Where have all the real men gone?
For the past 50 years or so, real manhood has been disappearing, and the effects couldn’t be more clear: men are dropping out of school, leaving their families behind, and generally turning into the abominable video-game playing man-child. The last twenty years have seen the metrosexual community gain a foothold in American society, the overtly-feminine readers of Men’s Health magazine focusing their lives not on inner strength, but on gaining abs or worse–shaving their chests more neatly. And as the homosexual advocacy movement seeks to erase any and all boundaries for proper gender norms, turning what could have been Joe Dimaggios and John Waynes into Regis Philbins and Perez Hiltons, we have to wonder: can we please go back to having real men again?
It’s interesting to note that these radical changes can be traced to one foundational revolution, and that it’s not the sexual revolution. While the 1960′s catapulted Americans into general confusion about gender roles, manhood’s real implosion began when evolutionary atheism took hold of the American mind. After all, with evolutionary theory, all human culture is a construct, which means that ideas of manhood are flexible. If we started as goo, progressing up to more complex instincts, and then having those instincts lead us into the engineering of social constructs, then our ideas about how men and women should behave must be imaginary and we shouldn’t discriminate, right?
To the evolutionist, the only thing which makes men different from women is anatomy and biological drive, in short subconsciously or consciously declaring that a man is the sum of all his urges. Since there cannot in any way be a difference between men and women other than their particular biological drives (if they will even admit that), a man is a man because he feels a certain way. Since there can be no real guideline to manhood other than the instinct, but men feel the need to bond with other men by appealing to standards of manhood, “modern” men will act upon their drives more to make themselves fit in with society. And this typically ends with one of two ever-present and incredibly useless characters: what Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in his landmark sermon on manhood described as either cowards or chauvinists.
As one might guess, men have certain instinctual drives which aren’t necessarily helpful at every given moment. Like C.S. Lewis noted in his moral treatise “Mere Christianity,” since the whole concept of morality is predicated upon the proper application of urges, the glorification of certain urges can’t help but lead the pursuer of manliness into excessive misapplication of their particular instincts. When we combine a libertarian social law system with a concept of urge-based manhood, what we find is that men are more likely to compare themselves with one another based upon sexual conquest, radical disdain for the feelings of others (which denotes some form of independence), appreciation of violence, and prideful domineering, forms of “ideals” which have no positive social qualities whatsoever, but predominantly find their root in the human male.
But the saddest aspect about the abolition of manhood is that a man who cannot distinguish the difference between men and boys by anything other than size is increasingly likely to act like a man-child (think, Doug Heffernan or Ray Romano). We see these trends developing in an increasingly larger population of grown men who know more about sports than politics, who are more interested in video games than their children, and who would rather drink beer with their buddies than ensure the happiness of their wives. American men are getting fatter, dumber, and more inclined to self-interest than they were a few generations ago, and the effects are clear: women have lost their respect for men, leaving trails of broken families from the Atlantic to the Pacific (this isn’t to say that men are entirely to blame for divorce, but rather that they contribute to instability).
Benjamin Barber, a communist, but still well-aware of the Western world’s disappearing adult male, feels that the loss of manhood has more to do with capitalism than anything else. In his well-written but pompously-worded book “Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole,” he states that “Beyond pop culture, the infantilist ethos also dominates as the marks of perpetual childishness are grafted onto adults who indulge in puerility without pleasure and indolence without innocence. Hence, the new consumer penchant for age without dignity, dress without formality, sex without reproduction, work without discipline, play without spontaneity, acquisition without purpose, certainty without doubt, life without responsibility, and narcissism into old age and unto death without a hint of wisdom or humility. Civilization is not an ideal or an aspiration, it is a video game.
“These anecdotes tell a story, but infantilization—not second childhood but enduring childishness—is more than a mesmeric metaphor. A new cultural ethos is being forged. Marketers and merchandisers are self-consciously chasing a youthful commercial constituency sufficiently padded in its pocketbook to be an attractive market yet sufficiently unformed in its tastes as to be vulnerable to corporate manipulation. At the same time, these avatars of consumer capitalism are seeking to encourage adult regression, hoping to rekindle in grown-ups the tastes and habits of children so that they can sell the useless cornucopia of games and gadgets for which there is no discernible ‘need market’ other than the one created by capitalism’s frantic imperative to sell.”
