I have now heard from several sources that there is a growing movement toward the “re-masculation” of men. It starts with the premise that in the twenty first century, men have been emasculated. Some evangelical pastors have been preaching this for decades, as well as writing about it. For the pastors, I believe it was often a code for anti-homosexuality.
But now, there is a growing political movement sharing the same goals. Senator Josh Hawley is the mastermind on the political side. This is the start of yet another cultural war sound bite. Politics and religion are a lot like arms dealers. The arms dealer makes a lot of money when there is war. Politicians and religious leaders (certainly not all of them) can corral more people into their spaces (votes, pews, followers, donors, etc.) when they set up cultural wars with emotional sound bites. Both Republicans and Democrats do it. The political catch phrases on the right have been “Pro-life” and “Pro-family” but will now add, reversing emasculation of men to that list. On the left catch phrases like racism can be used in that way. Don’t take me wrong. Racism is very real and awful and I’m not talking about abortion or marriage either, but simply the sound bites that these groups use for political purposes.
But I want to take a minute, before this new war escalates and good conservative people grab their babies and run and hide from the evil emasculators on the left, to discuss what I think is real masculinity. My expertise on the topic is, last time I looked, I am a man. Women fit most of these as well, but I’m not an expert on that because I’m not a woman.
Introduction The False Concepts of Masculinity
I will error in this by over-simplifying the topic, but I over-simplify it to keep it brief, not to misinform. From a anthropological view, most societies throughout history have been patriarchal. The real reason for this is simply, men are born with stronger muscles (speaking of averages as of course as there are plenty of women, especially now that I have cancer, who can kick my ass. Denise can kick my ass). So, through the centuries, men have risen to be the “boss” of families, tribes, and cultures. Yeah, there may be other anthropological reasons, personality types and etc., but again I’m keeping this simple.
Most, but not all, religious movements have adopted patriarchal systems, I believe due to the above, and they tend to harbor the most severe form–abuse of the woman. Now, in our human nature we love to say that “God told me to do it” whenever we do anything self-serving and shameful. The same applies here. No, I will not get into a theological argument or hermeneutics (the science of Biblical interpretation) here. But for a simple exercise, if you have a Christian background, study the patriarchal society of 30 AD Palestine from historical texts and then compare it to how Jesus treated women. You will see the difference between claiming God’s plan for a bad idea, and how God really sees the world. I believe that even Jesus limited how he related to women (while still far above the rest) due to him having to work within a patriarchal society. They would have crucified him on day one if he went around preaching that women are equal to men. So, he spent three years showing us. With all of that said, I want to move on to the point, and that’s what I consider to be the traits of a good man.
A Real Man is Strong
While strong can refer to the mechanics and power associated with muscles, in this case it refers to character. Strength is the ability for a man to admit when he is wrong, taking the blame when the blame is due him. A weak man is terrified of his own failure and will do all he can to cover it up. A strong man never uses his physical power, either defined by muscles or by political power, to hurt people for the sake of his own gratification. It is easy and cowardly to punch someone in the face or to call them names. It takes a very, very strong man to listen to someone else, reconsidering their own ideas in the face of the other person’s ideas. A strong man never needs to project a better image of himself than he really is. A strong man never lies, because all lies are designed to cover up weakness not to strengthen them.
A Real Man is Courageous
There is nothing more scary than putting the needs of others above your own. The weak and fearful fight to put their needs first. The courageous man will take great risks, such as being emotionally honest to those around him. A courageous man never lies, because all lies are designed to cover fear, fear of people knowing you you really are in your private world.
A Real Man Protects
A real man protects those around him, especially those weaker than himself. He must first protect others from himself. He would never hurt, physically or emotionally, someone else, especially someone weaker. He would never push his ideas ahead of others or his interests. He would never start conflicts, for in all fights, people are hurt.
A Real Man Has Empathy
It takes an incredible about of strength to feel what others are feeling because it is our natural instinct to only feel for ourselves. This empathy must be directed at all living things, especially towards those that we claim to love.
A Real Man Has Fidelity
A real man is trustworthy by his friends and family. He honors his commitments, never wavering from them. He never betrays relationships.