Apparently, there is an attack on manhood going on in America. The news report is that men everywhere are being persecuted for being men. The lifestyle of the American male is the going the way of the Dodo bird – destined for extinction because of the relentless and coordinated attack of feminists, homosexuals, and an overactive liberal media. Men, if they do not stand up and fight for their right to be men, will be complicit in the ruination of society. To save masculinity is to save society.
Masculinity is not under attack. A quick survey of history shows that men have feared the feminization of men since…well…forever. This idea became rampant in America around the time of the American Revolution. The elite, aristocrat men of Britain were cast as feminized and soft by the fathers of the Revolution in order to embolden men to fight for independence. After all, what man wants to be ruled over by a woman?
This created a deep sense of anxiety in the American man. One had to earn their masculinity by displaying strength, power, and independence as they proved their ability to become the American Self-Made man. Since this time, men have been fearing the worst: that men would become like women. Actually, let’s be intellectually honest, that fear didn’t originate at the birth of America, but has been around since men and women looked at each other and saw a physical difference.
Perhaps, it is because boys must, at some point in their lives, prove themselves separate from their mothers. They begin in the womb, are born, nurse at the breast, and grow up in the presence of women. In a culture that says a “real man” provides for their families, even the most family oriented of fathers are out of the house more than they are in the house. In other words, the expectations we place on men creates the systematic abandonment of boys. Boys, then, must learn to be a man by distancing themselves from women, not by imitating men. This is why one of the biggest fears of men is to be seen as a “pansy” or “sissy.” It is why men are cajoled into “growing some balls” and “manning up.” Boys never learn how to be men in the presence of women, but only know how to be a man by proving they are not a woman. This places men and women at constant odds with one another.
Obviously, this isn’t healthy – for men or women. Intuitively, men understand how unhealthy this situation is, but this is where the problem comes in. Rather than looking holistically and humanly at the problem, we do what we already do – we seek to further separate men and women by crying that manhood is under attack and we blame those who we believe to be to blame: the more feminine – women, homosexuals, and liberals.
In other words, we as men have become so insecure in our masculinity that we recast those fears as attacks from those we believe to be a threat to our masculinity. In response to the threat men feel, they last out. Thus, the attack on manhood has become the attack of men on others.
No, manhood is not under attack. Being human is under attack.
It is time for men to stop being so insecure of the feminine. We need to start embracing the feminine qualities that are not just for women, but are for human beings. This isn’t to say that we should eliminate any distinction between men and women. Quite the contrary. I believe women need to learn from men AND men need to learn from women.
Christian discipleship is the process by which men and women become like Christ. One of the measures of growth in a the Christian is their embodiment of the fruits of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5:22. That list isn’t full of manly characteristics. Just the opposite. Gentleness and kindness, two of the fruits listed, are more likely to be identified with women than men. This is why I need women in my life. They teach me to embody these qualities thus making me more of a man by making me more human.
It is time we lay down the sword. Men, it is time to stop playing victim and crying as if there is some attack on our masculinity. It is time to stop worrying about becoming real men and start working on becoming real humans.