Why Aren’t Men More Outraged?

Over the past 30 years, the grip strength of men, aged 20-34, has decreased – down from an average of 117 pounds of force in 1985 to 98 pounds of force among today’s young men. For those inclined to valorize traditional definitions of masculinity, this could be seen as another sign pointing to the death of men. In fact, David French, writing at the National Review, bemoans just this point. French argues that the decline in grip strength signifies the continued distancing between men and their masculinity.

To quote French: “Our culture strips its young men of their created purpose and then wonders why they struggle. …Men were meant to be strong. Yet we excuse and enable their weakness. It’s but one marker of cultural decay, to be sure, but it’s a telling marker indeed. There is no virtue in physical decline.” [emphasis in original]

To get a sense of how our decaying culture looks, French provides this summary: “If you’re the average Millennial male, your dad is stronger than you are. In fact, you may not be stronger than the average Millennial female. You’re exactly the kind of person who in generations past had your milk money confiscated every day — who got swirlied in the middle-school bathroom. The very idea of manual labor is alien to you, and even if you were asked to help, say, build a back porch, the task would exhaust you to the point of uselessness. Welcome to the new, post-masculine reality.”

An unstated implication of this seems to be that kids no longer steal each other’s milk money nor give the wimpy kids swirlies. Perhaps this is a sign of the decay of our culture, but I’d call that progress. In fairness, I doubt French would consider a decrease in physical bullying to be a bad thing, either. His point is simply that, because men are physically weaker then previous generations, this is robbing young men of a piece of their manhood that inhibits their well-being.

Martin Kich, writing at Academeblog, gives a brief but comprehensive response to French’s piece. I direct your attention there as Kich notes a number of issues that arise, straightforwardly, from what French discusses.

I am drawing attention to French’s piece for a different reason. As with generations before them, Millennials are at that age where they stop being the kids that need protection and start being the source of all that is wrong with society. The biggest Millennial sin is a lack of toughness due to being over-coddled, and Millennial men, French’s piece as an example, are often criticized for their perceived lack of manliness.

Yet, among all the cries to cease emasculating men, you never hear worry that we’ve given up punishing Millennial men for raping women. Why is that? Are men so wimpy that they can no longer face punishment for their crimes? Have we so emasculated older generations of men that they now lack the courage, strength, and conviction to punish younger men who rape, assault, and abuse women? The answer, it seems, is a resounding ‘yes’.

What am I talking about? An 18 year-old high school student raped two peers while they were unconscious. His punishment? 2 years of probation. Citing the linked article, David Becker, the Massachusetts teen “…must remain drug and alcohol-free, submit to an evaluation for sex offender treatment and stay away from the two 18-year old victims.” That’s it. This ruling comes after the recent 6-month jail sentence for Brock Turner, the 20 year-old Stanford student who also sexually assaulted an unconscious woman. Sure, the Brock Turner case got a lot of attention, but was their outrage from those who valorize traditional forms of masculinity? I didn’t see it.

Why is that? I genuinely don’t get it. Look, I know there is resistance to concepts like ‘rape culture’. Some view the raising of alarm bells about rape and sexual assault on college campuses to be overblown. But so what? Even if you hold those views, you should still be able to see something horribly wrong in letting these men off with minor punishments for their violent crimes.

Consider the words of Thomas Rooke, the attorney for Becker, the 18 year-old high school student. Quoting Rooke: “He can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender. …The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience.”

Let’s state this again. David Becker raped two women while they were unconscious. Instead of holding him accountable, we’re bending over backwards to not burden him with facing the consequences of his actions. Talk about coddling.

In a follow up piece to his initial article about the decreased physical strength of Millennial men, David French provides a rationale for his concern. Namely, he gives examples where physical strength is a key element of performing charity and civil service. French’s defense relies on young men having more than just physical strength. It requires that they also develop character strength, and a part developing character strength requires accepting responsibility for one’s actions. The cases of Becker and Turner fall woefully short in developing these men’s character. Quite the opposite, they are efforts to free these men from their responsibilities. If you think our society is raising weak men, this should get you outraged.

Look, I understand that grip strength is a serious issue, but when it is put beside holding rapists accountable for their crimes, it begins to feel irrelevant. If your blood boils learning that the average grip strength of men has decreased over the past 30 years, please allow your blood to boil when you hear that we’re coddling convicted rapists. And please, if you are going to express your outrage about one of these, may it be toward the coddling of convicted rapists.

