The title comes from an article I recently read, titled Europe’s tragedy: Too much Angela Merkel, too little masculinity, written by Iben Thranholm for Russia Times
In the article, Ms. Thranholm advances the idea that the recent incidents of alleged molestation in Cologne on New Year’s Eve were caused by a lack of masculinity and by extension, the advancement of feminism. While I take issue with the notion that more masculinity is the solution for the refugee issue—especially considering we’re talking largely about the meeting of different cultures—I agree that the world could use a dose of true masculinity.
Ms. Thranholm is operating with a broken notion of masculinity.
Since the 1960s, modern mothers have raised their sons to be women, soaking them in feminine values like accepting responsibility for household chores, being caring, understanding and attentive, and bend to every wish of the woman. This has produced a generation of soft, insecure men, who are out of touch with their masculine nature, identity and strength. (emphasis mine)
‘Being caring, understanding, and attentive’ are values for both sexes. They aren’t the sole purview of women. A masculine man should be caring, understanding, and attentative to women, to other men, to his children, etc. Masculinity isn’t about being an emotional tit or not giving a damn about other people’s feelings. In fact, emotional intelligence is one of the hallmarks of a masculine man. I’m not saying we need to take windy walks pouring over the finer details of ‘why she makes me what to cry.’
Jack Donovan puts it better than I can:
[Honor] is the most natural desire in the world, because honor in its most inclusive sense is esteem, respect and status. To be honored is to be respected by one’s peers.(Donovan, 2012)
One of the ways in which you honor someone, is by being caring, understanding, and attentive. Therefore those are traits a masculine man has by definition because a masculine man is an honorable man.
The American Sioux Indians had a similar take:
It is easy, we think, to be loyal to family and clan, whose blood is in our own veins. Love between man and woman is founded on the mating instinct and is not free from desire and self-seeking. But to have a friend, and to be true under any and all trials, is the mark of a man! The highest type of friendship is the relation of ‘brother-friend’ or ‘life-and-death friend.’ This bond is between man and man, is usually formed in early youth, and can only be broken by death. It is the essence of comradeship and fraternal love, without thought of pleasure or gain, but rather for moral support and inspiration. Each is vowed to die for the other, if need be, and nothing denied the brother-friend, but neither is anything required that is not in accord with the highest conceptions of the Indian mind. (Eastman, 2014)
But Ms. Thranholm continues to confuse herself and potentially her readers about what defines masculinity with this statement:
Indeed, Danish police officers were seen playing with refugee children on motorways instead of doing their job of enforcing the law. They were lauded as heroes in the media. They acted like women with soft hearts and not as men entrusted with defending their country and the rule of law.
Give me a break.
As if a masculine police officer shouldn’t have a soft heart for kids being displaced from their homes and traveling very long distances in less-than-desireable conditions. This points back to her broken notion that it isn’t a masculine trait to understand the plight of others, to be caring of someone, even a stranger from a vastly different culture. Again, I’m not taking any sides on the larger issue of the refugees. However, as a man and as a father, I can certainly sympathize with what a young child might be going through in a case like that. If I were a police officer in that situation, I might be inclined to take some time out to play with the child, if only to distract them for a moment or as a gesture of what a Western man is capable of, as in “welcome to the enlightenment.”
In the following statement she touches on one of the key problems with the definition of masculinity in the US right now:
Today, many boys also grow up with no father in the home and have no male role models. The average modern Western male has been feminized, with no knowledge or habit of manly virtues like courage, resolve, self-sacrifice, justice, temperance, self-reliance, self-discipline and honour. He has no sense of true expression of manliness.
Father’s play a critical role in a child’s upgringing, especially a boy’s. A good father is a sounding board, a role-model, and an enforcer, among other things. Without proper, male role-models in their lives, boys struggle to define masculinity and no woman can teach a boy what it means to be a man, any more than a man can teach a girl what it means to be a woman.
All-to-often, fatherless boys are forced to define masculinity by 1) finding appropriate, male role-models (and how many young boys know how to make that decision) and 2) defining it simply as “not feminine.” (Garcia, 2008) In neither case is a young boy likely to find the true meaning of masculinity. That search all-to-often leads men towards gangs, where a sense of brotherhood and order is found, and expressions of masculinity are accepted, even encouraged, even if they are often expressions of hyper-masculinity. This is one way thugs are created.
I agree with the author’s oppionion that the world has too little masculinity right now. However, I take exception with the author’s broken definition of masculinity. What Ms. Thranholm seems to think is masculinity is more in line with hyper-masculinity and even something I would use to define knuckle-draggers or cavemen. What the world needs right now is to revisit what it means to be masculine and how that fits in with what it means to be feminine. More thugs, knuckle-draggers and cavemen aren’t the solution to any problem.