Statement # 32
Man in the 21st Century, immature or mature?
person has a need for order and association. We need order so as to
understand and define the external world. This applies to
understanding ourselves as well: without order consciousness would not
be able to exist. And it is that order exactly which appears to be
dying for men. Our role has greatly changed in the past decennia.
How do we learn to understand our gender?
small child learns from the contrasts between day and night, hunger
and satisfaction, warmth and cold, outside and inside, pain and joy,
good and wrong. In the same way, the child also learns to understand
the sexes, man and woman. In the ideal situation of upbringing through
his mama and papa. This two-fold division is essential for the
survival of man.
though a child is quick to be refined, I believe that the simple
ordering of the world are useful to the extent that they have a
decisive influence on our way of thinking and experiencing the world,
on our way of being. We are assisted by a clarifying order of things.
we need that idea while growing up to understand that what exists
today also will exist tomorrow. Imagine if we keep on thinking that
mummy is gone is goes to stand behind a tree. Knowledge is then a
knowledge of the certainties: the wheel is then not reinvented every
day. We are in this sense assisted by a ‘conservative’,
The conservative boys’ code
also have the tendency to attach this conservative order to our
world-view. World-view can be described as ‘the whole of one’s
fundamental perspectives of belief with regard to reality' .
perspectives of belief are broader than religious vision. It concerns
here our vision of society and of mankind as well, and therefore also
our perception of man and woman. As a child we acquire a certain
perception of how men and how women are (or ought to be). Dr. W.
Pollak has written an very interesting book about this: the boys’ code. We already talked about this in Opinion
code shows with what perception of man many boys have grown up with.
The boys’ code contributes to the development of the well-known
macho man is ‘cool’, in
other words, he does not show
his feelings. With this, he wants to show that he is above them, that
he is the boss over his feelings. In reality, that is all an act.
Moreover, the man can lose the contact with these feelings and
therefore lose contact with that part of himself as a result.
The macho man is the boss, he is in charge of the ‘stage-management’. Others must bend themselves to suit him (whether willingly, or unwillingly).
concluding, we can put forward the idea that the macho man is an
immature personality. He is stuck in an unrefined perception of man,
based on a boys’ code which was exceptionally useful in the
hunters’ culture, but is nowadays hopelessly defunct. What is
striking is that this boys’ code is very similar to the knights’
code that was already mentioned.
Fortunately not all men are
emotionally stuck in the Middle Ages. Man has also changed with time,
be it with great resistance and difficulty. As a reaction to the
emancipation of the woman, man has also changed. A new kind of man
presents itself, the metro man.
Ten years ago, the British
journalist Mark Simpson of The
Independent introduced the metro man. This man stands for a modern
man who does not shy away from cosmetics and loves fashion. He dresses
himself stylishly, goes to the hairdresser often and also knows where
to find beauty salons. The metro man loves art and culture, buys his
own clothes and enjoys cooking. He dares to talk about his emotions
and to put see himself in vulnerable terms. The metro man is not
gay. On the contrary, he is a real womaniser.
The term metro man is supposed
to mean a man of the metropolis.
A man who lives in a big city so that he has everything that his
hearts desires: chic shops, beauty salons, saunas, sports schools, art
and culture, you name it.
The metro man is tough and feminine at the same time. A clear example is David Beckham, who wears sarongs and polishes his nails, but is at the same time an athletic footballer.
is a metroman.
my introduction I wrote about Will. He is a stereotypical metro man.
Will is preoccupied with his outward appearance, cuts his hair weekly
and has taste in clothes and music. He is rich and lives like a king
in his luxuriously furnished apartment. He loves women and tries to
hit on them regularly.
in fact, lies a problem: women cut off the relationship soon enough.
Materially will is prosperous, but what about immaterially? What is
the metro man as a partner? You can go shopping with him, go to the
sauna and talk about his feelings. In fact, it is often about his
typical trademark of the metro man: he is very much busy with himself and must also make that known to the whole world. In
short, he is nothing other than a narcissistic dandy .
The metro man appears to be immature as well, despite the fact that he does not shy away from his feminine side. In this respect he is ahead of the macho man.
is remarkable is that both men are very much involved with themselves.
Their appearance and their behaviour take a central place and make
them who they are. Macho or metro, ‘tough and cool’ or
‘straight’, but then feminine’.
The fundamental idea of the man as ruler has collapsed like a house of cards
Schippers already argued that the man is afraid that the woman will
excel him. This fear has greatly increased with advancing feminism.
The fundamental idea of the man as ruler has collapsed like a house of
cards. And it is also said that men are gradually becoming redundant.
this vein, the British geneticist Bryan Sykes wrote the book Adam’s
Curse, (translated in Dutch as ‘A
future without men’). In that book, he argues that men
nowadays have become redundant for reproduction. It is now possible to
breed an embryo from two egg cells. In
Sykes also describes in his book that the fertility rate of the man is greatly decreasing. Our Y-chromosome, more than other chromosomes, is being irrevocably damaged by mutations and cell divisions. It will actually take some time before we become completely redundant. It will only be after some five thousand generations that the male fertility rate will fall down to 1% . Even so, our fundamental disbelief in our own gender is again confirmed with such a discovery.