Thank you,
Jeff Peden, fellow man

 

The Vacuousness of Hypergamy as Geist

[Author’s note: The website and post I discuss have since been taken down, which is a bit unfortunate. I peruse the ‘Masculinity’ tag every once in a while, and that’s where I came across this blog. I am fairly certain the author of the now defunct blog is the same one who wrote this post at A Voice for Men. You’ll note in the ‘About the Author’ section that it suggests you visit the blog I discuss here. The AVfM article was posted on Dec. 28, 2015, so the blog was still in existence then. I bring this all up to try and establish that I’m not quoting from some made up blog. I literally cut and pasted the quotes I use below, including retaining the author’s original hyperlinks. I honestly did not intend to post this after the quoted blog/post have been taken down. I started this a couple months ago and have been making little edits here and there. It’s just so happened that I took too long, and the blog and post are no longer there. Anyway, onwards and upwards.]

Let me tell you a story about three people. Scott is the quarterback of the high school football team. Robbie is a kind, quiet guy that gets good grades. Jessica is the super-hot captain of the cheer squad. Both Scott and Robbie want to date Jessica. Being maturing young men, they are both feeling the hormonal pull to hook up with a girl, and they both want Jessica to be that girl. The two boys let their interests be known, and Jessica is faced with a decision- “Do I hook up with Scott, the cute, athletic, and popular quarterback? Or do I hook up with, umm, what was his name? Bobby? I think he’s in my chemistry class. Anyway, I’m gonna make all the girls on the cheer team jealous when they find out I’m dating Scott.” And so, as Scott and Jessica go on to undoubtedly have copious amounts of sex, Robbie is left to either become the star running back on the football team, become mega-rich, or live a life of womanly-imposed celibacy due to his not being fuckable.

Apparently, this story is a functional metaphor for one of the major influences on human society, and feminists have casually gone about masking it via their gynocentric theorizing. Yes, you can laugh. A lot.

I find the concept of Hypergamy an interesting one, particularly in the way it is discussed within the Men’s Rights Movement and among anti-Feminists. Hypergamy is the ability to marry above one’s caste or socioeconomic status. In MRM commentary, hypergamy is often discussed as a privilege for women because it is something to which they have access to raise their social and economic well-being. Men, because they are expected to be the breadwinners and providers, do not have a similar course toward securing such a status. The thing is, to suggest this is a ‘privilege’ for women seriously strains the definition of privilege. If, as a society, we enforce men as the holders of status and economic power, then we disempower women from achieving it on their own. We deny women the ability to achieve such status and power by their own merit. Women are left to gain status and safety via marriage. Calling this situation a privilege is like calling slavery a privilege for the enslaved because it frees them from the burden of negotiating salaries and paying property taxes.

KKamina, writing at the blog Saint Kamina, has taken this concept of hypergamy and made an argument that it is an unacknowledged driving force behind human society and civilization.  KKamina suggests that the world has issues, and “I’m beginning to seriously contemplate to what degree this is attributable to feminism and innate/subconscious female reproductive choices historically imposed on men.” The author says of his post, “…it’s didactic, but if it fosters self-awareness and moral agency all the better.” Personally, I’d say that’s a stretch. I’d call it mental-masturbation aroused by aggrandizing one’s own what-if theorizing. Put another way, I’d call it self-indulgent bullshit.

Hypergamy as Geist

The argument, using the author’s words, goes like this:

[tl;dr: Due to biological circumstances, there is evolutionary pressure on women to be selective with whom they mate, but there is not pressure on men to be similarly selective. Because of this one-direction selectivity, men must meet the standards of women to be selected as mates. Women select men who display high social status (i.e., those capable of raising a woman’s status due to hypergamy). Men toil and fight and struggle to establish their high social status and become chosen by women. As a result, women should shoulder some blame for any ill that has resulted from men toiling and struggling throughout history to meet the female demands brought about by hypergamy.]

(1) We start here: “…men may rule the world, but women rule the men who rule the world.”

(2) How? “The political may be a male dominion, but the power of the womb is hers. The mightiest of men are held in thrall for access to it. To secure any progeny, legacy, family of his own, and therefore meaningful social fulfillment, he is left little recourse than to be the supplicant.”

