One cannot always be a hero, but one can always be a man.
Let me start off today by stating an idea. It’s not a popular one, and people might react as if this article is one made in the form of satire or even irony. Before I state it, let me clarify that I’m being dead serious, and if you find offense from the statement or disagree, at least give me the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind it before dismissing it. What is this statement? It’s the following.
This is a wonderful time for masculinity, manhood, and to be a man!
There, I said it. Let the volatile reactions commence. Why do you thing I would be expecting such an adverse reaction? Because masculinity is currently the topic of choice of two opposing extremes within our society.
One group condemns masculinity as, in their views, manhood only serves to restrict men, not allowing them to do certain things and express certain behavior thanks to its oppressive nature. They assume that men can’t express themselves freely till they break off the chains of toxic masculinity, yet they never define the difference between toxic masculinity and any other kind of masculinity. Any manly interests or expressions are viewed as a result of brainwashing where men are little more than a mindless slave to a social construct. Then again, this group, if allowed to rant on, will blame ALL of society’s ills on masculinity.
The other group fears for masculinity as, in their views, society has made an open declaration of war against anything manly. They rant on about the “wussification” of men as they promote the idea that men should only do manly things. Their construction of masculinity is so frail that anything, especially those things that are traditionally viewed as feminine or “woman’s work,” can serve to make men less of a man. In their eyes, masculinity needs to be labeled and color coded to keep men from turning out “funny.” (Funny=code word used to avoid saying gay and being called a homophobe)
As both of these groups go at each others throats, manhood is caught in the crossfire. And if I would focus on the negative aspects of this debate, I would think that masculinity would end up as a casualty of war, something that one side would celebrate and the other would use as “proof” of the “agenda” the first group has against humanity. Here’s the thing. This isn’t the first time masculinity nor has manhood come under fire. We saw it during the Age of Illumination as cold intelligence an education was thought would destroy the emotionality of masculinity. We saw it during the Age of Industrialization as machines would replace the physical prowess of masculinity. Nietzsche and C.S. Lewis wrote extensively about this, in case you’re interested.
What we are seeing today is just the growing pains of masculinity evolving, as is the rest of society. When you filter out all the ridiculous extremes and absurd conjectures loudly screamed out by both groups, and it’s a lot, you end up with a vision of an amazing new man, a man sure of himself as he finds a balance between the masculine and the feminine side of human nature.
Ironically, this is the way manhood had always been viewed before we hit all the current social bullshit of selective condemnation, convenient blindness, and institutionalized whining. This new man is no longer a slave to either social construct, the one that limited who he is because of masculinity, and the one that limited his masculinity because of who he is.
So let these two groups go at each others throat. You keep being a man who lives in a way that you can be proud of. Don’t let either group make you feel ashamed of who you are. When the smoke clears and we can finally see the empty battlefield, we will notice it wasn’t masculinity that was burned down, but rather the blinders that these two groups hold on so dearly that is gone.