In today’s culture, there seems to be two opposing views of masculinity. Both are kinda dumb. Here’s where they get it wrong.
Men in this country have been raised on preposterous notions of what masculinity (or manhood) entails, but don’t assume you know where I’m going with this because you probably don’t.
My definition of masculinity will likely offend you and provoke you to mentally travel across the Web, cyber-punk like, reach through my screen, grab me by the neck, and chicken choke me. Or maybe it won’t.
It’s a risk I’m willing to take.
First, let me credentialize myself. For years, I wrote a column based on masculinity. I even studied the topic semi-formally for seven years during one-on-one sessions with a PhD psychologist who ran a center for mental and emotional development. I have also dragged my dick along this earth for a good number of years and paid a lot of attention to human behavior while doing it.
Back to the topic.
The Broken Branches of Masculinity
I’ve observed that there are largely two opposing branches of masculinity in our country, and both are influenced more by cultural factors than biological factors.
Unfortunately, the two branches have Dutch Elm disease. Call in the masculinity tree doctor.
The first faction is populated by people who seem to reside mostly in the country of Twitterlandia. They apparently make no distinction between the sexes. They seem to think that we should all strive for an androgynous, sexless personae, kind of like the Eloi in HG Well’s book, “The Time Machine.” Eventually, they’ll all be herded up and eaten by Morlocks, but that’s okay because Morlocks? They gotta’ eat too.
Their perception of masculinity is that it’s an obsolete concept. Little or no vive la difference. Their beliefs seem to be based largely on the cultural influences of their lofty-minded peers, virtue signaling, and the fear of being me-tooed or canceled if they deviate.
They might think it speaks to their evolved state, but it’s based on artifice and subjugation of “natural” masculinity.
But before you get too smug and think, “Attaboy, TC, way to spank those libtards,” let me point out that the other side of masculinity – as trumpeted by a lot of hugely popular talk show and podcast hosts and manhood pontificators in general – also has a view of masculinity that’s also just another absurd social construct.
The Masculinity Pontificators Are Wrong, Too
Those media celebrities I alluded to all grew up in the second half of the 20th century, a time of upheaval, confusion, women’s lib, and Hollywood. They were, like all men of that time, saddled with iconic images of the strong, silent type, personified by the characters played by Gary Cooper and John Wayne and later by Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger (pre-comedy Arnold), and various other muscled, monosyllabic types.
Simultaneously, these media celebrities, products of their culture, probably saw women assuming traditionally masculine roles, and they might have become increasingly frustrated and befuddled as to their roles in society. And worse, they weren’t supposed to talk about it because it’s not manly to talk about feelings or emotions. They stayed emotionally infantile.
The only emotion that got plenty of exercise because it was acceptable to express was anger. It’s funny, a segment of society still regards women as the emotional sex, but that’s only true if you exclude anger as an emotion. If you don’t exclude it, you see that it’s really these supposedly strong, silent types that are the excitable, little wetting-the-floor Cocker Spaniels.
And as these men “evolved,” the certitude of their views about manliness became stratified. Men must fit their definition of tough. Men must be stoic and hide or suppress emotion and pain. They castigate those that are “weak” or those that don’t conform to their perception of masculinity.
You have to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and put your schlong only in pre-approved holes. Green M&M’s should be left alone, and don’t mess with pronouns, damn it.
Good grief, since when did whining and kvetching and being plain bitchy about trivial things become a trait of masculinity?
So what if the motivations for changing M&M’s or going to great lengths to change the way society uses pronouns is awkward and forced? So what if it’s likely just a kneejerk reaction to a lot of real or perceived injustices in the world, one which will likely see its pendulum swing back to a more neutral position in the future?
Real masculinity is no one’s “victim” and can’t be “emasculated” by cultural winds.