(3a) Why must he be a supplicant? “The evolutionary theory of parental investment, as it relates to sexual selection, predicts that the sex investing the most and having the most to lose (female) will be more selective resulting in the opposite sex (male) being more competitive and aggressive pursuing it.”

(3b) I still don’t get why men must be a supplicant: “For women to have sexual partners, they must simply exist while the male must prove himself against an ever-changing arbitrary mélange of archaic to modern chivalry tempered through female visceral urges. In modern times, a woman need only sit at a bar, smile, be attentive, sweet, and await applicants to attempt to qualify for her intimacy while she screens; she need only create a perfunctory PlentyofFish profile and be guaranteed dozens of requests for relationships and sex. In contrast, men either initiate relationships or by default stand a high probability of absolute sexual invisibility and involuntary celibacy.”

(4) But why does this cause the ills in society? “Female selectivity manifests in the visceral imperative of “hypergamy.” This refers to the tendency to seek mates of higher social status, attendant resources, and all of its trappings. In a tribal configuration, this is exhibited by the “alpha male.” Today’s society is different. Obviously, for humans interacting in complex societies, the selection process is more complex than exhibiting the confidence, courage, physical strength, and the social prowess of primacy in a hierarchy of competitive males.”

(5) Does this “visceral imperative of hypergamy” have a tangibly negative effect on men? “It has been argued that ‘the single most under-appreciated fact about gender’ is our ratio of female to male ancestors. “The typical male was much more likely than the typical woman to die without reproducing. Recent DNA research show’s today’s human population is descended from twice as many women as men. Maybe 80% reproduced, whereas only 40% of men did,” New York Times blogger Tierny explains.

(6) Okay, but we don’t live in Viking societies anymore where men have to get on boats and row them across large bodies of water to conquer foreign civilizations. “Indeed, in the familiar ubiquitous archetype, the male goes through some ordeal. He slays the dragon or villain to rescue and get the damsel, thereby proving his worth. Nothing has changed. The onus is always on the male. Men built civilization, but they did it to impress women. Feminist egalitarian platitudes speak of equality, but the fact that married men out earn both women and unmarried men illustrates women — the “strong independent” type being no exception— remain hypergamous in their sexual selection. As a male’s income rises so too does his likelihood of marriage. After $25,000, it doubles. Women are perennially out for breadwinners. Indeed, as wages stagnate and the middle class continues to attenuate, marriage continues to decline on the bottom of the economic ladder and not the top. And to suffer the ignominy being a male homemaker is to be contemptuously conferred the status of “house bitch,” in the parlance of one feminist writer[.]” [Quick note: the “one feminist writer” was not identified. Maybe I’m just out of the loop, but I don’t know who it is.]

(7a) I’m still not certain what the implications are for modern men. “This means men are relegated to fulfilling one of two roles in modern society for sexual access (with only the latter leading to long-term meaningful social fulfillment): that of an “alpha” bad boy asshole or beta high-earning provider.”

(7b) Put another way: “[Male] striving is merely a reflection of innate female mating preferences. [Men are] modeling their lives in anticipation of female demands. From this lens, it becomes apparent that it is a male obligation, and on the other end of the spectrum, a female privilege.”

(7c) One more way: “It does not follow that there are many consequences to male sexual preferences, but female’s have immense political and economic ramifications. At the most basic level, males’ avaricious appetite for wealth and competition is rooted in male anxieties about sexual and social failure or success.”

(8a) What should be the take away from all of this: “With this understanding, it’s apparent that the mainstream (and therefore feminist) sociological lens denies female historical agency. Women are and have always constituted one half of society and therefore one half its ruling class. Thus, to what extent can we have an honest discourse on society, socio-economic forces, and indeed foreign policy without candid dialogue on gender?”

(8b) Continuing: “We cannot blame women for being hypergamous any more than we can blame men for liking the kinds of physical features they do. It’s all subconscious motivation after all. But to censure men for the crime of a knee-jerk subconsciously impelled glance in public — perpetually demonizing male libido — while not even contemplating the consequences of female hard-wiring is immoral. Don’t ya think?”

(9) The key take away: “Women are the unstated guardians of the human race. They filter out, who reproduces and who does not. If men are expected to perennially face the most hazardous work conditions with 90% of workplace deaths, compulsorily die in pointless imperialist wars, then women should at least be expected to reasonably examine their archaic 20th century male expectations.”