In some aspects, he is correct. But while this argument certainly labels the marketing industry as a contributor, Benji forgets that in order to chase “a youthful commercial constituency…sufficiently unformed in its tastes,” you must first have a market of men unformed in their tastes. He forgets that in order to encourage adult regression, you must first have adults on the verge of regression. Without a man first being stripped of his purpose of manhood and being issued his behavioral standards via instinctual identity, it would be difficult to exploit him. So while markets absolutely exacerbate the problem of male infantilism, they cannot be the source of it. The man-child must never have had a reason to grow up, nor the ability to distinguish between what he feels like doing and what a man does with those feelings. He must have had the “social-construct” of manhood dismantled for him.
Now this modern brand of non-manhood is a construction based upon evolutionary indoctrination, but we should note that it is an incredibly recent invention, and that older generations do not behave this way because they had a far different understanding of what manhood is. And since the majority of older Americans (think, 1940′s era) were indoctrinated under a system of heavily Judeo-Christian values, it would only make sense to compare the philosophies of both systems and their effects. So let us now examine the Christian view of manhood.
As you may have already guessed, manhood to the Christian is something much different, with the Christian recognizing biological and social difference between the sexes, but bestowing manhood upon the male depending on how he reacts to his drives, not simply upon those bearing particular instincts. Since boys and men can have the same drives, what separates the boys from the men cannot necessarily be size of genitalia or the fulfillment of biological desire, but rather a matter of appropriate self-control. Manhood to the Christian is not dependent on indulgence of instincts, but rather in distinguishing when and how to engage them, and using them in establishment and protection of society.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” -1 Corinthians 13:11
And therein lies the largest difference between the Christian and post-modern male: duty. Manhood to the conservative Christian is not an urge, but rather a destination: it shields the man and those in his care in their march toward an uncertain future, confident that whatever they may find, he will bravely and honorably act for the benefit of those entrusted to his care, be they the family, the church, the state. Man is not what he is, but what he should be. And this kind of man is desperately needed, regardless of where or when you live.
The Bible declares that the Christian man is to lead and make decisions for his family, not out of domineering might, but out of humble and respectable servitude–even in the presence of pain and suffering. To do this, he must command his partner’s respect: if he would rather play video games, he spends time with his children and wife anyway. A man must contribute his work to blessing others, and never be a mooch when he is capable of work. God has blessed him with a stronger body, so he must protect and take care of women–particularly his wife–with his strength (chivalry). Men must be the spiritual leaders in both the church and the home, ensuring adherence to God’s law and the focus of the family upon Him.
To make things more difficult, God requires balance: the Christian man must not use this position of authority to assert his superiority over his wife or demean her (or other women), for they are both children of the Living God, equal in His eyes. A man must control himself and reject pornography and all other forms of infidelity, especially when married: he is to keep his promises and be in control of his libido for proper use (meaning: only in marriage). A man without control of his genitalia is weak, and should be labeled as such: the true man must never be mastered by his bodily functions, and able to resist sexual attraction with the raw power of his will. Men are to keep their mouths clean, by rejecting coarse talk and crude jokes; and they are also allowed to drink, but they cannot allow themselves to become drunk. A man must know his limits, and be ready to act with dignity and self-control at every moment.
And finally (which the Left will hate), a real man will never dress like a woman and never have sex with another man. And if Christian women are ordered to spend less time focusing on their physical appearance, instead opting to focus on character-building and kindness, metrosexuality absolutely must go as well: a man’s strength should be his character, not the fact that he dresses fancily and concerns himself with more feminine pursuits. Violating any of these above principles is to strip yourself of your very manhood.
Very interestingly, the Bible never mentions that being a man means being good at sports, or telling dirty jokes, or pushing your wife around, or drinking more beer than someone, or making more money than someone, or having bigger muscles than someone, or having a great education, or getting a lot of women to drop their pants, or wearing clothes that make you look like a sloppy boob. Manhood, on the other hand, is duty. Manhood is sacrifice. Manhood is doing what you’re supposed to do, even when it isn’t fun, and even when it hurts. Manhood is taking the raw physical brutality of the male instinct and forming it into what man was intended to become: the warrior, the defender of public morality, the judicious discerner, the father, the honest laborer, the priest, the king, and most highly, the disciple of Christ.
