LOS ANGELES--(Break Media, the largest distributor and publisher of digital video content for men. Additionally, more than two-thirds (68%) of men would sacrifice career advancement for more time with family; and, an increasing number of men consider themselves stay-at-home dads.)--Just half of men in relationships consider themselves the primary breadwinners in their households, according to the new Acumen survey of 2,000 men by
“They express their masculinity through ‘small adventures’ from recreational sports to eating contests, and everywhere in between.”
Yet, much like women have fought to “have it all,” the majority of men are no longer deterred by traditional gender stereotypes. “The data in the study show that gender role-reversal reflects how men want to shape their lives at home and their careers, pick the products they buy and the media they view,” said Break Media CEO Keith Richman. “No longer is the modern man the macho master of the universe – instead, he’s a ‘Modern Mensch.’ In today’s post-recessionary environment, that means a new identity rooted in a good-natured, family-oriented measure of happiness and success.”
Men at Home:
According to the Acumen Report, men’s roles at home and with family are at the epicenter of priorities. Over 90% of men believe that part of being a man is taking care of your family and those around you. An equal number say they would sacrifice their own needs to take care of their families. However, pressure to follow traditional gender roles at home still exists; nearly 3 of 4 men concur that society looks down on men who choose to stay at home. Further:
- 55% of men say they would love to be a stay-at-home dad.
- Over a quarter of men with children are solidified in the stay-at-home role, and among these men, nearly the same percentage (23%) admit it’s their responsibility to watch the kids alone, all the time.
- Yet, that’s not to say men have gone soft, commented Richman. “They express their masculinity through ‘small adventures’ from recreational sports to eating contests, and everywhere in between.” For example, 84% of men surveyed agree that every so often, they need to challenge themselves, “even if it’s weird or stupid.”
For guys, stepping into a larger role at home has also upended traditional household responsibilities. Acumen revealed that men now have an increasing responsibility for traditionally female tasks:
- 89% participate in grocery shopping
- 88% in pet care
- 85% in house cleaning
- 83% in doing laundry
- 80% in cooking evening meals
Men and Career:
As men have embraced a larger household role, their careers have changed in tandem. While a majority (86%) say there is still a lot of pressure on them to be the breadwinner, three-quarters of men surveyed say realities dictate that it’s now okay for a man not to be the breadwinner in his household. In fact, over half of men in relationships admit they no longer are the primary breadwinners.
“It makes sense that a shifting balance in life at home for men would be accompanied by different aspirations on the career front,” says Dr. Jane Greer, author, relationship expert, marriage and family therapist in private practice in New York for over 20 years. “As men feel there is a growing freedom to move away from traditional roles, they seek independence and flexibility in their careers that will be a better fit for that lifestyle.”
Technology has enabled a mobile workforce and men are now relying on their smartphones as the modern ‘Tech-rectary,’ with half of men describing their phones as ‘like a third arm.’ Concurrently, there is a new wave of entrepreneurism, and 81% of men now admit they would like to work for themselves someday.
Men in the Media:
The study makes it clear that men believe the media hasn't caught on to the evolved character of today’s man, identifying “a chasm between how men today believe themselves to be, and the way they are depicted on TV shows and movies,” says Break Media’s Richman. Men surveyed said they are 32% more likely to see ‘macho man’ personalities in the media and 23% more likely to see ‘skirt chasers’, yet 31% less likely to see men portrayed as ‘good-hearted and trying to do the right thing’ and 30% less likely to see ‘hard-working, self-sacrificing’ types.
Richman observes that Hollywood is just beginning to pay attention to the gap and adapt male characters and plot development to depict a more accurate portrayal of the modern man. Advertisers have found that male-targeted ads with the highest resonance are those that depict good-hearted guys that don’t take themselves too seriously.
Men as Consumers:
Men today are more apt to want a personal connection to the products and services they buy, according to the study, with implications for purchasing decisions. Ninety percent of respondents indicate they look for products that are right for them and not just the latest and greatest. Over half say they will pay more for products that tell a story or say something about themselves, and they increasingly are the primary decision-maker for products that previously were more female-oriented:
- 75% are the primary decision maker for the clothing brands they wear, and an additional 21% share the decision making, for a total 96% participation overall
- 47% are the primary brand chooser of wellness products, and an additional 41% share the decision making
- 42% are the primary for cleaning products, with 78% participation overall
- 27% of dads are the primary chooser of child/baby care brands, with 78% overall participation
The Acumen Report was based on ethnographic interviews with 16 men in New York, Kansas City, and Portland (OR), small group sessions in each of the 3 cities, and consultation with 4 “experts” immersed in the world of men. This was followed by a 20-minute online survey conducted in July 2012 of 2,000 men ages 18-49 representative of the U.S. male population by age, marital status and ethnicity. Fieldwork was conducted in conjunction with vendors Hunter Qualitative Research and DB5 Research.
Selected excerpts of “The Acumen Report – The Definitive Guide to Men” are available for download on Break Media’s insights portal, Acumen.
About Break Media:
Break Media is the single largest creator and distributor of male-targeted content online, reaching an audience of more than 200 million people through video and editorial content. Properties include the largest humor site online-Break.com-as well as leading properties in the gaming, humor and men's lifestyle verticals. Break Media’s in-house production studio creates original content that ranges from branded entertainment to award winning series. Break Media also is at the forefront of multi-platform video delivery, with applications downloaded millions of times across a spectrum of mobile devices and connected TV.