The man is being further estranged from his natural roots. Cornel Bierens describes this very succinctly:
Men are indispensable
man occupies a pivotal position in society and cannot be dislodged
from there. He is part of society and is important. Despite that some
want us to believe that the man is becoming obsolete, I want to argue
that this is absolutely not correct. We are still
indispensable. I want to
express this explicitly here because a positive self-perception and
self-value is beneficial to the development of every individual.
The involved man, just like Will in the movie, does not have to be the
father of the boy. The boy does not even have to live with the man.
The man does have to have genuine importance for the boy, and be
involved in the boy’s life .
to Pollak, who we already cited in relation to the boys’ code, boys
really need contact with men. This is important because they need a
Also the girls need a man in their lives.
The mature man.
the man still does appear to have a reasonable function in this era. I
think that the ‘mature’ man is himself aware of this function.
With ‘mature’ I do not mean in terms of age, but in terms of
development. The metro man remains stuck in puberty because of his
egocentric behaviour. The macho man is also immature, because he holds
fast to a severely outdated boys’ code. The HIM
really recognizes his responsibility, stands with both feet in
society, is not egocentric and loves himself, by which he can also
Henk Hanssen is such a man. He is a father, the founder of the website www.ikvader.nl , and the founder of the ‘New Daddy’ workshops.
opened my eyes at the time was the research from which it appears that
babies who have a lot of contact with their father are already better
off after six months: generally, they have more self-confidence and
are motorically more advance than other babies who rarely see their
fathers do not have to sacrifice their career at all. It is easy to
combine. Vrij Nederland  dedicated an entire
article to this. In it, modern fathers speak out. These papas are
certainly not house-husbands. They stand with both feet in the world,
radiate self-confidence, and have good jobs. Further, they even have
their hobbies. They recognize the important to be actively involved in
the upbringing of their children.
This is important: 'Bring the father back in society' 
In previous opinion pieces of Counter Weight, it has already been said that there are many boys with problems of socialisation.
causes of this have been greatly considered. And of course in
particular the possible solutions have been considered as well.
do not want to be simplistic, but I believe that the man has an
important task here. Whereas the previous century was once termed the
fatherless society, in the
current century he would have to be more involved with his children
again. For that matter, this does not just concern fathers, but also
teachers, sport leaders, and men who in what ever possible way are
also in contact with children.
have a responsibility in society, to which they could contribute to
the way it is shaped. They
are still needed. The modern man is a highly involved man, who has a
positive self-perception, is not afraid to be dependent, and who loves
Notes & sources
 Genesis 3 : 16, respectively Qur'an 4: 34.
 N. Wilterink, Societies
 Genesis 25 : 27
 See also: Ruth Mazo Karras, From Boys to Men, formations of masculinity in late medieval Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. In this book this historian tries to explain the ‘cockerel behaviour’ of men.
 1 Corinthians 11, 3
 In the past, you had clear social groupings. In Dutch this is known as ‘zuil’, or pillar. A Protestant family voted CDA [Christian Democrat Party], was a member of NCRV [Netherlands Christian Radio Association], children went to Protestant schools and associations, and they read the [Protestant newspaper] Trouw. You did everything within the Protestant social grouping. A Catholic was member of the KRO [Catholic Radio Broadcasting Company], went to Catholic schools, and so forth. In other words, everything within the Catholic social grouping. The retreat of this kind of thinking and behaviour we call ‘de-pillarisation’.
 ‘The proverbial fear for her; 8 March 2004, Trouw
 A.M. Wolters, Creation without boundary, Buijten & Schipperheijn, Amsterdam, p. 10
 Tom Kreling, ‘Herbal bath, crème, depilating tweezer: does the metroman have future?’,10 January 2004, NRC-Handelsblad
 C. Bierens, ‘Men: stop crying if you can also fight!’, 5 June 2004; NRC-Handelsblad
 A. Katz, A. Buchanan, & J.A. Brinke, Tomorrow’s Men, Young Voice, 12 Bridge Gardens, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9HU, Great Britain.
See also: He
Turns Boys Into Men; By Jeffrey Marx
 Vinckx, Y; The harrowing mother-daughter relationship - with examples, 20 March 2004, NRC-Handelsblad.
The research: N. Heinich & C. Eliacheff, Mother and daughters: a triangular relation, Albin Michel, Arfbeiderspers 2002
 Van Hintum, ‘Macho dads’, 16 August 2003, Vrij Nederland
 Boff, Leonardo, Give children a chance to follow a plan of life; Bring the father back in society; 11 september 2004; NRC
We would also like to refer back to what we wrote
about even younger men: The boy and the need to take
the time for him.