This very noble destination leads Christians to what the secular left defines as discrimination. When the Christian engages in the war against gender neutrality and homosexual advocacy, they are fighting for this very destination, the expectation of character in times of both security and distress. Conversely, because the homosexual movement first and foremost advances the idea that the gender role must be eliminated, the very idea of enforcing a character-based manhood is considered abominable, and they seek to eliminate expectations in any ways possible. As one can see, this will only further emasculate and infantilize men past the embarrassing point we have already slid. And is it wrong to expect that a man behave with self-control, or with self-sacrifice, or concern themselves with truly manly pursuits instead of home-decoration and vanity?
To any women reading this, I have to make one thing clear. No matter what your upbringing has taught you about men, no matter what you think you expect, deep down inside you desperately want to be with a real man. The man who is a servant until death, who refuses to even look lustfully at another woman than you, whom you can trust to take care of your needs until the day you die. You want a rugged man who provides for you, who cares for you, who bases his manhood on nothing other than rock-solid character and self-control. You want a man who speaks with kindness when his instincts tell him otherwise, in whose capable arms you can feel secure. This is the man you were born to want, and if you are blessed by God, the man you will have.
And I ask the men: are you jealous of the Christian man? Do you want to be the man who commands respect, who is in control of himself, no matter what he feels like doing? Do you want your wife or girlfriend to look at you with admiration and respect? To lead other men into a more glorious future? If you’re not particularly interested in any of these qualities, and would prefer to base your manhood on something else, please post your angry sissy response with your full name, so that women can know you’re not worth dating.
I was fortunate enough to have my ideas of manhood become concise right before my little brother’s bachelor party. I can’t imagine what I would have toasted to other than what I did, but it would have been a waste of a moment that I’ll never see again. I can still see them all, my brother and his college friends, all gathered around a table in a Ballard pub, becoming quiet as I stood to give a toast. To be honest, I’ve never been a good public speaker, so I awkwardly stood up and prepared myself for what could have been a disaster. After all, the best man can’t really get away without giving a toast, poor or otherwise.
As I prepared to address the gathering, I grabbed my glass and looked down to my little brother, who was sitting next to me. I bumbled something along the lines of “A lot of people will tell you that manhood is over when you get married.” I saw my little brother give an awkward glance, and then look down toward his drink in disappointment. So I started again: “You’re not going to really be able to do what you want all the time, and a lot of things are going to change.” I looked up at the group. “But as Christians, we see marriage much differently. This is actually the beginning of manhood… the time when you become responsible not just for yourself, but for a woman, and hopefully kids. This is the time when you get to learn how to earn a woman’s respect, to learn to be strong and dependable, and to learn to serve. This is what a man does, and so I’m going to ask you all to toast to Evan’s entrance into manhood. Today, it begins.”
My little brother raised his head back up, raised his glass quickly, and shot back a quiet “Yeah!” And as we raised our glasses in salute, looking at the faces around me, it became clear that I was in the presence of Christians, and that many of us would go on to be something greater than just the sum of our urges. Yes, many would live on to fulfill a destiny given to us by the Creator of the universe Himself: we would go on to be men. And thank God for that.
THE SOLUTION: Unfortunately, recovering true manhood will be difficult. With most educational facilities taking an atheistic, postmodern stance on gender identity, and our current laws against discrimination, encouraging men to be manly is an uphill battle. But we have four solutions.
-First, introduce men to Jesus Christ and His word.
-Second, ensure that–if we can–we repeal Kitzmiller vs Dover, allowing schools to teach about intelligent design alongside evolution, which will restore the purpose of manhood.
-Third, vote against and repeal any anti-discriminatory legislation which seeks to enforce gender neutrality.
Fourth, we must seek ritualistic and public ways to initiate boys into manhood (think: Bar Mitzvah). Without all four of these, you can count on more Doug Heffernans instead of Jimmy Stewarts.
Further profound readings and videos:
Mark Driscoll’s standard-raising sermon on manhood, and misconceptions about manhood
Any chapter in the book of Proverbs
C.S. Lewis speaks on moral values and instincts