How Over Idolizing Masculinity is Bad for Men

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How Over Idolizing Masculinity is Bad for Men

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Sep,2017

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“Men are becoming weak and are becoming sissies. They are becoming feminized,” says a long time member of my God-fearing church. And this isn’t the first time many so-called Type-A men have tried arguing this point in front of our church congregation. It’s sad because to be perfectly honest, I don’t believe our problem today is the lack of masculinity, it is instead our over-idolizing of it. We place it at the forefront and argue that you are not a real man unless you’re a strong brute mutant of a man; And for some men, that’s fine except, we also tend to see masculinity as being without emotion and expression for things men love and care about. We hurt or cry, and we’re perceived as having lesser than macho personality. I’m sorry but how about we ask the thousands of years of human history their opinions on men who cry or hold emotion and passion for the people they love and care for. We tend to label men who don’t align with the stereotypical persona as being lesser.

So let’s start with the basics, “How do I know that we idolize masculinity?” Well, let me present this question. Do you think girls and women can be strong, breadwinners, fighters, and so forth? Is it okay for women to work 9-5 one day and a stay home with her child the next? If you said yes, then congrats, you’re a modern-day progressive type. But now let’s consider the opposite. Can a boy be gentle? Can a boy want to nurture? Do you think a man can become the homemaker, welcoming his wife home from work each day? Can he become a midwife? Or how about care for his children, nurturing them into adulthood? If you said “yes” to the previous question, then chances are you might have reluctantly also answered “yes” to one or more of these questions. But do you see the hypocrisy of those who’d answer reluctantly? There are those of us who feel we TOLERATE these types of men and that it can’t help, there are also those of us who feel it’s equality and modern to encourage them. There are also those who wish for the good old days when mom stayed home barefoot in the kitchen and dad went to work all day making the money.

But there’s an ever worst grievance to all this. Why do we think it’s okay for women to become more masculine but a man can’t become more feminine, or for the lack of a better word, soft, gentle, and caring? Many boys are raised with the idea that they are not allowed to show emotion and sometimes we encourage them to rough house and show anger because of… well. Those are acceptable for a man. As boys, we’re threatened that society will see us as sissies if we cry or do anything we’ve decided is reserved for only girls.

And to make matters worse, we’ve lost what being a man really means. The arbitrary stereotypes we’ve conceived seem to be strangely lacking the valor and courage being a good man truly once meant. Men once stood in the gap for their family, they once protected them like our heavenly father would. They were just but also caring. Think of King David’s zeal, the passion of Martin Luther King Jr., the charisma of John F. Kennedy. All amazing qualities that men have lost to time.

But I digress, the purpose of this post is to not argue that men need to become like those once great men. You could consider me a classic feminist, who believes that women can and should be included under the guise of equality and fair rights no matter the color of a person’s skin or the gender they were born with. The sad truth is many have decided that to “fix” this, women must overtake men and men need to be shown what it once was like to be subservient to the other gender. Have we not learned what true equality is?

Sadder still many, primarily those in the Christian circles have decided that a man worth anything is a man who of the manliest of men; He loves sports, he fixes cars, and depending on the group, he may even drink beer often. When men don’t hold up to these ideal types, we label them; sissy, weak, or even gay. Is it ever any wonder why LGBTQ+ has become such a hot and open subject. We like to argue that those who don’t fit this mold must “MAN UP!” and sadly most of us get away with it. Did you know that boys are 8 times more likely than girls to be referred to a gender clinic for behavior their guardians and counselors consider as being atypical? And sadly most these boys are diagnosed as being gay or transsexual because we’ve made that the norm for boys who don’t fit the mold.

Our idolizing of masculinity has lead to many problems, including:

  1. Softer traits being labeled as only effeminate.
  2. Limiting effeminate traits to girls but encouraging girls to be like boys because well masculinity is GOOD.
  3. Boys who deny the notion that boys can’t be like girls are labeled as gay or trans because boys can’t be effeminate.

And when secular culture tries to use progressivism and political correctness to prove this cycle, Christians like to use God’s word as a sword that shuts down the conversation and tries to argue that boys just need more masculinity in their lives. A few weeks ago I was reading a hot comment section on the transsexuals in the military issue and one person tried arguing that we could fix gays and trans with hormone injections. “Because they must be mentally ill and their bodies are simply making the wrong hormones,” right? They even tried arguing that the person would even THANK us once they were sane and thinking straight again.¬†sigh¬†These tactics of “fixing” men have been tried and are commonly deemed unethical. We label them as wrong and throw them in the mental institution because they threaten our envisioned perfect masculine utopia. This is why people like Alan Turner were chemically castrated. It’s another layer to the problem, we are treating the symptom, not the person.

But the problem is far worst because it exists on both the Christian and secular fronts. There are so many other stigmas that amplify to these problems. Some being the direct cause, while others are only the symptom. Did you know 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime? 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner. 1 in 7 men has been severely physical with an intimate partner. I know these numbers might not sound serious when you consider 1 in 3 women are raped in their lifetimes but is there any reason we should ignore the few men who are? And worst of all, men do not have rape clinics to visit, they are openly mocked by the law, some having gone to the police, only to be told: “MAN UP!” (1) Also, while women are openly encouraged to report such crimes to the authorities, it has been argued men have the exact opposite pressure, with those facing a stigma regarding their perceived lack of machismo, bringing into question their manliness. (2)

I don’t say all this to argue that we need to stop encouraging women to have valor and bravery, in fact, I argue women (and men) need more of that, we need to be encouraged to stand on equal ground, to fight. I say this to argue that men are facing this issue today because we have decided that there is no other type of man expect the macho brute heartless meat cake. Women have worked hard to get where they are today and it will all be for nothing if we keep trying to put the male gender down by calling them sissy for showing effeminate traits.

In conclusion, we put women on a spectrum of gender, they can be both feminine, masculine, or both depending on the day or hour. While men are marginalized to being either ultra-masculine or always a sissy. “You like pink, sissy!” “You cry, sissy!” “You have long hair, sissy!” “You like makeup or colorful clothes, sissy!” We even had to invent new words, like “metrosexual.” Stop idolizing what a man is and start treating people like people, not men or women. Try to work towards a better tomorrow and a better us. Men are people too and they have emotions and feelings that can’t go ignored. Encourage children to feel that have equal opportunity, that a girl can be a firefighter or a boy can be a midwife. Yeah, it might be progressive to believe but can you honestly say the depressed and/or sissy men we have today is any better? Women are not objects, so why should men be cloned robots?

References:

  1. http://ncadv.org/learn-more/statistics
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20090104074211/http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/familyviolence/pdfs/Intimate_Partner.pdf

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