Sure, Call Your Son a Pussy Enough Times and See What Happens
Back in the early 2000s, a guy that went simply by the name of Maddox wrote a book called “The Alphabet of Manliness” and became the arbiter of masculinity in America. Here’s a representative passage:
When I talk about old masculinity, I’m talking about guys like my dad. My dad is a really tough guy. He fought in Korea, and if you took a look at this guy’s hands, you would see [that they] are big and callused and gnarled, and there’s stuff just oozing from them, and I think he has oil stains that are there permanently. And my hands, in comparison, are not like that. Sometimes he grabs my hands, and he calls me a pussy, and he walks away. To give you an idea what kind of guy he is, we went fishing once and he didn’t have anything to gut and clean the fish, so he bit into its stomach and bit its guts out and spit them on the ground. True story. I was 13 or 14.
Great. His dad had an aversion to soap, didn’t know about Nivea, and lacked the ingenuity to use the fishhook – or a sharp stick – to slice open the fish’s belly. Not only that but dad’s got the emotional development of an orc.
Hey, let’s do a long-running experiment. You dads out there, call your kid a pussy and walk away. Do it a few times. Maybe on his b-day or Christmas. See what kind of emotionally stable guy he grows up to be. Chances are he’ll still be wetting the bed when he’s 40. Maybe he’ll have a nationally broadcast TV show or podcast or even turn out to be one of those sick bastards who walks into an elementary school with a rucksack of loaded guns.
Based on the evidence, I think the masculinity pontificators are in Maddox’s camp, but is any of that stuff Maddox wrote about really masculinity/manliness? Or is it something more, something far deeper, far more admirable, and far rarer?
Okay, You Said What Masculinity Isn’t, Now Tell Me What It Is
Real injustices in society piss me off, as does racism. That being said, I think a lot of racially oversensitive people are supreme party poops, and they should be forced to parade up main street in their underwear, and not their nice weekend underwear, but their ratty Tuesday or Wednesday underwear.
However, I don’t think who you sleep with or how you dress has anything to do with true masculinity… unless you wear Crocs. A man’s got to draw the line somewhere.
“Real” masculinity, before we perverted it, was a sweet brew of psychological, physiological, and biological characteristics that support the demands of being male. It initially manifested itself in a need to compete with other males for resources and sex. If resources and sex weren’t an issue, it sometimes manifested itself in destruction, rebellion, and anger.
However, as civilization evolved, so did our minds and collective psychology. Masculinity was channeled into acceptable pro-social traits and activities. It remained courageous and protective, but it also drew on certain traits that are generally ascribed to femininity, namely empathy, cooperation, and the ability to support and nurture.
But masculinity is a complex recipe requiring more than just a scant few ingredients. No, it’s a whole damn Bundt cake of positive traits, among them the following:
• Non-culturally defined masculinity is responsible – It is responsible toward your body, your health, folks and animals, and exhibiting a caring perspective in the direction of society, the atmosphere, and life itself.
• Non-culturally outlined masculinity is protecting – It constructions the wholesome relationship between a person and a girl; it strives for higher issues. It exhibits emotional power within the face of adversity, and it’s accountable towards oneself, towards family members and pals, and society and nature. It’s additionally lusty, for which it doesn’t apologize, however the lustiness is tempered by respect.
• Non-culturally outlined masculinity has self-worth – Self-worth is competence, clearly outlined functions, and integrity, that means that your actions are congruent to your beliefs. Self-worth implies that if somebody insults you, it’s both true or not. An actual man assesses the data, absorbs criticism if it’s warranted and learns from it. A “pussy” deflects criticism, explains himself, or lashes out in anger.
Any man with a modicum of shallowness is basically invulnerable to insults. Can a bug insult you? How a couple of rodent? No? Then how can some fool who doesn’t know you, doesn’t know something you’ve achieved, know your abilities, your background, your integrity, say something to decrease your value?
I was a big-time retaliator. My picture of myself was a tricky man who didn’t take any shit. My fantasy-driven self-image, nevertheless, has been changed by self-worth. I used to worth myself with out trigger and lash out. Now I worth myself with trigger, and tranquility has ensued.
