Each generation throughout time experiences various crises and defining moments as it matures. In such times it becomes imperative to revisit certain fundamental elements of humanity to find a guiding frame of reference. The state of manhood is the imminent issue in dire need of a thorough examination and critical dissection. If one fails to brush with broad strokes, the issue at hand becomes isolated and may reach a point of irrelevance and disregard.
Traditional patriarchal hierarchies have been the norm throughout the history of humanity. The smooth passing of this patrimony from one generation to another is in severe jeopardy. Recent social trends, family dynamics and media messages in the Western world have attempted to usurp and transform the definition of masculinity. It has been blatantly mocked while attempts to secretly subvert it have gained much ground.
Masculinity in its purest form has been the rugged and dominant force governing humanity for several millennia. The classical image of the man as the iconic ruler of society and the head of his household has been severely distorted and in some cases completely lost. The male identity as protector and provider is eroding down to its fibers. Logic, reason, and calm critical thinking have been the fortes of the male gender. These traits are either weakened or entirely missing in most men today.
THE MAN OF THE HOUSE
First and foremost, a man must get his own house in order. Adult males age 40 and under, in America and the West, are becoming poor fathers with poor guidance on fulfilling that role. These men still maintain the personal tendencies of an impulsive, immature adolescent boy. In some cases, these tendencies are becoming overly emotional and effeminate and directly undermining the man’s authority. Many men raised exclusively by single mothers possess this feminine trait of being extremely sensitive, moody and impulsive. An abnormally emotional or hypersensitive man is universally perceived as a weak man.
Absentee fathers have been the plague of the Western world for decades. The cowardice and ineptitude of these men has degenerated the society at-large for centuries to come. In the impoverished neighborhoods, the promotion and glorification of incarceration over family life has deteriorated the man’s standing in his immediate household. No one is suggesting that men become cold, indifferent, chauvinist Neanderthals but serious action is needed for men to return to a position of honor.
Any argument that presents men as having intrinsically more dignity than women is a foolhardy one. The societal roles of the two genders have been lost. A man can no more act the part of a mother than a woman as a father. Therefore dubbing a single parent as “both mother and father” to his/her children is a fundamentally flawed idiom. A mother’s strength lies in her patience, nurturing, compassion and resilience. A father’s ideal strength is his stern, steady hand guiding the course of his family and ensuring their complete well-being.
In most households, capitalistic market economics forces both the man and woman to be employed just to maintain a certain standard of living. Most often this external dynamic carries the heavy costs of child neglect, family disunity and spousal discord. The power of acquiring money rules the household instead of a consistent, core family values system. The ideal of the man as protector and provider has become blurred and distorted. Without exemplary strong fathers guiding the next generation, manhood will lose its identity. The basic unit of humanity is a family. Men need to establish, understand, and affirm their role as fathers and husbands in their family.
THE HEART OF MAN
Due to the tremendous strides made by Western feminist movements in recent decades, women in Europe and America now dictate to men the terms of sexual power and prowess. More women look for men with an increased sensitivity to their emotional needs and a caring, nurturing heart. It is widely known that women are naturally gifted with these traits. Men are consciously or subconsciously driving their personalities to conform to this effeminate ideal. So in order to attract women, men are becoming more like women. Manhood in all arenas is being weakened due to the fault of men who subscribe to this paradigm.
The art of respectful, systematic courtship between men and women has degenerated into sexual frenzy and promiscuity. In this age of instant gratification, men are still chasing fleeting sexual pleasures with no intention and foresight to establish a firm line of patrimony or legacy for the future. Most men no longer project strength, character and resolve in their romantic relationships with women. They are infused with the materialistic obsession to use women as objects not as persons. They exhibit behavior that is infantile and excessively impulsive. In these cases, the men are more susceptible to manipulation by their partners since they possess no strict core discipline or morality. This deep inner confusion provides men with a false sense of sexual dominance over the women they pursue. Sexual conquests become the topic of a misguided male bravado to gain the approval of other men and to attract more women.
Men are failing to provide leadership in their romantic relationships with women which forces women to take the lead. Men are to provide the necessary over-arching calm, comfort and thematic balance to a woman’s monthly physical, hormonal, and emotional cycle. Men, especially young men, afraid of any type of long-term commitment or marriage are cowards that taint the very definition of manhood.
THE MEDIA MESSAGE
The messages conveyed to men about being a man are quite confusing and directly undermine men’s roles in society. Film and entertainment media present and promote the soft, sensitive man over the rugged swashbuckling type. From effeminate pale vampires to promiscuous reality show stars, the widespread appeal of these types of characters and individuals is damaging the fabric of masculinity.
Young impressionable men watching sitcoms and popular TV shows such as “Family Guy” or “The Simpsons”, clearly see the lead male characters as inept imbeciles who are actually a liability to their family. The primary female characters in those series demonstrate superior intellect, competency, and decision-making. Even males portrayed in dramatic roles are quirky and comical failures as men. Bustling male heroes of old western films have been relegated to the annals of Hollywood archives.
The moguls of fashion have always promoted and continue to market men who look like women. With the advent of the “metrosexual man,” men are wasting excessive time on personal appearance and selfish vanity. These heterosexual men are pursuing an affirmation of their physical beauty and attention, much like women and homosexuals. Many male musicians propped up by the media as role models for boys and young men are irresponsible sexual deviants with deep psychoses. The mainstream media is facilitating the demise of traditional manhood while promoting weakened and psychologically castrated men.
The concept of being a robust, tough and upright man has faded into sentimental folklore and anecdotes. Those who argue that men are evolving have failed to realize that they are evolving into women. The two distinct genders, male and female, possess great gifts and talents that are unique and proper to each. Men and women are infused with an equally magnificent internal dignity and honor. The role of men in society is under tumultuous fire, scrutiny and lies in ambiguity. The overall state of manhood is at a critical juncture. Manhood will either fall to the misguided egalitarian ideal that men and women are exactly the same in role and function, or it will be reclaimed by the authentic men of this time and set right for posterity.