“We hold these truths to be self-evident” can be said about a lot of patently obvious things. The idea that men are not women and women are not men, should be chief among them. Sadly, the lines dividing the two seem to be rapidly disappearing, with masculinity under heavy fire and the concept of the “real” man bludgeoned almost beyond repair. What started out as a push for better treatment and equality for women – a noble and worthy goal, by any standard – has devolved into an all out war on masculinity, boys, men and most everything pertaining to the classic ideal of “male.”
It might be unfair to lay this latest ongoing assault at the feet of the feminist movement. Although, that movement itself has been an integral weapon in the war on masculinity. Half a century ago, the most often cited fear of the feminist movement was that it might “masculinize” women: Flannel shirts, hiking boots, cropped haircuts and the like. The idea that it might make men start behaving more like women seemed completely unthinkable, at the time. The roles and role models for masculinity were well-established and unimpeachable. Men busted broncos, fought wars, shot guns, raced cars and lived by the motto “a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.”
The implication of that motto was that a man must stand up for himself, for what is right and for those he loves. A man was supposed to shoulder the burdens of supporting his family’s needs, be respectful of his elders and treat every woman he met as if she were a queen. Competitiveness and self-reliance were part and parcel to a man’s emotional makeup and social identity. What masculinity has been reduced to today, is the butt of a joke it is no longer man enough to even be aware of. Masculinity has come under fire from a dozen different directions, so it is no surprise that the real men have all but disappeared.
The most insidious attacks are not happening to men though, they are being executed on boys. Little boys are energetic, rambunctious, enthusiastic and easily the root word for “boisterous.” Little boys and little girls, despite all of the populist arguments to the contrary, are not the same. A typical toddler girl, if separated from her mommy by a baby gate, will eventually sit down and cry if her mommy does not pay her attention. A typical toddler boy however, while he too might cry, will also attempt to break down the gate or scale it. The relative advantage of either approach is worth debating, but it is the difference which needs to be addressed.
In school, much of the modern American curriculum is geared towards the strengths of girls. Math class involves a lot of word problems these days, while science classes lean heavily on written reports. But it gets worse; should little boys today have the impertinence to act like little boys of yesterday, they are almost immediately put on drugs. Recess, a wonderful tool for allowing children to burn off the excess fidgeting energy of their youth, has all but disappeared from public schools. Juxtapose those heavy doses of Ritalin for little boys, against a teaching environment which encourages little girls to “be empowered.” Whatever that means.
On the whole, girls tend to outperform boys in the use of language and fine motor skills, at least through puberty. Boys brains tend to perform better in numerical-based math and geometry. These areas of children’s brains – geometric, linear and spacial awareness, as well as numerical recognition – tend to develop about four years earlier in boys, than they do in girls. Researchers have determined that when it comes to math, a 12-year-old girl is working at the same acuity of an 8-year-old boy. Conversely, the areas of girl’s brains involved in language and fine motor skills (such as handwriting) develop easily six years earlier than in boys. Which means that an eight-year-old girl has equal language skills to a 14-year-old boy. By biasing scholastic achievements towards linguistic acuity, the deck has been stacked against little boys without anyone being the wiser.
In entertainment, these days, genuine masculinity is either nonexistent or vilified. Men with masculine traits are portrayed as criminal, ugly, brutish, stupid or violent. Incidentally, the easiest way to identify the eventual villain in a modern TV crime drama, is to spot the white male guest-star in a position of authority, who is wearing a tie. The whole idea of a real man has disappeared under the same fire as masculinity.
In movies and television, the primary source of all oppression is an exaggeratedly masculine bully. The new heroes, saviors and titillating romantic interests, tend to the feminine acting, snarky smart-boys, more comfortable with video-game controllers and underachievement, than they are with their own skin. The smartest boys in the room, of course, must be only a few steps short of homosexual. The less masculine and more effeminate the character, the better the chances he will be a genius and universally liked. Today’s model man, according to Hollywood at any rate, tends to be a submissive, docile mamma’s boy, who requires a strong feminine influence to help him reach his potential.
These days, women are shown to be hard-driving, butt-kicking, karate chopping “macho-women” of the boardrooms and bedrooms, who take no prisoners and need no man. Masculine behavior seems to be acceptable, just so long as the person engaging in all that brutality, is not actually a man.
This sad lack of masculinity in the current generation of boys growing into men, has left a vacuum in the social fabric of the country which women are being forced to fill. Women now outnumber men on college campuses by a striking percent, and the much bemoaned “income gap” exists almost entirely in the minds of people who seem to find personal fulfillment in exaggerating differences.
Men slightly outnumber women in the workforce, and there are still dangerous, dirty jobs, which women simply never apply for. The danger of those jobs tends to bring better pay, and the men who accept them never take time off for maternity leave. This might also be a good time to point out that Democrat politicians and their support groups like the Democrat National Committee, pay their women and minority employees a substantially smaller percentage than they pay their white male employees, whereas the Republicans pay all their people about equally.
Some experts fear that the pendulum will swing back with a vengeance, and all of the genuine, beneficial gains which women have enjoyed over the past 50 years will be steamrolled in a rush of testosterone. Still others, looking at the way socialism has creeped its way into American society, fear that this latest crop of Peter Pan’s will serve to force more and more people into dependence upon the government, which can only serve to strengthen government control.
Some women might celebrate the disappearance of masculinity, fondly bidding farewell to the stereotypical “real” men of days gone by; many hope those women will come under fire from the rest of the women in the nation, who want to marry men, not little boys. For the majority of women in America, if they seriously wanted to date a dependent little mama’s boy, they could simply give birth to one.
Commentary by Ben Gaul