Male and Female God created us. That means He created masculinity and femininity as well. Lose one or the other, and bad things happen.
At UCLA, students recently formed the Toxic Masculinity Committee—designed to help men understand, among other things, that their innate drive for aggression is a bad thing.
But is it? The women of Cypress, California, might disagree.
While shopping at the local Target store, Ismael Duarte noticed a man following his teenage daughter. When Duarte blocked him from getting any closer, the stranger walked away. Minutes later, Duarte spotted him again—this time the man was using his cell phone to try to film up the skirt of another young woman.
And that’s when Duarte went into “protect mode.” Duarte kicked the cell phone away, and pounced on the man, knocking him to the floor. The man scrambled to his feet and fled. But Duarte and his wife raced after him and used their own phones to photograph his car and license plate. Duarte called the police, and the man was arrested.
Now, as the father of a teenage daughter, I’m cheering Ismael Duarte’s “aggression.” You see, what gets lost in all the complaints about “toxic masculinity” is the fact that the very traits feminists associate with it—aggression, ambition, and violence—can and often are used in a good cause. My concern is that we are going to end up with fewer men like Ismael Duarte because boys as young as five are being taught that there is something wrong with the biologically-influenced traits associated with masculinity.
As my friend and radio host Dennis Prager notes in a column titled “Is America Still Making Men?” one of the questions every society must ask in order to survive is, “How do we make good men?” If we fail to answer this question properly, we end up with men who “will likely do much harm.” But men who are tutored from early childhood on how to “channel their drives in positive directions make the world a much better place.” They learn to take responsibility for themselves, their families, their houses of worship, their communities, and their country.
But this doesn’t take place automatically, Prager warns: Turning boys into good men takes work.
Tragically, Americans appear to have forgotten this lesson. For instance, modern feminism has attacked the very concepts of femininity and masculinity, insisting that boys and girls be reared in exactly the same way. Prager says boys are no longer allowed to have “masculine” toys such as play guns and toy soldiers. On the school playground, rough games like dodgeball have been banned.
Second, America has gone from a responsibility-centered culture to a rights-centered one. The result? Fewer men are willing to take on the life-long job of caring for a wife and children. Why should they, if life is all about them?
And sadly, cultural changes over the past 50 years mean that fewer boys have important male mentors in their lives to teach them how to be men.
If you’re the father of sons, I hope you spend lots of time with them, teaching them what being a man is all about—and maybe doing challenging stuff together, like hiking the Grand Canyon. And I recommend giving your sons a copy of Bill Bennett’s “The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood.”
Instead of trying to make men more like women, or labeling typical male traits as “toxic,” we should help boys harness characteristics such as aggression, ambition, and yes, even violence, into proper channels—such as working hard to support a family, racing into burning buildings to save children—or protecting their daughters from predators in retail stores.
On a related subject: On a recent BreakPoint podcast, columnist Mona Charen talks with John Stonestreet about the disastrous consequences of modern feminism. Check it out at BreakPoint.org.
“Protect Mode”: Why Masculinity Is Good
Eric points out some great resources on this hot-button topic. The links below are for resources that discuss masculinity and the consequences of the trend our culture is pursuing.