Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown: Masculinity in Contemporary Culture and Literature
Here's an excerpt from Interlitteraria, a Central and Eastern European Library I discovered recently. (Isn't the internet great!) Their introduction page advises that they are open to all serious discussions, from a comparative point of view, on literary and cultural processes that stir, both undermining and balancing, the world of our days. It's a paid service similar to Questia, but they offer a two-week free trial. So for you deep thinkers, read on...
"Although mental breakdowns have traditionally been associated with women, men are increasingly facing an identity crisis as norms prescribed to them are no longer in harmony with the contemporary world. It is time for men to come to an understanding that they, too, have gender. Up to now masculinity has largely been defined in negative terms, as something that is not feminine. Thus, changes in the roles of women should have been accompanied by changes in the roles of men.
That, however, has not happened. Suzanne Franks argues “that as women’s identities have broadened and encroached upon male territory, instead of swapping and merging of identities, men moved further into the traditional heartland of male identity — the drinking, shagging, sporty stereotype” (Franks 1999: 167).
The re-appearance of emphatically masculine superheroes and sexist stereotypes in recent popular culture indicates a frenzied attempt to quell the anxiety. The violent and often irrational counter-reaction to the women’s advancement and, especially, feminist movement eloquently speaks of male insecurity — men sure of their own identity would not have to fear women but welcome more equitable and harmonious co-operation with them.[...]"