I found this little post on Andrew Sullivan's blog a few days back and I think he (and the other blogger he references) explore an interesting topic that will become more relevant as we move into the future. Apologies in advance for the awkward citing of a blogger citing a blogger.
Decline of Blue-Collar Man, Ctd
by Richard Florida
A blogger says the issue is more class than gender:
Men have worked as essentially shop keepers and store clerks for a lot longer than they have worked on assembly lines. There have been waiters forever. Lawyers are the world's second oldest profession. Teaching was a male-only profession for centuries. The idea that men are and ought to be unreflective, grunting, two-fisted louts is a class thing not a gender thing and it is imposed upon working class men by a system that needs them to be beasts of burden.
Men who reject certain values and behaviors as "sissy" or "girlie" are rejecting success, and don't think their bosses aren't grateful.
His point hit home with me.
When I was a young boy, my father would often take me with him to Newark on Saturday's to buy "Italian Bread." We would inevitably pass by a neighborhood "beauty parlor" where my father would stop for just a minute. "Richard," he would say, "I was dumb. When your aunt (his older sister) moved to California, she wanted to give me this place. I could have made it work. I enjoy cutting your hair and coloring your mother's. But when I was young, beauticians were considered 'sissies.' So I let my pride take over. Instead of having my own place, being my own boss and doing something enjoy, I stayed in the damned factory."
I have always thought that self confidence and assurance are the real traits that define it means to be a man (or a woman for that matter). We are all influenced by others and their view of us but your worth as a human, and ultimately your happiness as well, are both tied to how comfortable you are with who you are and what you are willing to do to become who you ultimately want to be.