Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Death of Masculinity


Last week I was at work, doing a monthly project that requires me to work in our warehouse for the day doing an inventory of certain product and then boxing them up to have them shipped. I had to move a box full of something heavy from one table to another so all of the order was together. I grabbed one of the guys, the shipper, who is thin and kind of spindly and said “Can you do something manly for me?” He just looked at me and said “I’m not very manly, but I can try.” I thought about that all afternoon, because here I am: 5 ft tall, about 100 pounds and a guy told me he wasn’t manly. As if I was somehow more manly than he was?! 

Young men today are floundering, and I think I might know why. Women are told they can do anything and so they do everything. I believe it was Mandi (Catholic Newlywed) who had a post about letting your husband be the man, and she hit it right on the head. In the wake of the sexual revolution, women stepped out of the home and into the work world. But they didn’t relinquish control. So men and women are equals, but men no longer have a domain. Not saying I want all women back in the home taking care of the babies. Some women (me included) would likely go stark raving mad if that were to be their fate. But at least when women were in charge of the home they had a clear domain. Men went out and made the money, women had the home and everyone had a place. It might not have been as equal of a partnership as people claim to have nowadays, but at least each partner took a role and went with it. Now, women do both and men do…. What? They stay at home with mommy and daddy and expensive gaming systems till they are out of college, then marry, and go out and make half the money and on weekends play video games or watch hours of sports or hang out with the guys while mom suffers from higher rates of stress and depression than ever. Our men are stunted. And it’s our fault. We need to let our men do something for goodness sake. Even if they are the ones that stay at home with the kids all day. We need to let them be in charge of something so that they can feel like they are providing value. I really believe that many men today feel like they are replaceable. And they are, aren’t they? A woman can have a career and no children. If she decides she wants children, she can run down to her local sperm bank, pick out someone who is a doctor or has an MBA and blue eyes and brown hair and create the perfect little human for herself. She can have that baby and show it off like the newest handbag. Why would you need a man? There are women out there, single moms, who have genuine hardship and have to do it all. My mom was one of them. She had to be mom and dad, and she tells me all the time that she wished she had done a better job of it. Which is absurd because my mom was an amazing mother. She didn’t have a choice. But all us married women out there, we do. We have husbands and partners and fathers to our children. So why don’t we let them feed that need in their brain to provide?

Guys. If you're not swooning, you're paying too much attention
This is reflected in popular culture these days, too. I was thinking about this after the re-release of Titanic, and then it was compounded for me while listening to a podcast of Catholic Answers Live. Nowadays, the men in movies tend to take the “feminine” role in the relationship, whereas the women tend to take the “masculine.” The women are the pursuers, the ones who feel trapped, the ones who make all the decisions. The men are typically oafs or completely passive or both.  Everything from sitcoms to Huggies commercials show you how incompetent they are at practically everything. All they do is sit around and drink beer and make a mess of things and they can’t even change a diaper for goodness sake!  And there is something to be said about the fact that we never call men “men.” We call them “boys” and then “guys.” And it never progresses from that. Men are perpetually teenagers and this is because in a post-sexual revolution world, we don’t ask them to be any more. Gone are the days when a man who had just graduated from high school had essentially 3 options: go to college, get a job and get married or get a job and get married or join the armed services and get married. They were expected, at 18, to figure out how they were going to provide for a family and they were pretty much out on their own at that point. Girls would stay with their parents until they were married. When I was looking at the 1940 census, I found my great-great grandparents. They had one daughter, aged 28, still living with them. She was a school-teacher, and I presume, unmarried and therefore still under her parents’ jurisdiction. Nowadays, the feminists have decided that men are incompetent and treat them as such. So guess what men do? They act incompetent. They have decided that they use women for pleasure and so men do. They have told men they are replaceable, or just not that important, and so they aren’t. This attitude is prevalent in our mothers’ generation, so their sons were raised this way along with their daughters. No wonder the modern family is declining at a rapid rate and resembles something my great-great grandparents would not even recognize. This infects everything in the world today. Birth control which was hailed by the 1960's women's "liberation" movement basically gave men a free pass to use a woman and take no responsibility for what happened. Many abortions happen after a woman is pressured by her boyfriend because we've conditioned men that we can be used for pleasure with no consequences. No one asks men to step up, and so they just...don't. If women claim that chivalry is dead, it’s because the sexual revolution held a gun to it’s temple and executed it in cold blood.

