Is Masculinity Toxic?

Ronald Reagan famously said: “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

You can see variations of this truth over and over from the liberal perspective.   Guns are the root cause of gun violence.  All Life is precious even unborn life except, of course, for human unborn life.  And the grand whopper of them all: “toxic masculinity.”

As if the left believes that there is something toxic about the very existence of masculinity and that the only acceptable form of masculinity is femininity.  Hmm – I think we may be on to something there.

Just like a gun laying on the ground is a non-threat to any human life as it is merely a tool waiting to be used for good or evil, masculinity is neither good or evil.  It is just a set of traits that can be used by an individual.  If the individual has bad motives and intentions, the use of masculine traits to accomplish a bad outcome does not mean the masculine traits were bad – it means the person was a bad person.

In other words – there is no such thing as “toxic masculinity,” just toxic people.

A perfect example exists between the man attempting to violently assault someone and the man defending that person from that violent assault.  Both men will use violence to achieve their individual goals.  One will be bad and one will be good, but both are using the same masculine traits.

The same is true for feminine traits.  It is the person who makes it right or wrong, good or evil, not the intrinsic traits they choose to employ for either acting kindly or acting viciously.  So if the actual physiological traits of masculine and feminine are benign in and of themselves, where does the concept of toxic masculinity come from?

To understand the liberal perspective, let’s consider toxic masculinity as defined by the Good Men Project: Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression. It’s the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness; where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured, while supposedly “feminine” traits—which can range from emotional vulnerability to simply not being hypersexual—are the means by which your status as “man” can be taken away.”

There is just a HUGE problem with this definition; no one, not one single man would ever define masculinity in this way.  This definition is the perfect example of individual behaviors being used as a definition of the physiological traits of one half of our dimorphic species.

This definition is the Hollywood & Madison Avenue, entertainment and marketing definition of masculinity.

If this is what you think masculinity is – you are the problem.  You need to get out into the real world.

Let’s break that ridiculous definition down.  Strength is everything – really?  We are assuming they mean physical strength here.  All of masculinity is defined by physical strength?  Hardly.  Now is physical strength a masculine trait, yes.   Is it the only masculine trait that matters?  Of course, not.  Is it important?  Without a doubt.  Do all men have exactly the same levels of strength? No, like all physiological traits, strength exists on a spectrum and is one that the individual can affect to a large degree by effort, discipline and determination.

But men do not define strength as merely physical strength.  We strive for strength of will, strength of mind and strength of resolve.  Strength is nothing but a standard of measurement.  You apply it as needed to measure where you are in comparison to where you want to be and the circumstances you have encountered.

Let’s talk about physical strength since that the intention of the writers of the definition.  Are they referring to the strength of every man in the three Olympic lifts?  Are they referring to the striking power of his left hook?  Are they referring to his strength of leg power while cycling?  Are they referring to his strength of hitting a baseball?  His strength of grip in climbing a rock face?  His strength of body control when dealing with cold temperatures?  The point is there is no single standard measurement of strength among men so how could a generic description of physical strength be “everything” when you cannot define what you mean by strength?

Then how can a single generic non-specific non-standard measurement be “everything” to all living examples of such a complex creature as a man?  It can’t.  Fail number one.

OK, let’s move to the next part: Emotions are a weakness.  Well, straight out of the gate, I call BS!

If emotions were a weakness, men would never listen to love songs, date, fall in love or marry the person of their dreams.  This trope is hauled out in nearly every discussion on the topic with the standard example of “men aren’t supposed to cry” nonsense. And it is utter nonsense.

Emotions simply are what we feel.  We can use emotion to inspire or motivate ourselves or to bind and hold ourselves back.  Emotions are neither a strength or a weakness until we use them as such.  They can be a vulnerability or an armor.  We can fall victim to them or use them to lift us to new heights of accomplishment and grandeur.

So how can something so expansive and so universal be defined solely as a weakness?

