Originally published in Homer.
How men earn a living and how hard we work often forms a core part of our self-identity. From modern-day corporate overtime culture to the Protestant work ethic of the 17th century, the connection between the breadwinner model and masculinity endures. Founding director of the Center of WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings, Joan C Williams, wrote in her article Why Men Work So Many Hours, “Not only is work devotion a ‘class act’ — a way of enacting class status — it’s also a certain way of being a ‘real’ man. Working long hours is seen as a ‘heroic activity’.”
This overriding focus on work can be a serious problem for men. An extreme example can be found in Japan, where hundreds of deaths each year are attributed to ‘karoshi,’ or death from overwork. A culture of overwork isn’t only problematic for men, though. Closer to home, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in 2009 that men are still doing half as much domestic work as women. Which means that the masculine ethos of commitment to work outside the home could be coming at the expense of other family labour.
who can give you what you need.
Love makes you fat. That’s what the girl’s mother always said. It makes you tired too. She figured that out on her own.
I used to think politics was stupid. Everyone has an opinion and we all just go around annoying each other with it. The arguments we have in our families, between friends, between countries, in real life and online -they just go around and around with little positive change, seemingly, being achieved. Of course I had my own beliefs, but I preferred to avoid confrontation, to keep these thoughts to myself. I validated this path of least resistance by focusing on philosophy and personal growth, my mantra has always been “change yourself before you change the world”.
You worry so much
about your hair,
and girls we pass on the street.
“I want to look like her”
you tell me,
as if a different face
would make me love you
even more than I already do.
Content note: Sexual violence.
Clementine Ford’s recent opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Harassment of women by men at Summernats cannot be excused or ignored”, highlights an ugly truth about Australian society. Women are not safe. Not in their homes, not at festivals, not in a night club or even just walking down the street. And it’s not some shadow-lurking, villainous stranger who poses the greatest risk. It’s normal, every day men, like you and me. It’s other, regular, three-dimensional actual humans. It’s our friends, and workmates and fathers and sons and most of all it’s the collective and willing denial by our society of the very real and normalised harassment, abuse, disrespect and devaluation that a large number of women in our community experience on a regular basis.
I read once that you shouldn’t be afraid of dying because it’s an illusion. If you were to look at one wave in the ocean you may be fooled into thinking that it has a beginning and an end. It curls out of the sea, rolls over and crashes back down into the water to dissolve into nothing. The wave was there and now it’s gone. But look deeper and you’ll see the wave is just a collection of water that has moved into a different shape for a moment. The wave was always just a re-arrangement of the ocean. The water is still there. It wasn’t born. It didn’t die. In the same way, it is a misconception to think that we are born from nothing and return to nothing.