What makes a man, “a man?”
Centuries’ worth of existence and evolution has shaped the way we see and do things.
Yet in this revolutionary age, the way we view gender roles is dramatically changing. What used to define us as “man” or “woman” is becoming open for interpretation.
Now, studies show that women are more attracted to men who are willing to set aside their career for their families.
Researchers from Belgium claim that “norms for men are toppling in heterosexual relationships.”
Read ahead as we explain more.
Women’s priorities are changing. So are their views on what makes a good partner.
The change might be due to the fact that women are evolving, too.
The study’s lead researcher,
“Gender stereotypes normally change very slowly, but in the last decades we’ve seen that more women want to pursue a career. We were wondering whether these developments have any consequences for men.
“If women have a hard time finding a balance between their professional and private life, are they then still looking for a man who’s all about work or do they prefer a man who helps out around the house?”
That might just be the case.
What did they find?
Young women “evaluate more family-oriented men as generally more attractive.”
This may no longer be a surprise for you. But the study concludes that women are more attracted to men who care less about their careers and more on their family.
In the second part of the study, the researchers asked 224 female students about how they picture their lives in 15 years, in terms of their ideal partner and their work-life balance.
They found a correlation in both.
“…the more a woman wants to pursue a career herself, the more she prefers a family man. This is not necessarily a matter of cause and effect. The reverse is also possible. The fact that a woman is attracted to a family man may allow her to realise her own career goals.”
Moreover, women are attracted to men who are better potential fathers. Someone who is more family-oriented and more domesticated is more likely to be involved in parenting and every day family life.
But it doesn’t just apply to young women…
Apparently, women of all ages might agree as well.
In another part of their study, the researchers asked 198 couples – all heterosexual and double-income couples from 22-59 years old, what the found most important in their life.
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The answer was the same: all women, regardless of age, are happier if their partner has more time for their families.
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That only seems natural, since women have always had to find balance between work and family. It’s always been a struggle that conflicts against traditional family norms.
So today, women are happier and less stressed when they have partners that don’t mind picking up some slack at home.
Is this the case everywhere?
Unfortunately, it’s not.
There are still countries in the world that have traditional family stereotypes. And even if men in these countries are progressive, they’re still conflicted by societal pressure.
“Some areas change more slowly than others and this makes it hard for men. At home, they have to be a warm-hearted family man, while this is still something they’re punished for at work. It’s a lot easier if the expectations are similar everywhere.
“For instance, it’s currently not always socially acceptable for men to take parental leave or work part-time. This also has to do with men’s underlying fear of losing their masculinity. Research has shown that men often feel that they have to prove their masculinity by being competitive and assertive.”
Nevertheless, times are changing.
It’s not clear whether this pattern will stick or not. However, we can no longer deny that when gender roles are challenged, changes are bound to happen.
When women are becoming more and more career-oriented, it’s only natural that they’re more attracted to “family men.”
But it doesn’t have to be a drastic change. And it doesn’t mean we should be giving more responsibility to men.
It simply means that we have to communicate what we want better, especially in the roles we want to play within our families.
“Maybe we should all start simplifying our responsibilities? It’s not about taking on extra ones, but rather finding a good balance between partners, which can take on many forms.
“Many couples have divided the tasks at a certain point, but don’t discuss this anymore afterwards. It’s good for any couple to still explicitly talk about this at times.
“What do you really want? And don’t be guided by what society expects. There might be some relationships in which the woman is more interested in getting ahead, while it’s the man in other relationships. And then there are couples who divide the responsibilities equally.”
Perhaps it’s not about changing what men should do, but what society should do to allow men to take on roles that are not predetermined for them. Men shouldn’t have to just choose one role. They shouldn’t have to be judged if they don’t choose it either.