Phew. That was a lot of cutting and pasting. The author is less than hopeful that women will give up their “archaic 20th century male expectations,” but at least he braved the internet to try and draw attention to the destruction female sexual selectivity has wrought on us poor men.

Assessing the Argument

In the end, this sweeping assessment of history and civilization is nothing more than childish fantasy. It is reductive, ahistorical, and facile. At bottom, it is stupid.

First, this argument is so reductive it virtually erases a number of our most central fields of study. Political Science, Economics, and Sociology all reduce down to ‘dudes wanna fuck chicks but they do crazy shit because the chicks are too stuck-up and choosy.’ In being so reductive, KKamina demeans both men and women. Regarding men, the entire argument rests on the idea that the sole or, at least, overriding motivation of men’s actions is to get laid. Men don’t attain wealth, acquire leadership, or help the less-fortunate because of their personal values and ambitions. They do it because they think it will get them sex. If true, men are really fucking pathetic.

As for women, well, they aren’t much at all. In fact, they are literally just objects to be fucked. That is the only role women play in this entire assessment of a key driver of history. The only relevant factor women have is that they get to choose who they fuck. This is why women are supposed to shoulder some of the responsibility of what men have done throughout history. All of the humanness that resides in a woman — her dreams, goals, values, interests, fears, ambitions, vices– has been stripped away, and she has been reduced to an object of heterosexual male desire with a preference in sexual selectivity. It’s as if the author thinks the only thing women want is to be fucked by a man – well, fucked by a high status man. If that’s not misogynistic, I don’t know what is.

This goes further. In an early paragraph, KKamina writes, “The dominant feminist narrative of a male power structure relies on the disingenuous assumption that political power is the only form of social influence — not to speak of a non-existent cohesive male identity group consciously acting out its interests.” However, the author’s entire argument rests on the existence of a cohesive female identity group consciously acting out the exact same sexual selectivity preference. We have to accept the idea that all women want to mate, want the attention of men as mates, want the same qualities in their male mates, and would demand those qualities regardless of the consequences. This is ludicrous, not to mention hypocritical. Oh, let’s not forget that the author also insists all men are heterosexual and desire sex with women as an overriding motivation. Sorry, I just think it’s important to note that the author does the exact same thing he accuses feminists of doing. … Yup.

Second, the argument is completely ahistorical. It rests on the idea that women have had full and complete power of choice with whom they mate. This just isn’t the case. Throughout the world, historically and continued today, daughters have been a resource to families to be exchanged for dowries and other economic or political gains. Similarly, women have been spoils of war. This has happened in all regions of the world and has been a practice among the poor and the ruling classes. Far from being the selectors, women have often had their mates chosen for them, and it has primarily been men doing the choosing. The argument requires us to believe that male/female relations throughout history have basically been like the Dating Game. This is equal parts false and silly.

Throughout history, women have been subject to extreme violence over regulation of their bodies. If women just sit on pedal stools, watching men struggle to earn access to their wombs, why have they allowed themselves to be subjected to arranged marriages, foot binding, and genital mutilation? Why have women allowed themselves to be denied access to education, political enfranchisement, ownership of property, and positions of leadership? If women are going to have no property nor power, break their feet, and have their clitorises hacked off, the least they can get in return are roofs over their heads and warm meals. Don’t ya think? The hypergamy argument is supposed to be built on the social maneuverings of Machiavellian participants; however, it casts everyone involved as complete fucking idiots. These seem hard to mesh.

At this point, it should be clear that women’s sexual selective preferences are not the cause of men’s toils and struggles. In fact, the standards and values that drive men to toil and risk are not set by women at all. They’re set by men. Men risk themselves and strive for wealth and power to establish their manhood in the eyes of other men. This has often been institutionalized in the form of initiation rituals. Moreover, societies glorify warriors or teachers or leaders or athletes. They’ve called upon their men to hold these positions, and they’ve deemed women incapable of holding these honored positions by virtue of their womanhood. History is riddled with influential authors calling women inferior and incapable. If women can exert such power via withholding sexual access to their bodies, why have so many societies been so denigrating and violent toward women?

