J. Shayne O'Brien
23 November, 2013
"Sometimes" it's Good to be a Man
Throughout history the role men have played in society and in the family has changed dramatically. From prehistoric, hunter/gatherers to modern, family men, the evolution has been complex and diverse. It seems that the progression has increased its pace in the last century when identifying the part men played in the late 1800s and how much that has changed in just the last 100 years. During the Victorian era, men bore much more singular responsibility in the family. Typically, the success or failure of the family's finances fell squarely on his shoulders. Since most married women didn't work outside the home, there was no other income on which the family could depend if the man were unable to work. Unfortunately, that duty didn't end with the family. In the corporate environment, whether industrial or professional, men held most of the management roles and were ultimately responsible for the bottom-line.
As an entrepreneur, he was completely dependent on the success of his business. If an employee, his job, and by default, the livelihood of his family, depended on his performance. Sadly, this left little time or energy for involvement with his family as more than just a cursory member. Contrast these aspects of men with contemporary traits and there are stark observations. Today, most households have a dual income in which both the husband and wife work outside the home. This makes for a much happier family environment given that marriages in which there is a sole breadwinner get divorced at a rate 14% above average, the highest of any income split (Behson). With this in mind, the differences between the character of Helmer, as portrayed in Henrik Ibsen's, A Doll's...