• Non-culturally outlined masculinity is courageous – I don’t imply courageous as within the means to bear ache. Granted, having the ability to bear ache in finishing some heroic process is fearless, however lacerating your femoral artery whereas trimming your toenails with a Buck knife and refusing to go to the physician isn’t courageous, and it isn’t manly, solely silly.
And whereas talking of bravery and heroism, a lot of what passes for it’s primarily based, paradoxically, on insecurity and the will for approval. Males generally act courageous as a result of not being courageous would invite scorn and disapproval from their friends.
True bravery is available in many types. It will probably come within the type of bodily self-sacrifice and even emotional self-sacrifice. It may additionally come within the type of going in opposition to standard opinion, standing up for injustice when it would injury your standing in the neighborhood.
It’s boldly dealing with dangerous information as an alternative of avoiding it. It’s realizing that all the things worthwhile comes at a value; all the things really worthwhile has some kind of short-term or long-term ache related to it
• Non-culturally outlined masculinity is assured – Confidence shouldn’t be confused with cockiness. One is a false entrance, enacted to guard your self-image, and one is self-assuredness in your talents, ideas, and actions.
Confidence means that you can think about different folks’s opinions with out damaging your ego. Sadly, most males search out others whose opinions at all times match their very own.
• Non-culturally outlined masculinity is sincere – I’m satisfied that about each third factor a mean man says is an exaggeration or a downright lie. Once more, it’s all an try to protect or undertaking a false self-image.
• Non-culturally outlined masculinity has objective – Sadly, most males don’t have any objective in life apart from recreation and, typically, distractions of every kind, whether or not they be sports activities, vehicles, gaming, or amassing Snapple bottle tops.
A person’s bought to have some objective or functions, whether or not they’re inside (about emotional development, private development), intrapersonal (household and pals), or exterior (occupational).
Possibly you need to be a professional coach or coach whose starvation for getting higher by no means dies. That’s a fantastic objective. Possibly you need to be one of the best husband or father or good friend which you could be, always giving vitality to folks you care about. Additionally a fantastic objective. Or perhaps you simply need to develop the internal you, discovering your motivations and functions, whereas uncovering your contradictions and curing your neuroses, which is a really fantastic objective.
“Actual” males are content material once they’re studying one thing new or carrying out some process. Boys, nevertheless, are content material once they’re taking part in.
Oddly sufficient, these masculinity definitions/virtues are additionally a part of what makes a girl girl, which could confuse a few of these mainstream masculinity pontificators.
This is a Man Who Would possibly Match the Invoice
A couple of months ago, Brett Stephens, a columnist for The New York Times (who also used to be the deputy editorial page editor for The Wall Street Journal) wrote the following about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:
We admire Zelensky because he models what a man should be: impressive without being imposing; confident without being cocksure; intelligent without pretending to be infallible; sincere rather than cynical; courageous not because he is fearless but because he advances with a clear conscience. American boys, in particular, raised on preposterous notions of what manhood entails, should be steered towards his example.
Given that appraisal and his background as a lawyer, comedian, actor, statesman, and politician, Zelensky might be described as a modern-day Renaissance man.
The term comes from the 15th century, mostly inspired by Leon Battista Alberti, who was an Italian author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, and philosopher. It describes a man who is limitless in his capacities for development; a man who wants to develop skills in all areas of experience, including book smarts, physical development, and even social accomplishments.
Amen. Let’s replace one of those talk show/podcast hosts with Zelensky after the war is over.
Unfortunately, I fear the term “Renaissance man” would cause some of those mainstream masculinity pontificators to visualize some “pussy” wearing something like, Heaven forbid, a rainbow flag pin. Stand by with the fainting couch.
You know, maybe I’ve got it wrong. Maybe masculinity/manliness is mostly based on cultural influences instead of biological ones. Maybe men are just choosing to be influenced by the wrong cultures.