Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Christianity’s Masculinity Crisis

From Crisis:
Here’s where the national security threat comes in. If there ever was a time when males in Western societies needed to be unconfused about their gender, this is it. That’s because we’re surrounded by enemies and potential enemies who are unapologetic about their gender identity and are quite prepared to rule over those weaker cultures that prefer appeasement to confrontation.

Islam, which is a hyper masculine religion, is the world’s fastest growing religion.  Indeed its appeal to basic masculine psychology is one of the chief reasons for its success. In military-like summer camps across the Islamic world, young boys are taught who their enemies are, and they are taught survival skills, hand-to-hand combat, and weapons use. Along with developing fighting skills, the boys also develop a sense of camaraderie and even brotherhood. And, because the training includes religious study, they also often acquire a sense of transcendent purpose. Because this type of life—let’s call it “the purpose-driven strife”—is highly appealing to many young men, the jihad doesn’t have a recruitment problem.

Such an education obviously has the potential for creating a warped sense of masculinity. But it’s well to recall that in former days the elite English schools sought to develop masculine virtues in boys through a combination of chapel, study, and competitive sports. It was thought that by channeling natural masculine drives, boys would be better prepared for the battles of life as well as actual battles. The Battle of Waterloo was famously said to have been won on the playing fields of Eton. The question for today is how should men in Western societies—many of whom have been taught to seek safe spaces when their ideas are challenged—respond when faced with truly toxic masculinity? (Read more.)

From Mary Beth Bonacci:
 I don’t think men need to be what society (or the “patriarchal ideal masculine construct”) decrees that they be. I think men should be what they are. Men are strong. Men are protective. Men are, yes, sometimes aggressive. None of these things are socially conditioned. Masculinity and femininity spring from the way we were created, from our natural physical and neurological makeup.  Men’s bodies have, on the whole, a higher percentage of muscle than women’s bodies do. Just as women’s brains have more interconnectivity between the hemispheres. These and myriad other differences in our physiology give us men and women different — and complementary — gifts.

These are tendencies, not stereotypes. Masculinity isn’t about John Wayne riding into the sunset, any more than femininity is about weak women dropping hankies and fainting. Our individual mileage varies. There are as many unique expressions of masculinity as there are men.  Some men are stronger and/or more sensitive and/or more protective than others. Same with women. But our bodies and brains are fundamentally different, and that leads to certain predictable variations. I don’t believe masculinity is “toxic.” Masculinity is raw material, just as femininity is. Men can use their gifts for good or for evil, just as women can. (But try using the term “toxic femininity” in polite company and see what happens.) For millennia, the goal of society has been to channel those instincts, not to suppress them. Where would we be without masculine strength and aggressiveness channeled toward the protection of society?

But today, there seems to be a movement to neutralize masculinity entirely. I have been saying for a long time that feminism — while laudable and important in many ways — made a fundamental mistake early on in assuming that “it’s better to be a man.” Women are often deemed “equal” to the extent that we usurp male characteristics and excel in traditionally male domains. It makes sense that the next step would be to say that men themselves are no good at being men and need to become more like women.

We’ve come a long way, baby. (Read more.)

From Intellectual Takeout:
If toxic masculinity is only an undesirable kind of masculinity, then we need to ask: what does good masculinity look like? But so far our culture’s answer seems to be: it looks like femininity, which is not very inspiring for most men. 
Furthermore, the notion of toxic masculinity suggests the possibility of toxic femininity, in which case there is no need to target men and boys specifically as uniquely bad individuals. It’s like we are saying: “Whatever is good in you, boys, you share with females, and whatever is bad in you, boys, is just you.” 
If a similar Gillette ad had been directed toward our daughters, maybe we could see how un-motivating this line of reasoning is: “Ladies, some of you are ok. A good many of you are failing. ALL of you could do better. Oh, and please buy our razors.” Men don’t like being condescended to, manipulated, and having assumptions made about them based on their sex. Men and boys, like women and girls, don’t respond positively to sexism (defined here as “prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination based on sex”). 
Male bullying, male violence and male sexual sins cannot be isolated as only the responsibility of males. For instance, increasingly, women raise boys without fathers. If gender is a social construct, as the radical left claims, and children are increasingly raised by single women (40 percent of all births in the US are to single mothers), and women dominate child care, education, medical, counseling, and social work fields, then men cannot be entirely blamed for negative outcomes with sons who are being raised entirely by women, and that they may not even be allowed to see. 
Female misbehavior can be just as devastating as men’s. Our honest experience should teach us that women are capable of being unjust, dishonest, and quite aggressive, (though usually socially instead of physically). However, the recent move to allow women to abort their own children up to the age of birth in New York State should teach us that both men and women are capable of devastating atrocities toward even the weakest and most vulnerable. (Read more.) 

From Return to Order:
The problem of toxic masculinity is not new. When men are given over to their passions, it will always create toxic situations of savagery and barbarity. What is new is the depths to which postmodernity plunges men deeper into sin.  The new solutions not only go against man’s true nature; they annihilate it.

It was the Church that tamed the human passions and proposed models for men that elevated them to unimaginable heights. The Church proposed chivalry giving men an ideal to channel ill-regulated passions. That ideal would capture the imagination of countless men throughout history that persists even today. Moreover, the Church provides the means of grace which makes the practice of these high ideals possible.

For the first time in history, being a man meant admiring and striving for virtues such as mercy, courage, valor, chastity, fairness, protection of the weak and the poor. Being a man meant adopting an attitude of gentleness and graciousness to all women, a practice unknown to the ancient pagan world that often treated them as chattels.  It introduced the idea of honor, service and abnegation even to the point of giving one’s life.

Chivalry enriched manliness immensely. It taught men to extend the scope of their manliness and become Catholic gentlemen. The modern cause of manliness would gain much today if it set the bar high by adopting chivalry as a model. The bar needs to be set high, especially for millennials that crave such challenges. Today’s problem is not toxic masculinity that sets the bar ever lower, but toxic postmodernity where there is no bar at all. (Read more.)

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