Major Reasons for Masculinity Crisis in the Modern Britain


MajorReasons for Masculinity Crisis in the Modern Britain

MajorReasons for Masculinity Crisis in the Modern Britain

Theconcept of masculinity is generally associated with traditionalpractices that defined gender roles in some sorts of clarity.However, the fading of the boundary in the traditional gender rolecoupled with socioeconomic changes have contributed to the issue ofmasculinity crisis in the modern world. Masculinity is a set offeatures, roles, and qualities that are considered by the society tobelong to men or the boys (Todd, 2010, p. 2). Some of the keyfeatures associated with masculinity include muscular strength,femininity avoidance, disconnection of sex from intimacy, homophobia,aggression, pursuit of status, and self-reliance. The ongoingcriticism of masculinity in the modern society is associated withfour major factors. These factors include the impact that masculinityhas in reshaping modern values that conventional supporters ofmasculinity hold, gender-based wars waged against masculinity byfeminist groups, cultural-based hostility caused by the modernsociety against most of the values associated with masculinity, andefforts made to promote masculinity among women compared to pressureplaced on men to embrace feminism. This paper will address the keyfactors (including social attitudes, changes in the labor market,negative portrayal of men in the media, and the disappearance offatherhood) that have caused the masculinity crisis in the modernBritain.

Changesin social attitudes and masculinity crisis

Masculinityworks best in societies that describe gender roles with clarity. Thisimplies that the practice of masculinity is more evident where theroles of men and those of women are distinguished. However, thedrastic changes in the social attitudes with regard to roles that menand women should in the society have blurred the boundary between theroles of the two genders from the former set of roles that favoredmen. An increase in the involvement of activist in fighting forsocial change have resulted in the promotion of gender equality,which have in turn forced men to leave their masculinity position andtake up roles that were initially assumed to be women`s roles(Margaret, 2011, p. 21). For example, community activists arecurrently advocating for the involvement of men in child rearing, arole that was initially done by women. In case, a crisis arises whenmen feel that the society expects to assume most of the roles thattraditionally belonged to women more than the same society expectswomen to assume the responsibility that are conventionally assumed tobe men’s. Forcing men to assume roles that have been traditionallydone by women is rejected by men who still believe in the values ofmasculinity.

Anincrease in pressure from feminist organization in the modern Britainhas to some extent contributed towards the masculinity crisis. Thisis because feminist groups have been questioning the special rightsand dominance that men have been given on the grounds of their sex(Beynon, 2002, p. 83). This implies that the rise of feminist in themodern Britain has overturned the principle of patriarchy that holdsthat men are superior and should, thus rule over women. This is partof the general change in the social attitude towards the contributionof each gender in the society, which is guiding the society towardsthe notion that all people are equal and their role in the societyhas an equal significance. This has threatened the perceived positionof a man in the society as the head of the family, provider, andprotector. In addition, trends show that social changes are in thefavor of a shift in man’s privileges to women, with little if anyof the women privileges being passed on to men. This is anotherfactor that has intensified the masculinity crisis in the modernBritain.

Theeffect of changes in the modern labor market on masculinity

Initially,men took jobs that demand the use of more muscular force thanintelligence. This resulted from the limited technology available tohelp make work easier and reduce the need size of human effort neededto make the work done. For example, most of the jobs involved the useof human labor before the onset of the industrial revolution in theGreat Britain (Moore, 2013, p. 2). Men were expected to do jobs thatrequired more strength because of the inherent muscular strength,while women assumed roles (such as domestic chores) that required theuse of limited muscular strength. The onset of the industrialrevolution in the Great Britain generated a masculinity crisis thatis still going on to-date. The revolution brought in the use ofmachines to make work easier and integrate the use of intelligencewhile reducing the need for application of muscular strength. Thishas brought more women into the labor market while reducing therelevance of many tasks that were carried out by men following thedecline in the demand for physical strength (Rogers, 2012, p. 1). Thereduced need for physical strength has subjected men to a scenario inwhich they are looking for a role to play in the society, whichaccounts for the masculinity crisis in the modern Britain.

Changesin the labor market have favored women while leaving men misdirectedand isolated. Although the minister of labor in Britain, attributedthis challenge to the that fact that men in the modern Britain arenot allowed to talk about the restructuring of the labor market, itis evident that these changes have been brought about the increase inflexibility of the labor market and over-reliance on technology. Thishas increased men’s frustration as their contribution is becomingobsolete. According to Turner (2013, p. 1) about 37 % of men inBritain are worried about the security of their jobs, which hascontributed to an increase in men’s suicide standing at 75 % of allcases of suicide in Britain. In addition, the labor market has beenexperiencing an imbalanced growth in service jobs that are associatedwith the feminine and a decline in jobs in the heavy industry, whichare usually taken up by men. This is a confirmation of the intensityof the masculinity crisis caused by changes in the British labormarket.

Thenegative media portrayal

Thenegative portrayal of men in the media has largely contributed to themasculinity crisis in the modern Britain and other parts of the worldas well. According to Halton (2009, p. 1) the media has beenportraying men as negative role models and associatesanti-intellectualism with boyhood. This implies that the media hasdiverted the original meaning of masculinity to physical prowess andmuscles, which is the new masculinity. In addition, the media haveplayed a key role in demonstrating that lazy, uneducated, andunemployed men can still appear appealing and fall in love withsuccessful ladies. This has diverted the boys’ attention fromacademic achievement, thus reducing their capacity to play theirnormal roles in the family and in the society. The successful women,on the other hand, are filling the gap left by men, which hasintensified the masculinity crisis as men feel that theirsignificance in families and the society has diminished.

Thedisappearing fatherhood in the modern families

Lookingat the contemporary family system, the traditional family system hasbeen breaking down with time. This breakdown is characterized byemotional and physical the disappearance of the father (Moore, 2000,1). This shows that the disintegration of the family system havedisfavored the man, which has resulted to a new man with limited orno responsibilities in the family and in the society. This starts atearly stages of development where rituals of creating man from boyhave been undermined. Study shows that most of the rituals used inthe western cultures (including Britain) to facilitate the process ofboys’ transition to manhood. This has resulted in the developmentof frustrated men who do understand their role in families and in thesociety.


ModernBritain is one of the parts of the world that have experiencedserious masculinity crisis. The crisis has been triggered by fourmajor factors, including the changes in social attitudes, changes inthe labor market, negative portrayal of men in the media, and thedisappearance of fatherhood in the contemporary families. The crisisbegan with the diffusion of the boundary of gender roles, whichresulted in a frustrated man whose role in the society issignificantly reduced. The crisis has been intensifying gradually upto date when the concept of masculinity has lost the original meaningin Britain.

Listof references

Beynon,J., 2002. Masculinityand the notion of crisis: Masculinity and culture.Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Halton,E., 2009. Somerather troubling statistics.South Hadley, MA: Mount Holyoke College.

Margaret,E., Robles, O. and Pawlak, P., 2011. Masculinities,social change, and development. Washington,DC: World Bank.

Moore,R., 2000. Thecrisis of the masculine.Chicago, IL: Tropical Sojourns.

Moore,K., 2013. Men in crisis: British, French, and American[Online] Available at: &lt[Accessed 17 August 2014].

Rogers,T., 2012. Thedramatic decline of the modern man.San Francisco, CA: Salon Media Group Incorporation.

Todd,R., 2010. Masculinityin theory: An introduction.Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Turner,J., 2013. Are British men having a crisis of masculinity? TheHuffington Post UK.[Online] Available at:[Accessed 17 August 2014].