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.”