How about this – Stop denying our humanity simple because our expression of our emotions differs from yours.  We feel as much as any woman or liberal and we express these feelings to those whose opinions of us matter to us.   We don’t wear our emotions on our sleeves for every person to see, because not everyone has proven themselves trustworthy to see our vulnerabilities and our tears.  Time and place for everything.

We cry. We laugh.  We sigh. We rage. We love.

I can give you a perfect example of unabashed male emotionalism.  I went opening weekend to see the Mel Gibson movie “The Patriot” and the audience was practically wall to wall testosterone.  When the youngest daughter who had not said a word and who had shunned her father, Gibson’s character, suddenly ran after him and cried out through her tears “Papa don’t go!  There was not a dry eye in the room.  Grown men who had come to see an archetypal manly war movie were crying in public in front of complete strangers.

This scene pulls so strongly at our masculine hearts because it speaks to the very core of our emotional being.  We do the hard things, we take the big risks and we endure the difficult times because of people we care about and when their love is expressed so purely and so innocently, it slays us right then and there.

Emotions are not a weakness for men, they are our bedrock of strength and drive us to act courageously, determinedly and faithfully for our families and friends.  If I am not sharing my inner emotions with you, guess where you don’t fit in?  Fail number two.

And finally: sex and brutality are the yardsticks by which men are measured.  Oh really?  Let’s break this down.   How is sex a yardstick for men?   I could not tell you a single man’s number of sexual partners beyond myself.   And I could not care less.  The truth is – we simply don’t care.  Not a single one of us cares about how much sex someone else is getting or not getting. It doesn’t help us or hurt us in our individual search for love, intimacy or sex.

We care only if we are getting some or not ourselves.  Believe it or not, men don’t walk around with amateur, novice and pro sexual ranking cards.  We all busy doing our thing and trying to be successful on our own.  If we see a man with a hot date on his arm – we’re happy for him (unless he’s an ass and then we’re sorry for her).  We love to see good men succeed and bad men fail.  But their success or failure is on them.  We may be able to learn a lesson or two from his experience, but that’s as far as it goes.

So who cares about this topic and uses it to measure men?  Thats’s right – women.   It’s women who think this is an important topic.  Not men.  So how can a measurement men don’t even use be so significant a yardstick?  It’s not . . . for men.  Fail number three.

Brutality:  If you really think men admire brutality – you are so badly informed that I am not sure there is hope for you.  Do men love to compete against each other?  Yes.  Why do we love violent sports if not for a love of brutality?  Because it measures us for ourselves.  He was faster on his run than me.  He out-wrestled me.  He scored more points than me.  These types of wins or losses and so many more simply mean I need to work harder to get better.  What we admire is self-sacrifice, honest effort and courageous honor.  Brutality is a pathetic and disgusting trait that no men admire.

Again – this is the media version of masculinity, not the everyday working man definition.  We truly and deeply abhor brutality and violence.  But – and this is important – we know we can be brutal.  All men can be brutal, and we fear and respect this capacity we all have.  But we do not admire it or measure ourselves by it.   That is so sad a view, it breaks my heart to think that someone actually believes this to be true.  In doing so, good masculine men are not afraid to confront it when necessary with even more brutality and violence to protect those we love.

We are competitive, yes.  We can be brutal yes.  But we do not measure ourselves by brutality.  We use when it is necessary and only when it is necessary such as if we see someone being brutal to another person, we jump in and defend them.  If we see someone being brutal to an animal – we put a stop to it.

See, this is why we strive for strength.

Men want to know that they are strong enough to protect the people and things they love and care about from bad people.   That’s the heart and soul of masculinity.  This is the “get up and go to work everyday” definition of masculinity.  This is the “put my life on the line” definition of masculinity.  This is the “teach my son how to be a real man by example” definition of masculinity.

We want to be strong in mind, body and soul to love more deeply and protect more fiercely.

What’s toxic about that?

Leave your comments below and let me know your thoughts on the matter.

Thanks!

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