Can Bow Ties and Barber Shops Bring Black Men Together?

What will it take to bring black men together? And, where can black men claim a space to proliferate even the simplest of traditions in peace?

What will it take to bring black men together? Black boys are estranged from their fathers, detained from society and expelled from schools at rates that make us strangers in our own communities. Clearly, driving-while-black, stop-n-frisk, shop-n-frisk and Stand Your Ground laws have become morbid rites of passage that usher black males out of society. But not only does our sanctioned alienation make black men and boys strangers to the rest of society, black men are strangers to one another.

Consequently, black men must find our own place—physical and metaphysical. Inside we must articulate who and where we are. The requisites for self-definition include logistical matters of claiming physical and metaphysical spaces to gather, discuss, and exchange ideas for improvement.

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The 21st century has been tough on men. There was the “mancession,” Hanna Rosin's provocative book, The End of Men, even Adam Carolla’s, In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks. A recently published JWT survey found that 7 in 10 men in the U.S. and UK believe men are becoming less dominant in society. Yet society tends to overlook the challenges they face.
A majority of American and British men believe life in general is harder for men today than it was 30 years ago, our study found. Around 4 in 10 also say it’s harder to be a good husband and harder to be a good father. In fact, almost 8 in 10 men agree that “people are always talking about how difficult women have it, but things are just as hard for men.”
Things are only getting harder. The shift away from a manufacturing-based economy favors college graduates, and these days many more of those are women. In the U.S., women now earn 58 percent of bachelor’s degrees. In the U.K., some 80,000 more women than men applied to universities by this year’s January deadline, with the head of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service observing, “We are beginning to look at men as looking more like the disadvantaged group and women looking more like the advantaged group.”
As women make strides in the professional arena, the cultural conversation is focused on whether they can “have it all,” a flourishing career and family. “Entirely lost in this debate,” argues writer Richard Dorment in the current issue of Esquire, “is the growing strain of work-life balance on men, who today are feeling the competing demands of work and home as much or more than women.” Indeed, with women more career-focused, men are having to juggle more domestic duties, both willingly and out of necessity.
Men see work-life balance as an issue that affects them equally: As many as 82 percent of men agree that “men face the same tough decisions as women do about how to balance career and family,” according to our research.
Fathers, however, face their own distinct challenges in this regard. For instance, more than two-thirds of men in our survey agree that “Employers assume men will be there, while women with children can put in less time because of their families.” And frequently family-focused male employees are at a disadvantage: Notes a University of Oregon sociologist in The Wall Street Journal: “There’s still a stigma associated with men who put parenting on an equal footing with their jobs.”
All this points to a counterintuitive but increasingly convincing notion that rather than focus on equal rights for women, we need equal rights for everyone—men included. What support mechanisms and policies would help male students, employees and family members better fulfill their potential? “Advocating for boys and men, however, is simply not done,” writes Esquire’s David Granger in his editor’s letter this month. “The idea that men have untold societal advantages is so firmly ingrained in the American psyche that to suggest otherwise is seen as offensive.”
Of course, a culture where male privilege is baked in hasn’t altogether disappeared (look no further than salary differentials), but ultimately women benefit too when it’s easier to find male partners who can do their fair share in supporting the family financially and emotionally. Certainly, men are trying.
Today’s male parents are “striving to be good workers, good fathers, and good men,” says Boston College’s Center for Work & Family in a new report. They may just need more help than we realize if they’re to succeed.
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How Do Couples Decide Who Takes Out the Trash?

In heterosexual relationships, if the guy always takes out the trash, is the couple just repeating gender stereotypes?

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Why So Serious? Because Chicks Dig It! Women Find Happy Men Less Attractive Than Grumps

A new study says women are more attracted to moody men than happy men. On your next date, wipe that smile off your face.

It's pretty common—if not scientific—knowledge that women like "bad boys." Johnny Depp's brooding stares are the stuff of Hollywood legend, and myriad pieces of anecdotal evidence say the guy on the motorcycle with the leather jacket is always going to get luckier with ladies than the guy in the khakis with the sensible car. But now there's real science to back up this theory. Look out, socs, the greasers are coming through.

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Women Now Earning More Bachelor's and Graduate Degrees Than Men

You go, girl! Women are racking up the degrees in record numbers.

You go, girl! According to a new Census report released on Tuesday, Educational Attainment in the United States: 2010, more adults over the age of 25 than ever—30 percent—have bachelor's degrees. And women are out-achieving men when it comes to earning both bachelor's and advanced degrees (as I noted before, some schools even have affirmative action programs for men).

Women began outnumbering men in college enrollment in the early 1980s, and since 1996, they've earned more bachelor's degrees. Data from this latest report shows that for adults aged 25 to 29, 36 percent of women have earned a bachelor's degree or more, compared with only 28 percent of men. But this is the first year women are earning more advanced degrees than their male counterparts. Only a decade ago, men held the majority, 55.4 percent, of advanced degrees. According to the current data, 10,685,000 working women over 25 hold master's degrees, law degrees, doctoral degrees, and other other graduate degrees, compared to only 10,562,000 men. However, there's still room for improvement. Women still lag behind in business, science, and engineering graduate degrees.

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Six Dangerous Products Men Use Daily — And What To Use Instead

Men use an average of six products a day. Here's how to replace them naturally. (Your sperm will thank you.)

Gentlemen, listen up. Whether you think you do or not, most of you use an average of six personal care products a day, which sounds like a lot until you get out your fingers and count: Deodorant, shampoo, cologne, and shaving cream all count—and so does the moisturizer you steal from your girlfriend.

All illustrations by Brianna Harden.

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