Statistics are indeed showing that more men are struggling now than in the past, which is a result of vast economic forces, as well as social ones (Christina Hoff Sommers wrote very presciently about “The War Against Boys” in 2000). And this is serious, and needs to be paid attention to.
…A darker aspect is that this new power balance/imbalance means men are having to grapple with feelings of inferiority that they’re not quite accustomed to, and this can be hard on couples, particularly in a world that almost presumes women will have inferiority complexes.
My ex-girlfriend took an auto mechanics course in high school and knew a fair amount about troubleshooting and making minor repairs. My current girlfriend is far more knowledgeable about all sorts of traditionally masculine skills than I am; I hardly ever used anything more than the most basic tools until my brief stint as a satellite technician. She showed me how to patch a minor leak in the roof, and she made and executed all the plans for building shelves in the garage while I just followed her instructions. I’ve never felt the slightest bit threatened by having to defer to female superiority in matters like that. In fact, it’s downright amusing to go into a Home Depot and watch her do all the talking to the employee who comes over to help while I just stand there smiling. If I were going to learn a new skill, culinary classes would be at the top of my list.
To a certain degree, I do like purposely tweaking people’s conceptions of how a heterosexual male is supposed to think and act, but I’ve just never identified with the sort of rooster pride that concerns itself with being accepted as one of the boys. It’s never occurred to me to see it as anything less than a plus if my partner has skills that complement mine, and I feel sorry for any poor bastard who can’t appreciate his wife making more money than him.