Third, the argument is internally weak. KKamina wants to suggest that male sexual selective preferences are inert while female sexual selective preferences influence male behavior. However, he explains, “To find a potential suitor, all women need do is take care of themselves physically (the termagants among them refuse even this).” This is the first internal weakness of the argument. A woman can only use sex as a tool of manipulation if men want to sleep with her. The glib line about shrews suggests the author does not think all women have been worthy of sexual pursuit. If this is the case, many women are no longer even in consideration for being influences, and those reasons have everything to do with the selective preferences of men. Put differently, the author would have us believe that a major factor influencing human civilization is the mating preferences of some pretty girls. It’s that stuck-up bitch, Jessica’s, fault.

Furthermore, withholding sex can only manipulate a man’s behavior if the sex cannot be coerced in other ways. If men hold the social, political, and economic power, if men are the providers, then women have no real bargaining chip. Sure women can withhold sex to influence the behavior of men, but men can withhold the basic necessities of survival to coerce women into sex. They can also use threats of violence or actual violence. In other words, men can exert their societal power to get sex even if women are temporarily withholding it. The author wants us to believe that women are playing some game theory strategy, but it would only work if we assume that men are not equally strategic. We know this isn’t the case. See a couple paragraphs above discussing the ways societies have exerted social, political, and physical control over women’s bodies.

Whether or not it is accurate, it seems reasonable that the investment women make in a child would lead them to be more selective with whom they mate. However, that does not mean women have ever had the power to fully enforce their selective desires. Furthermore, it doesn’t follow that what has variously constituted a high status male in human societies is the kind of male that would be selected for using purely evolutionary pressure. The fact that some (perhaps many) women prefer what we understand to be a high status male does not mean natural selection was the driving cause of that preference. Nor, frankly, does it follow that such preferences represent unadulterated “female visceral urges”.

Finally, and perhaps most damningly, even if we hold the argument to be true, the best solution would be the basic goals of feminism. By equalizing the non-sexual social power between men and women, you reduce the need for women to utilize sexual selectiveness as a means of ensuring safety for themselves and their offspring. They can take on an equal share of that burden, allowing men and women to renegotiate the nature of their sexual relationships. It would be a brave new world. Certainly, the author claims that the egalitarian platitudes of feminists haven’t changed anything, but I’m not discussing platitudes. I’m discussing the actualization of feminist goals. The only way this solution fails is if women are biologically determined to select certain traits in men, and the author goes out of his way, on multiple occasions, to explain that he is not making a claim of determinism. It doesn’t guarantee Robbie will get the cheerleader, but it reduces the likelihood that he’ll spend the rest of his life only masturbating.

Yes, historically speaking, men have been subject to dangerous work that has unnecessarily cost many of their lives. Countless men have toiled in thankless and unhealthy jobs to provide. Men have started wars, fought in wars, and died in wars. Furthermore, it is certainly the case that men have done expensive, stupid, and dangerous things to impress women. But arguing that female sexual selectivity has exerted an influence on society, leading to these toils and forcing men to either be “an ‘alpha’ bad boy asshole or beta high-earning provider” is reductive, ahistorical, facile, and just plain stupid. It treats men like 13-year olds and casts women as nothing more than manipulative sex dolls. Oh, and it completely (perhaps willfully) ignores the centuries of violence women have faced.

And, seriously, if “…males’ avaricious appetite for wealth and competition is rooted in male anxieties about sexual and social failure or success,” then us men need to see a therapist and get over it. Come on, if the reason a woman won’t sleep with you is because she thinks you don’t have enough money or you’re not ‘alpha’ enough for her, you’ve got a few options: (1) find another woman (there are literally billions of them), (2) quote Meat Loaf: “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that” or (3) wait until you’ve graduated from high school since, you know, most people grow up eventually.

We’re acting like asshats, men, and we’re doing this to ourselves. Let’s just stop.

When Did Men Stop Being Men?

It was written a year ago, so I’m late to the party. Also, to be fair, it’s kind of an easy target. However, I just saw a post tagged with ‘Masculinity’ that positively linked to this post by David Goetsch entitled ‘Neutering the Male of the Species: The Feminization of American Society,’ and it prompted me to respond. In his post, Goetsch asks: “[W]hy do so many men in America feel compelled to apologize for…for what…for being men?” This may come as no surprise considering the title of his post, but Goetsch says, “The answer to this question is simple: Feminists are neutering the American male and the American male is letting it happen.” During my undergraduate years, I minored in Gender and Women’s Studies. Apparently, I was at risk daily, as it meant I was surrounded by feminists. But let me tell you, not once did a feminist attempt to neuter me.

