by

I’m a manly man, and I’m not sorry for it.

Did you know that there’s a crisis in American masculinity? Or that masculinity is killing us all? If you haven’t been on the internet in the last couple of years, it may come as a surprise that men killed masculinity. Apparently, all of the things that made manly men manly are now bad, and we should be trying to form a new masculinity.

To which I say, fuck that.

I am a manly man. I am hairy, loud, fond of beer and red meat. I think women are sexy and occasionally look at boobs on the internet. I fish, I make the fire, I kill the bugs. I like shooting guns and playing video games. I take pride in the fact that I provide for my family, and my roles as father and husband are as important to me as my individuality, often more so. I recognize that we men are often the ones to be called on to be cannon fodder, and like men before me, I would sacrifice myself to protect the women and children.

I am aware, as are most men, of the unspoken physicality and pack behavior when out in public with other men. I take pride in the fact that my physical presence can be intimidating. I work to hone my intellect so that my mental prowess is as formidable as my physical presence. And like many men, I resent being told that my gender, and its representative traits, are something to be looked down upon; barbaric, neanderthal, and worthy of elimination.

I am a manly man, and I am not sorry for it.

I am surrounded daily by messages pointing to my silent complicity in bad behavior. If I suggest that a statement blaming men for harassment seems like an awfully large generalization, I’m shouted down with #notallmen. If I suggest that the 77% wage gap is a bad number due to poor statistical methodology, I’m “mansplaining”. In many social media conversations regarding social issues, just by showing up in the thread and not silently bobbing my head, I’ve made myself a target. My input, no matter how well intended, can often result in a barrage of flaming attacks.

95413-ron-swanson-what-the-hell-just-RT4g

And here’s the thing: I support the goal of equality. I believe people of all shapes, sizes, colors and genitals should have the same freedoms, rights, and privileges. I recognize that there are institutionalized systems of power in place in our society which disproportionately privilege some groups over others, most especially as related to economic class. I support efforts to increase equality across the board. I work to continue to learn, and am exceedingly open to greater understanding of social issues. However, I refuse to go along with the concept that my gender identity is not only obsolete, but also the cause of the world’s ills, and I will speak out in opposition to that assertion.

My wife loves me for exactly those masculine qualities being decried. She’s a fiercely strong and amazingly smart woman whose respect I had to earn. My daughter tells me that I’m a role model to her of what a good man should be like, ESPECIALLY in reference to how I treat the women in my life. She’s a budding young feminist, and I support her in that like a good man should. The lessons I learned as part of my training in masculinity included respecting and protecting the women in your life. They also included the honor associated with shouldering the burden of the provider role, and the self respect inherent in being a man of your word who meets your responsibilities.

I’m a “man of my word”. Hell, even that phrase might be construed as sexist now.

I expect I’ll be shredded by some folks for this post, and I don’t even care. I’ll still support equality, I’ll still encourage my daughter in her feminist education, and I’ll still be a manly man, burps, farts, hair and all. And most importantly I’ll raise my son to be a manly man, like his father, and his father before him. I’ll teach him the honor of providing and care giving, the duty to protect, the joy of responsibility. No matter what the genderist pundits say, I will not only revel in my masculinity, I will pass it on to the next generation.

I am a manly man, and I am NOT sorry for it.

Leave a comment

13 Comments

  1. So all the things you mention are great for you, but why the need to tie them all to your gender identity. Responsibility, respect, and protecting are all great things for someone to be doing no matter what their gender is. Doing these things make you a good person in general. Being outdoorsy is also great and awesome, but similarly, implying that men who aren’t outdoorsy aren’t manly is unnecessarily exclusive. Likewise, being attracted to women isn’t so much tied to your gender as your sexual orientation. Thinking women are sexy and liking boobs doesn’t make you a man, it makes you a person who finds women attractive, unless you mean to imply that all lesbians are innately manly? Gay men ought to be able to define themselves as manly too.

    All the things you are are great, but you’re the one choosing to tie them to your gender identity. There are plenty of people who consider themselves manly who share none of these traits with you, and it seems petty to argue over what makes a man manly or not.

    • All the things you are are great, but you’re the one choosing to tie them to your gender identity.

      If this was true, then the concept of a “manly man” would have no meaning, and yet it does. Your attempt to neuter them does not take away anything from the fact that the vast majority of the population instantly understands what I mean when I say “manly man”. Yes, much like the links at the beginning, there’s a vocal crowd trying to change that, but it doesn’t take away the cultural understanding of masculine tropes.

      • As someone who completely supports everything you said in your article, the concept of “manly man” actually doesn’t have any objective meaning. You are a manly man because you see yourself as one, and you decide to refer to yourself as a manly man. There are countless forms of manliness, old and new alike, positive and negative (and yours would definitely be positive).

        There is nothing “neutering” about a subjective phrase having no objective meaning. Everyone has the right to tie what they want to their gender identity. Every person gets to decide how to express their own masculinity or femininity. The issue is not that your idea of masculinity is being discriminated against, it’s that some people have prejudices about masculinity and that assume that someone who describes themselves as masculine, has negative attributes.

        For example, I could also describe myself as a manly man. I am traditionally a manly man, but in a different way. I like to dress up and wear suits. I am a man of science and I appreciate education and learning more than most things. I strive to make the world a better place for people and I try to be chivalrous to everyone (regardless of gender). When I see injustice, I speak up regardless of the consequences, and I train myself for such a situation all the time. I don’t really tie those attributes to my gender identity, but if I chose to, I could absolutely do it. Even though that idea of masculinity is not the same as yours. I don’t like fishing, I don’t like the idea of a 20th century man-as-breadwinner family, I don’t like most alcohol and I don’t like sports.

        Also, remember that anyone who chooses to “target” or “try to shred” you for the article, is not worth your time anyway.

        • “Manly man” is a trope being used here because it has a certain understood connotation, and because masculinity at large is what is being called out in the opening paragraph. I’m in agreement that people can interpret that differently, and that my specific interpretation is what I’m describing here. I don’t think you can separate it from gender identity when it is masculinity that is being focused on.

  2. Well said, sir! (applause!)

    As a (now, newly) feminine woman recovering from an “equality” (read: have-to-become-a-ballbuster-to-succeed) upbringing, it is nice to hear your manly man opinion. We need to bring the masculine/feminine polarity back into society and relationships, b/c while the women’s movement gained us lots of ground in so many areas of life, it eff’d up male/female relationships, in my opinion.

    Thanks! Sharing with my peeps too. :)

    • Thanks, Grace! There’s nothing inherently harmful in playing out roles supported by our biology, and that’s the core message here.

  3. Thank you for this writeup Mr Jenkins. I hadn’t heard of you before I saw this post. I’m not a very good writer, but you summed up my feelings on this matter very nicely. Thanks again!