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.
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.