Crisis in masculinity?

by Rod Smith

Perhaps authentic masculinity is misunderstood.

Reading multiple, glaring and blaring cultural messages a young man may easily think a “real” man is measured in sports abilities, in physical strength, or in demonstrating a lack of empathy. He may think it’s the refusal to reveal “soft” emotions, or to cry, or he may believe masculinity is related to levels of alcohol consumption, the ability to impress women, deceive his parents, or defy authority.

I’d suggest “real” masculinity is reflected willingness and capacity to live by and speak the truth. It’s expressed when a boy requests respected people to help him with his blind spots so he may increase his awareness of how his life impacts others.

It’s the willingness to forgive others and to seek forgiveness from those he has wronged. It’s to learn from past errors. It’s to desire authentic humility and to seek opportunities to serve others.

Masculinity is values-driven, not peer or pressure driven.

Masculinity protects the weak, the helpless, and speaks up for the underdog. It seeks the highest good of all others, female and male.

Masculinity wins without gloating and loses without blaming.

It’s to learn to love art, reading, and writing.

It’s to appreciate the difference between legitimate and illegitimate authority.

It’s to find a voice and to use it wisely.

It’s to enjoy and communicate with parents.

It’s to love and develop skills and talents so that all may benefit.

2 Comments to “Crisis in masculinity?”

  1. Wow thank you for this post! The introductory part is something that most of us have read before: What masculinity is NOT… While most calls for a re-think of masculinity are rather strong in renouncing old-fashioned patterns, they oft lack a specific new definition of the term. This leads us to understand that modern men would need to ‘soften up’ and simply embrace more feminine features of character, which would lead to abolishing masculinity altogether, rather than re-claiming it in a healthy way.

    Your new definition however provides content for actual discussion and inspiration… I think some traits in there cannot solely be claimed by masculinity. For example, ‘winning without gloating and losing without blaming’ seems like a way of life that any mature person – male or female – might want to seek. But well, you didn’t speak of just ‘men’ and I suppose we all agree that any woman can have a masculine side to her as well…

    What stood out most to me was the part about ‘protecting the weak and seeking the highest good of all’. Now this resonances with the very old, yet also quite relevant-to-present-day concept of knighthood and honorary values. Thank you for re-claiming the very positive impact of this and inspiring us to get our concept of masculinity not only straightened up, but also filled with some actual content! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s