Where are the Men?
So much happening these days. The abortion debate is raging on, violence in the streets, addiction, anger, hatred, unwed mothers by the thousands, fatherless children; even shortages in the skilled trades arena.
But there’s good news!
As I’ve sorted each one of these issues over the past several months they all eventually end up at a lack of authentic masculinity.
Now, you won’t hear that often from politicians or the mainstream media, it’s too complex an issue for the soundbite world we live in. You aren’t likely to really hear about it from much of anywhere…and for much the same reason.
It’s easier to blame other things.
But let’s take a look at the reality for a moment. The 1960s is when the “war on masculinity” really ramped up. Men were hearing more and more that they weren’t needed. This became epidemic in the 1970s. This parallels when feminism changed from about equality to about crushing the opposite sex.
My generation (GenX) watched our parents divorce at record rates. Many of us were left to our own devices from a very early age. I mean…mom had to work and dad wasn’t around. As my generation grew into adolescence we had fewer and fewer male role models. We had no one deliberately teaching what it meant to be a man.
We rolled through the 1980s with so-called psychologists making claims that normal boy behavior was bad…and to be controlled. The term “80s Man” became popular. That term meant a sensitive man. Today the extreme of this is called a “Beta”.
During this time, from the 1960s to late 80s, sexuality lost it’s intimacy. Free sex became the mantra of many. Legalized abortion and the propaganda that surround it further pushed the sex without consequences idea and many scrafed it up. And forget the religious implications. The psychological damage of multiple partners in a revolving door of causal sex does damage we’re still not fully aware of.
The 1990s and early 2000s saw a rise in violent video games as well. And the graphics became better and better..and more and more realistic. Kids way too young were able to act out violence in gorey detail for hours on end. This too is psychologically damaging; not to mention spiritually damning.
During the same time we see a rise in young kids being raised by parents that often were fatherless growing up. This is important because few understood how to be a mom or a dad because dad was gone (many times) and mom was working.
I can’t tell you the number of kids that don’t know how to do dishes, iron laundry, change a tire, etc. But they can work a 15 button game controller.
Part of that too is the pampering they received growing up. The “Everyone Gets a Trophy” mentality. I remember when my sons were very young and that happened at a few sporting events. I was horrified. And in early soccer they don’t even keep score. This breeds entitlement. This creates a psyche that assumes one deserves everything one wants just for asking.
And it’s dangerous.
So here we are. We have boys today that have natural male and developmental tendencies. And they’re either being ignored or shamed or denied. And boys are turning to other things besides authentic masculine pursuits to find some sort of validation.
Many didn’t have the opportunity to bond with their mother properly and weren’t taught how to treat a woman by dad. But sex is easy and accessibly and everywhere. And so they have it, and often. At some point and on some level they realize that the momentary intimacy is fleeting and not real. But they’re stuck in a loop. And they see very little evidence of true intimacy…though on some level they know it exists.
Violence is another big one. Who are they young men and boys that are shooting up schools and malls and subways? They are mentally unstable and emotionally stunted. Many have diagnosable psychological disorders. Many just have pent up rage and deep toxic shame just for being a male.
The images and messages from many forms of media decrys their very existence. And the heroes of the movies are incredibly violent…but in a good way. There’s no dad around to help them hold the line between reality and fiction.
And then there’s addiction. The pharmaceutical industry has an incredibly strong grip on our country right now. Opiates are killing tens of thousands every year. And it’s getting worse. The number of opiate deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2020 with over 68,000 deaths in 2020.
When pain is ever-present and anxiety exacerbated by the 24/7 bombardment of all things wrong in the world, people look for an out. They look for a way to numb the pain. Opiates do just that and are readily available. And that’s not to mention the meteoric rise in other drugs abused.
And all of this can be traced in part to the collapse of the family and the absence of authentic masculinity.
Why do you think the Western is making such a strong comeback as an art form? Shows like “Yellowstone” come to mind. Its the same reason suburban kids shop at Tractor Supply. It’s the same reason trucks that never leave the pavement are modified to look as though they’re ready for a zombie apocalypse. And it’s the same reason that rap, with it’s violence and sex and drugs, has replaced hard rock as the prefered music of adolescent boys.
Why is cage fighting so popular? To me it’s a sanctioned street fight. It’s wanton violence that’s barely contained. But why has it taken over the gentleman’s sport, boxing?
They have no sense of self, no understanding of their place in the world and close to no understanding of authentic masculinity.
But there is hope.
Men need to step up. Maybe you’re doing OK with your kids..or you did OK. If you did, you’re definitely needed. Mentors and leaders and volunteers. Teach a young man how to shake hands, tie a tie or change a tire.
Teach boys about honor and respect. Give them the truth on how to treat a woman and respect her glorious differences. And teach them to respect the union of a man and woman.
Teach them violence is a last resort. And, if employed, that it is used with restraint.
Many young men today didn’t have the benefit of a dad around to teach them how to be an authentic man. Many boys currently don’t have that either. But there are millions of us that can step up and fill in those voids.
It won’t solve our problems overnight. And it won’t solve all of our problems. But it will change much and change it for the better. And it will take time, strength, patience and endurance.
Are you ready for the journey?
Published on: August 2, 2022