Goetsch’s article is an unpleasant little piece of fantasy and conspiracy that still finds a way to squeeze in some anti-Muslim bile as well. It never ceases to amaze me how some people can cram so much hatred into so few words. Goetsch’s argument can be summed up in this passage: “Bowing to the strident sniping of radical feminists, men have allowed themselves to be transformed into a bunch of wimpy eunuchs who, rather than stand their ground, have ceded their manhood to women who want to be men.” What is lost when men are “transformed into a bunch of wimpy eunuchs”? Goetsch doesn’t expressly give a response, but you get the idea when he says, “In fact, there are lots of things women do better than men, but things that require physical strength and native aggression are not among them.” In fact, most of the post is about how men’s aggressive and violent nature is key to protecting and preserving the good.

This is what prompts me to ask, when did men stop being men? Following Goetsch’s logic, the sniping of radical feminists has caused us to make a radical shift in our society toward one that undermines the masculine. This indoctrination is claimed to happen as early as kindergarten and continues throughout the 12 years of the American education system. Well, Feminism has been around for awhile, and Goetsch certainly talks as though this social restructuring isn’t new. So, when did men stop being men? Well, Goetsch helps us answer this question in his first paragraph. In his opening, Goetsch praises men being men. He praises the men who fought the American Revolution. He praises the men who fought against the Axis in World War II. He praises the men who rebuilt the NYC skyline after the terrorist attacks on 9-11. Well, the One World Trade Center building was completed in July 2013. Remember, our question is: when did men stop being men. According to Goetsch’s first paragraph, the answer is “sometime in the last two years.” Of course, men did win the most recent Super Bowl, so it all probably fell apart in February or March of this year.

See, this is what makes Goetsch’s argument so mind-bogglingly dumb. He laments the feminization of men, yet he praises contemporary men for their manliness. You can’t have it both ways, dude. When did men stop being men? They didn’t. More importantly, he is completely blind to the ways his words demonstrate the need for Feminism. The American Revolution was inspired by the resistance to tyranny set up by men. The evils of Nazi Germany were wrought by men. The attackers on 9-11 were men. Perhaps a little feminizing of that “native aggression” would prevent some of these tragedies brought about by men. Furthermore, Goetsch completely acknowledges that women have been successful and important participants in society. As he puts it, “I take nothing away from women who also played significant roles in all of these examples.” In a sense, this is the point of Feminism. 1. Setting masculinity as socially primary diminishes the value and place of women to the detriment of everyone. 2. Allowing women place and participation does not bring about our downfall. 3. Therefore, we should end our masculine-centered social structure in favor of one that is egalitarian. For all his delusional ranting and raving, Goetsch makes a pretty good case for feminism.

A common theme among people like Goetsch is the claim that Feminism destroys men. As someone who is prone to pedantic diatribes, you’d think I’d have noticed this in my years of connection to Feminism. Heck, I was even embedded in the place Feminism is most supposed to flourish – a socially-liberal, liberal arts college. I’ve never felt personally destroyed as a man, nor have I ever felt my manhood under threat. Frankly, I don’t understand the claim at all. But if I had to guess at it, I think this comes down to the fact that I don’t consider my being a man as much of a status of personal identification. I tend to think more broadly. I will write about this in a different post, but what it boils down to is the fact that my concerns aren’t with ‘being a man.’ I’m not really sure how to not be a man. What is a man? Someone who self-identifies as a man. What is manly? That which is done by someone who self-identifies as a man. My concerns are with being a good person, and these are more broad and variable in expression. At bottom, I see no intrinsic status in being a man, so I have no problem with ridding ourselves of the social privilege I am afforded by virtue of being a man. I am still free to be myself, even in ways that are traditionally masculine. My masculinity is just no longer privileged nor a guarantor of anything beyond what would be afforded to anyone. I’m not sure if that all makes sense, so I’ll have to flesh it out in a future post.

Just remember, men stopped being men on Sunday, February 1, 2015 when Malcolm Butler intercepted that pass. Us men have been neutered ever sense. Nice call, Pete Carroll.

***Other Thoughts***

I will credit Goetsch for this: “strident sniping” is a fantastic oxymoronic phrase.

