Welcome to the second blog post! Last weeks post was the initial introductory post, really to introduce myself and start to frame out how I see things. This week’s post will start the process of accomplishing two major goals. Firstly, to convince you that real manhood is eroding and that that erosion is negatively impacting the world around us. Secondly, to begin the process of painting a picture of what real manhood might look like. I’m purposefully using some loose language here because there is no way I can paint a picture of manhood in one setting, and have no idea how long it will actually take. It is more likely that today’s post will be a general overview … a single stroke of the brush, a swatch of color, on the canvas of that picture.
For some time now, I have been exploring ideas about what it means to be a real man and how different that is from the examples and pictures of men I see in the world around us. And it’s not just me, there is something terribly wrong in the world today and it could very well be the undoing of our society, as we know it. For over two years now, I have been reading, researching, and writing, but keeping it to myself really, for the most part, except my poor wife … she’s had to hear it all. Several weeks ago, I saw an article that stated, “the internet has a new kind of hero, a pony-loving kind” which went on to exclaim, “bronies are redefining fandom and American Manhood”. In case you don’t know, bronies are grown males who like to get together and play with little plastic toy ponies. They brush their hair, dress them, and have devised a whole little board game around it. Having been pushed over the edge when the article identified them as heroes, I launched this blog and began to organize all of my work over the past few years into a form that it can be shared over time.
Bronies are simply a symptom of a greater illness, and that illness is killing manhood. Dr. Zimbardo is a psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University, part of the secular academy, and while I don’t agree with much of his worldview, we see eye to eye on this issue. In his TED talk, The Demise of Guys, he quickly paints a scary picture of the state of things and ends by saying:
But who should care? The only people who should care about this is parents of boys and girls, educators, gamers, filmmakers and women who would like a real man who they can talk to, who can dance, who can make love slowly and contribute to the evolutionary pressures to keep our species above banana slugs.
Ouch! So how bad is it really? Before digging in to some alarming statistics, think about your own experiences. Simply look at the world around you, the men you interact with, and the ones you see portrayed in the movies and television. My gut tells me that your own experience will bear out the current state of manhood in the west without me ever quoting a single statistic. But the statistics are alarming indeed. Males are now thirty percent more likely to drop out of school and thirty-five percent more likely to commit suicide. Two-thirds of all special education students are male and men are diagnosed, and treaded with powerful mind-altering drugs, for ADHD five-to-one. As I make this case, I will continue to quote secular academic sources, lest anyone think this is a religious or ideological stance. A recent Psychology Today article, sums things up surprisingly well:
Overwhelmingly, the portrayal of men and male identity in contemporary western societies is mostly negative. Men today are extensively demonized, marginalized and objectified, in a way reminiscent of what happened to women. The issue of the male identity is of crucial importance because males are falling behind in school, committing more suicides and crimes, dying younger and being treated for conditions such as ADHD more than females. There has also been a loss of fatherhood in society as artificial insemination by anonymous donors is on the rise. Further, medical experiments have shown that male sperm can now be grown artificially in a laboratory. There has been a rise in divorce rates where in most cases, child custody is granted to mothers. Continuous negative portrayal of men in the media, along with the feminization of men and loss of fatherhood in society, has caused confusion and frustration in younger generation males, as they do not have a specific role model and are less able to define their role in society. From once being seen as successful breadwinners, heads of families and being respected leaders, men today are the butt of jokes in the popular media.
And now, as the pièce de résistance, pardon my French; we can simply look at a startling difference in the very definition of the word. I had to go pretty far back into the Webster’s archives to find a definition of man that even closely resembled my understanding. The 1828 Webster’s dictionary, definition number two, to be precise, which states:
(2) Bearing the sense of a male adult of some uncommon qualifications; particularly, the sense of strength, vigor, bravery, virile powers, or magnanimity, as distinguished from the weakness, timidity or impotence of a boy, or from the narrow mindedness of low bred men.
Now fast forward and see how the dictionary defines the word man today:
(c) A bipedal primate mammal (Homo sapiens) that is anatomically related to the great apes but distinguished especially by notable development of the brain with a resultant capacity for articulate speech and abstract reasoning, is usually considered to form a variable number of freely interbreeding races, and is the sole living representative of the hominid family; broadly: any living or extinct hominid
(d)(1) One possessing in high degree the qualities considered distinctive of manhood
(d)(2) [Obsolete] The quality or state of being manly
So we have gone from strength, vigor, bravery, and virility to a “bipedal primate mammal”. But here is the best part, look at definition D, sub-definition 2; “The quality or state of being manly”, and what is that [Obsolete] in brackets? Decidedly that definition, according to Webster, is obsolete, men still have a ways to go but we are rapidly heading that direction. You may want reject the notion that manhood is approaching the end of the downward slope, I know I did; however, the reality is everywhere around us. The average young male has played 10,000 hours of video games by the age of twenty, two-thirds of that in isolation, the average man views fifty pornographic clips per week and reads an average of 1.5 books per year, women outnumber men in the workforce, testosterone levels and sperm counts are at historic lows … can I stop now? We’ve fallen asleep in the sirens lap of some tropical dream and time is marching forward without us. WAKE UP … WAKE UP … WAKE UP!
I’ll stop here, for a moment of clarification, lest any of you jump on this bandwagon without first having a sense of where this thing is going. In future articles, I will cover the topics of feminism, male and female differences, roles, and so in, in detail, but for now let me clearly state a few things. I affirm much of what has gone on in the realm of women’s liberation and feminism and think that much of what Judaism, Christianity, and Islam call “complementarianism” is just misogyny in a prettier package. I absolutely and whole heartily support the rights of women and the beautiful ways in which they are so different from us, but it stops when feminism becomes anti-masculinity, and sadly that is where we are today, and we have no one but ourselves to blame. Unlike the women’s lib movement, we can’t look to the opposite sex and blame them for oppressing us … no friends, the problem and the solution both lie with us.
Up to now, the point has been to raise the issue, and I’m not done yet. Over the next few posts, I will continue to raise issue after issue that I believe are fundamentally destroying our kind. The mind numbing effects of gaming. The links between alcohol and male estrogen increases. Weight gain and decreased cerebral blood flow. Porn and the rewiring of the brain. These are issues that we need to carefully understand and make some decisions to do something about. It’s that that will separate the males from the men.
When you are born, you are born either male or female. There is no middle ground here. If the sperm carrying an X chromosome fertilizes the egg, a female will be born. If the sperm carrying a Y chromosome fertilizes the egg, a male will be born. Gender is either male or female, even in the rare hermaphrodite, the genetic composition is either XX or XY … female or male. “Gender issues” simply don’t exist; this is one of the few areas of life that really is very simple. I’m not talking about sexual orientation, there’s plenty of blogs you can go read on that … I’m talking about basic gender. But, to be male and to be a man, are two different things. It is that distinction that will be the focus of our discussion here. It is a journey that I am still on myself, it has been the hardest most wonderful thing I have ever done, and I hope you will join me in a journey that is all your own.
Next week, I have two different posts in the works. One is short and practical, the other a bit more in depth. The Friday post will be called, “Believe Something” and will address, what I believe, are foundational issues in what we have been programed to believe. I will address specifically how relativistic and naturalistic world views are systematically attacking manhood and how dissonance of belief is eating away at us from the inside out. I can’t think of a better, or more important, place to start.
Don’t forget to follow the blog, invite your friends, and find some way to man up this week.