On Toxic Masculinity

Is masculinity a problem in our culture today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Gillette has recently come out with an ad dealing with the problem of toxic masculinity. This is always a difficult term to talk about as no one I know really defines toxic masculinity. It can often be thought that a man being a man is guilty of toxic masculinity.

One example given in the video is a guy saying to a girl, “Smile, sweetie.” Perhaps it’s not necessarily the best thing to say, but if you turn yourself into a victim because you hear that, you have a far worse problem. Guys think women are beautiful and guys want women to smile. When my own wife has put up pictures of herself on Facebook, she has been told she needs to smile.

There has also been debate about the boys fighting in the video. Women have looked and said, “Bullying.” Men have looked and said “roughhousing.” The latter is not a problem at all. It’s how boys often bond with one another. Boys fight. You might say “Well, my son is a nerd. He’s not into fighting.”

Is that why he goes to see those superhero movies and Star Wars and plays video games with heroes fighting villains?

Yes. Even nerds fight in their own way. They may not be as physically capable of fighting with their own bodies, but they have the dreams just as much of being the heroes as their more physically capable fellow men do. Nerds can have just as much of a desire for adventure as other men do.

Today, we live in a culture that it trying greatly to feminize men. On the other hand, we’re also trying to make women into men. Consider the recent celebration in New York over an abortion bill. Don’t tell me that you see abortion as a sad evil when you light up a tower in pink to celebrate. These are people who actively want abortions and yet abortion is one of the most unfeminine actions there is. Abortion makes a mother into a murderer of her own children. However, women think they have to have this to be on the same playing field as men. Note also that about half of the victims in abortion will be women who are murdered.

Men meanwhile are guilty of great crimes if they think that a woman is beautiful and seek to pursue a relationship with her or compliment her. Now, of course, there can be always a danger. I do follow the Pence rule, which goes back to Billy Graham, of not letting myself be alone with women that are not family. The problem comes when as soon as a man expresses any interest, he is declared a pervert. At the same time, these women will ask where all the men are. They’re not there because any time they asked you out, they got shot down and learned eventually to not do it.

I have long held it as a policy to hold open the door for women. That is called being polite. Not so with the new feminists today. That is an insult. It is saying that they can’t open the door on their own. So if a man does something he thinks is nice and honoring to a woman, he is again a problem.

Men are also regularly told they need to be more peaceful in how they handle conflict. Years ago when I was a teenager, I did study karate for a season and we had a saying. Peace if we will, but power if we must. Men should always strive for peaceable means of resolving conflict, but sometimes peaceable means don’t work. Neville Chamberlain’s approach to Hitler did not stop him. It took leaders who stood up to him and fought back to stop him.

Interestingly, what was not addressed in the ad were countries that are Muslim who engage in female genital mutilation and throwing acid in women’s faces. Why did Gillette not say anything about this? Could it be that that was not politically correct? Gillette. You are not being courageous when you stand up and say whatever the culture around you is saying. If you want to show courage, go after Middle Eastern Muslim cultures that do this kind of behavior.

Men today live in a world where they are increasingly seen as villains because they are men. Most anything can nowadays be considered sexual harassment. A man will be less prone to even ask a woman out because he thinks he could be charged with a crime. This despite men living in a world where women try to look their best, which they should, and sex is all around him in media and in advertising. Men are wired to think about sex and yet if they respond to how they are wired and compliment a woman, they are punished for it.

Men are by nature creatures of high energy and we are not as relational as women are. When I talk with my friends, normally it’s about politics, apologetics, or video games. That’s how we bond. Women don’t bond the same way. That’s okay.

Men are also not perverts for thinking women are beautiful. We are designed to be that way. I was in a group on Facebook a couple of weeks ago asking why we think certain parts of our wife’s anatomy, none specifically named, are attractive. What did most men say? “We don’t know. They just are.” I pointed out that if we say that their bodies don’t matter, we’re not being Christian. We’re being Gnostic. Christ was born in a body, lived in a body, died in a body, rose again in a body, and today is still in a body. The body matters. The female body was made to be beautiful to man and as a married man who sees a female body, I have to say that God did a very good job.

Men are more aggressive, but like all good things, it can be controlled and directed. That energy and passion and aggression will cause men to do great things. The women in their lives also have a great influence. A woman can influence a man so he will do things he never dreamed possible before all because of the love of the woman. My wife got me to change my diet for instance. That might not be a big deal to you, but it is a big deal if you have Aspergers and haven’t changed your diet in about 30 years or so.

Gillette is not doing well from what I see in the culture. Recently at the grocery store here, I saw in the discount section a lot of Gillette products. I was playing a gameshow on my phone last night where the host mentioned a deal on Gillette products and the comments section immediately lit up with people saying no.

The huge majority of men don’t have a problem with toxic masculinity. They have the opposite. They need to be more masculine. Gillette is just engaging in the feminization of men. Where will the women be who push this when they want the men to protect them and the men are not there?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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