So men, I, as a woman (and hopefully speaking for my sisters in Christ) am asking, nay DEMANDING that you step up. Women still want a man who is manly. This doesn’t mean that you work on cars or watch sports all day. No, we want a man who supports us as a woman, in whatever path we choose as your partner, from stay at home mom to career mother. We want you to put your family first and to provide for them, not just monetarily but by being an equal partner with your wife and providing that solid foundation on which to build the family unit. We want you to lead, because there are some times that we don’t want to have to make all the decisions around here. It has been my experience that when you hold people to a higher standard, they tend to rise to the occasion. So, I am holding men-- young men in particular-- to a higher standard. We were made for more, men and women, and now it’s time for the men to stop being guys and start being men. 

17 comments:

  1. You make a lot of good points here and I enjoyed your reading your article. I am blessed to be married to someone who was not subjected to the feminizing American education system. However, I think that when you asked for help your approach, "Can you do something manly for me?" may have intimidated this poor guy. I think he may have seen it as a challenge- can you? huh? huh? I'm not blaming you but in the present context which you elucidate very clearly men are coming from a defensive position. More than 20 years of marriage and raising 5 sons (and 3 daughters) I've learned that men are very fragile creatures. We can destroy them with a word and very unintentionally.

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    1. That's possible. I don't think my tone of voice conveyed that, though. I was kind of whiny because I was tired. Same thing I do to my husband when I can't get a jar open :)

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  2. I have had the same thoughts for a long time. My husband may not appear to be the most manly man...but he is most definitely A MAN (complete with caring for children and home, working and bringing home half the money, and ensuring his family makes it to Mass every weekend, among other things). I can't tell you how many people tell me all the time how blessed I am to have the husband I do, and they give all other men "a pass" basically and act like my husband is some sort of extraordinary overachiever. It's kind of sad. I mean, I am happy to know they appreciate my husband's goodness, but sad to know they don't expect it from the men in their lives.

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    1. I have an acquaintance who married her second husband after realizing her first never wanted to have kids. She does EVERYTHING for their baby and he gets annoyed, etc. She told our mutual friend that he's so great, and she doesn't expect him to have to do all this stuff because the baby was "her dream, not his." It's really, really sad.

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  3. You are so right! I have thought of this too. I had a friend who waas extremely insulted any time guy held the door open for her. I don't think women (or men) are gaining anything by acting this way. Good food for thought!

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    1. It just puts in to relief a quote I've always liked "we accept the love we think we deserve."

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  4. Hey love, would you help me open this peanut butter jar so I can make you a sandwich for work tomorrow? Also, would you fetch down my A-G longbox of comics at the top of the closet and pull out Animal Man #7? I'd like you to read it to me after you tuck me in and check under the bed for gorillas. Also, we're out of beer. Just happened to notice.
    Love you!
    -The Hubbs

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  5. I was raised by an Italian father with the usual machismo of the tradional. After some years of marriage, I confessed to my wife that I still felt the residue of the manly men being more a man than I. She convinced me that a real man spends time with and raises his children, respectful and loving of wife, and being able to cook is a definite plus (I do all the cooking)

    Most men will suffer the same macho types at work: sexually explicit about women, constantly talking spectator sports, swearing, etc. putting us more sensitive types (this charge has been leveled toward me at work as an insult) in an uncomfortable position. Yes the t.v. stereotypes are reprehensible, but I see them played out by men at work and my extended family who consider me "whipped."

    But us types, women tell me, are few and far between.

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    1. You're totally right. My husband works in a machine shop and his boss is from Mexico, and they definitely mess with him a lot. He's also the cook in the house, which is really nice for me. It's definitely a real man who supports his wife and kids, and has nothing to do with being able to change the oil or drinking beers.

      Thanks for reading and weighing in!!

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  6. As an eighteen year old guy just starting out my life and vowing these same thoughts for over eight months now, all I can say is, wow. What a fantastic post, and I hope more men hear the message, and put it into practice through the use of their God-given Will. God bless!

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    1. Whoops, man* ;) wrote that in a hurry.

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    2. Thanks for reading and commenting Jonathan! Hopefully you will be a good example!

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  7. Love it! You articulated this beautifully. I do agree with the first guy who commented. You may have intimidated the young guy at work a bit, but a "man" would certainly have responded with some humor and helped you. This topic makes me think of my sons a lot. How do I help them become men? Real men who are not total macho pigs, you know? How do we help our men, our boys, work hard, make a good living, treat a woman like a queen (but want whatever successes she wants), figure out what roles they will play in the home, be a good father? Really! It's just not as complicated as it seems. Let them be men!!!

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    1. I think that raising our sons to respect everyone as someone who has inherent dignity is a good step. Also, teaching them that women and men are different and we have authentic masculine and feminine roles in this life and that does not diminish either sex. I'm sure your sons will do just fine!

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Go ahead and weigh in. As Chesterton once said "Thinking in isolation and with pride ends in being an idiot."