The old archetypes of manhood no longer apply. In this
book Jim Pathfinder Ewing, author of six books on energy medicine
and Native American spirituality and mindfulness, outlines why the
current courses on men's empowerment are failing and offers a new
way of looking at male roles that predates the modern era. It is a
"back to the future" approach to manhood that actually is better
suited for the male psyche, having existed for thousands of years
in all parts of the globe. Modernized, this "survival kit" for the
male gender can revitalize male and female relations on a more
balanced and time-honored footing. This book serves as a self-help
manual for men, a guide for men's retreats, and a primer for wives,
daughters, mothers and female friends to help the men in their
lives adopt a healthier way of living in balance with a society
that is rapidly shifting its roles. Other books on this topic
repeat tired stereotypes of the "king," "lover," "warrior,"
"magician" and similar shorthand versions of men's roles; but those
roles no longer hold much value in today's society. In a society
where women have more education and higher earning capacity than
men, a woman can be "king." Women no longer sit idly waiting to be
awakened by a Prince Charming; they are active lovers, emancipated
from the Sleeping Beauty archetype. If men try to adopt outdated
"lover" roles, they find themselves alone, even pitied. Women are
warriors, and magicians, and welders, firefighters and CEOs. An
"Iron John" who wishes to retreat into what he is taught is his
strength in masculinity - the wild man of ancient times - will find
himself alienated and out of step with reality. Conversely, if men
try to adopt feminized versions of men's roles, they will find
themselves equally marginalized. Women don't need men to be women.
Nor do they need men who patronize them. This book teaches men how
to be men in a new (yet time-tested way) by reevaluating how they
were brought up and determining which behaviors are suitable for
adopting, and which are suitable for rejecting. In "Redefining
Manhood", the author rejects what he terms outdated male archetypes
that he asserts are no longer valid in our rapidly changing
society. Rather than "Iron John" and "Wild Man," he sees men who
are compassionate, rational, intuitive and judicious in their use
of force. They do not traffic in fear and anger as means to a
self-serving end, promoting patriarchy and domination, but see the
world as a place of competing choices where responsibilities are
shared and impacts of behavior are carefully assessed. Our Western
society has been out of balance since Roman times, he says, while
Native American and other indigenous societies adhered more closely
to a natural way of being. In the writer's view, no longer is being
male a ticket to be thoughtless, wanton, ignorant or unflinching in
projecting indiscriminate power. He is no longer a King, unless one
assumes he shares the crown; he is not a lover any more than his
partner with whom he shares intimacy; and he must not allow himself
to be a warrior, which in a constant state of war warps our sense
of society and social obligations, unless he chooses to be and the
social good demands it. He recognizes that peace, not war, is the
natural state of humankind, that all human beings, regardless of
roles or social stature, are stakeholders in the future of the
planet, along with all the other beings of the earth, and that
living in balance is the way of all nature. The focus of the book
is not, however, to create new archetypes, but to help individuals
define themselves based on spiritual and commonsense principles
that have guided humankind in societies around the globe for
thousands of years. This is not so much the "new" male, as the new
incarnation of the male as men have been in previous times before
our world got so out of kilter, in harmony with women, elders,
children and other men as responsible stewards of their world.
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