Masculinity serves an extremely important social purpose: to defend and provide. By this basic standard, men are largely emasculated failures. It's also getting worse.
"The Problem We All Live With" by Normal Rockwell, 1964.
America is obsessed with masculinity but in a very odd, indirect manner.
We are desperate for “real men” but don’t have the courage to ask what on earth that actually means.
There’s a reason for this. Any coherent understanding of masculinity is an indictment against almost every man you know.
What is Masculinity?
Masculinity isn’t about over-the-top, comical displays of strength and ego. It doesn’t involve any brutality towards women. And it doesn’t include – well – anything the left wing might cook up.
Masculine behavior is this: treating people well, being thoughtful and considerate, and doing literally anything in order to achieve an important human value hierarchy.
Some people rightfully see through the goofy right-wing caricature of “manly men” – and respond with an equally absurd emasculated half-man response. That’s not right either.
Masculinity is less about scotch and fast cars and more about marital faithfulness and being a good father. Don’t get me wrong; after writing this, I plan on going on a drive in my sports car and having a scotch later tonight. But those are just fun, personal and cultural preferences, and aren’t related to the purpose or root of masculinity.
Understanding the Problem
So if you’re a man and you call women “bimbos” when they disagree, you’re doing a bad job at being a man.
So if you’re a man and you can’t figure out how to provide for your family after decades of adulthood, you’re doing a bad job at being a man.
So if you’re a man and you only experience “strength” vicariously through other public figures, you’re doing a bad job at being a man.
So if you’re a man and you don’t feel comfortable with your duty to protect and provide, you’re doing a bad job at being a man.
So if you’re a man who feels more empathy for criminals than for the innocent, you’re doing a bad job at being a man.
Understanding What is Not the Problem
Good men defend the innocent, provide for the truly needy, and will not needlessly sacrifice themselves. A good man’s self-esteem is based on cautious dignity and not mindless ego.
Former president Teddy Roosevelt put it best:
“We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.”
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