On Beating a Horse When It’s an Easy Target (or Some Other Mixed Metaphor)

Every once in a while, for a laugh, I have to visit the A Few Grown Men page at Patheos. I’ve gone there before, a couple times, and I’ll acknowledge they can be an easy target. But come on:

“Here are three small things you can do any time of year to make men feel at home:

1. Don’t load a man’s hands when he enters the sanctuary.

Have you ever noticed how women pick things up and carry them around? Men usually don’t. This is because men are hunters – women are gatherers. Women love to scoop things up but men want their hands free in case they need to defend themselves or kill a wild animal.

Church #1 didn’t understand this principle. The moment I entered the church I was met by greeters with cookies and cider.”

Apparently, I’m an unusual man because I will happily choose the place that hands out free cookies and cider. In the unlikely event that a wild animal should jump out at me with my hands full of delicious sundries, I would toss the cider into the beasts eyes, kick it while it is off-balance due to sudden blindness, take a bite of my cookie, and then use my obviously superior fighting skills to intimidate the beast into leaving.

Wait, let me check my crotch…..yup, manhood intact.

Hooah!

Oh, and yes, I have noticed a veritable plague of women standing around, unable to do anything, because they’ve swooped everything up into their hands. It’s hurting the economy, ladies, so stop it.

On the Warfare I Face…Apparently

There’s a pretty good chance that you (yes, you) are crushing my masculinity under the heel of your shoe. You should feel ashamed. I know this because I recently received an open message from A Few Grown Men about men and the warfare they face. I’m generally a nonviolent person, but when warfare faces me, I face back.

What atrocity has occurred to warrant the claim that war has been declared on masculinity? Some women left negative comments on a Men’s Health article. I know, I can barely contain my rage, too.

Of course, this is only the latest salvo in a string of unprovoked attacks from the anti-masculinists. Remember the Promise Keepers? They were “met with criticism and distain [sic] by the media and women (even Christian women).  They were portrayed as men getting together to plot and scheme with some ulterior motive to dominate or control women, putting them back under the thumb of oppression.” I mean, read this viewpoint from NOW. It’s like NOW literally fired missiles at masculinity. Literally.

More recently, some unnamed Christian conference for men has been “heavily lambasted by Christian men and women in the media as being chauvinistic and rather stupid.” You probably thought the Rwandan genocide was evil. Then, someone called a Christian Men’s conference “rather stupid.” Perspective is a harsh mistress, ain’t she?

These anti-masculinist acts of aggression aim to “keep men ashamed of themselves” and to “keep them docile.” Why is this the anti-masculinist agenda? Because “docile men are easy to control. We’ve raised a generation of docile sons and we now call them slackers.” Which reminds me: men, don’t smoke pot. It is an anti-masculinist tool used to keep you docile and turn you into a slacker.

What is the motivation behind making men easy to control? That’s not made clear. But let’s face it, this is warfare. Does it matter? Unrelated events have been cobbled together showing that the smallest of insults may have been leveled at a vague characteristic by a non-specific enemy. If that is not a reason to take up arms, I don’t know what is.

If you’re not enraged by this, you’re not a man! If you’re not proudly a man, you’re not a man! And I want you to remember that no bastard has ever won a war by slacking off at his conference. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard slack off at his conference.

You, in the back, you seem timid. It’s like I haven’t convinced you that you face warfare because you’re a man. Fine, consider this story about the vandalism and assault from women marching in Argentina. They attacked Catholic cathedrals and assaulted the men trying to protect the buildings by spraying them with paint and drawing on their faces with markers. Were these acts designed to make men docile? No. Were they in protest of masculinity? No. But now is not the time to waste an opportunity to exploit a good photo op.

So, masculinists, remember: don’t be ashamed to be a man. You earned the right to be a man. Together, we will win the war on the warfare we face. Now, I want to leave with the closing words of Rick Johnson, the author of the open letter, or should I say, call to arms:

“Guys don’t buy into it.  You need other men in your life.  Learn from them what healthy (and unhealthy) masculinity looks like.  And when you make mistakes (which you will) learn from them and don’t be ashamed.  If you are not making mistakes (and getting criticized by someone), you’re not accomplishing anything.”

Wait, so all of these “attacks” on masculinity are to be expected? A healthy masculinity listens to these critiques, sublimates the information, and grows from it? Men will make mistakes and should learn from them?

Damn!

Well, I guess the war on the warfare we face is off. Timbers pre-seaon doesn’t start for another few months. I guess I’ll re-watch Orange is the New Black.

