This study examines men's talk on gender roles in the context of the lack of a legitimate successor to the male provider role (Bernard, 1981) despite social change in gender relations and egalitarian value systems. Discourse analysis was performed on 46 interviews with professional, white, heterosexual men to examine the management and functions of talk that legitimised or contested traditional gender roles. Traditional gender roles were justified through both biological and socialisation arguments that presented these roles as unchangeable and people as non-agentic. The provider role functioned to define success and status; 'real' work; and the legitimate mechanism for the production of male identity. Attention to the possibility of being heard as sexist was managed through the incorporation of counter arguments, feminist critiques and the construction of non-provider men in terms of positive, but gender neutral, characteristics. The absence of a masculinity-egalitarian coupling is discussed as an explanation for the continued support of traditional gender roles.