Other Thoughts:

*Sorry, Michelle, I couldn’t resist.

* Truthfully, the actions of the protesters in Argentina should be condemned, but pretending like they are part of some war on masculinity is pathetic.

*Speaking of pathetic: spending a few hundred words cataloging various examples of people (kinda, sorta) offering criticisms of masculinity, calling that warfare, then saying “healthy masculinity” accepts its criticisms and learns from them is shockingly pathetic. It also shows a complete lack of self-reflection.

On Being One of the Few Grown Men

Over at the Patheos blogging network is a blog called “A Few Grown Men.” The blog consists of four writers, all men (bet you didn’t see that coming), blogging on topics like lessons men can learn from Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln to advice on building your daughter’s self-esteem. I haven’t read any of these articles, so I cannot speak to their quality, but they make complete sense on a blog featuring men discussing issues faced by men.

One of the blog’s authors is a man by the name of David Murrow. He was communications director for Alaska Governors Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell. He also started an organization called Church for Men that “helps local congregations reach more men and boys.” I was unaware the Church had issues reaching men, but then, I’m a man who has never been a church attender. I suppose I illustrate the point.

Anyway, Murrow has two recent posts on the blog discussing why men don’t share feelings. They are titled: Why Men Don’t Share Feelings (Part 1) and Why Men Don’t Share Feelings (Part 2). Now, I want to lay a couple things on the table, first. Besides his bio on A Few Grown Men and the two posts on men not sharing feelings, I have read nothing by David Murrow. I did not know he existed until I encountered his blog. Neither was I aware of his organization until today. Beyond the minimal amount of exposure mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, I have absolutely no insight into the life and thoughts of David Murrow. I lay that on the table because, despite all of that, I am convinced that David Murrow is not one of the “few grown men.” With that, let’s find out why men don’t share feelings.

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On Books Men Must Read – Part 1

In line with all the great achievements of the greatest of men, here is part one of my reading project – years late and accomplishing a fraction of what I promised.

A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

I’m glad I read this book in my 30s. However, the “moral of the story”, to my mind, is one best learned in one’s 20s. This is the paradox of the novel. The extra decade of living needed to understand that the story is about the narrator and not Dean is a decade you don’t want to lose.

Lesson for Men: Though sex may be acceptable as either a sport or a pastime, women are neither.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

In high school, I worked at a pizza place. One night, I closed the restaurant with two of my co-workers, both female peers I found attractive. After work, they decided to drive out to the sand pits and get high.

Though a veritable teetotaler in high school, I was excited to join them. I had a bit of a crush on one girl; the second girl had a bit of a crush on me. Both were cool kids, generally.

We got in the van, drove out to the sand pits, and hung out. They got high; we listened to loud music and joked around. After an hour or so, they drove me home.

My experience of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love was like that evening. It was a good experience, in general, but I was left feeling like more should have happened and wondering if I missed out on something.

Lesson for Men: “Booze takes a lot of time and effort if you’re going to do a good job with it.” Raymond Carver said this before the rise of microbreweries and homebrewing. These days, enjoy with moderation.

***

Other Random Thoughts:

  • Salter’s prose is amazing. He just crafts amazing sentences.

This is what allows him to write rather explicit depictions of sex without ever crossing the line into pulp. I’m not even sure it can be considered erotica. His writing can get hot, but it remained literary without becoming titillating.

  • Truth be told, I suspect part of what I found lacking from Carver is more a reaction to reading Carver after Salter.

Carver’s style is sparse, minimalist. It is different than Salter’s sing-songiness (I’m not sure if ‘lyrical’ properly captures my experience of Salter). Had I read Carver first, or allowed more time between reading the two, I suspect I would have enjoyed him more.

  • Carver writes with a strong, male voice.

I both love and loath authors that can write in a strong male voice. It is easy to want to identify one’s masculinity with that of the character given a strong, male voice (in fact, I think a large number of the books suggested by Esquire are suggested because their authors can write with a strong, male voice).

The problem arises when the masculinity on display in the novel is misogynistic. Charles Bukowski, to my mind, is a good example of this. Read Women (on Esquire’s list). Bukowski is great with the everyman man’s man. But, my goodness, is he misogynistic.

Now, let me be clear, I’m not suggesting that misogynistic characters shouldn’t be written. I just worry, when they’re written well, do they seem more appealing than they should? I hope not, but I worry.