The Myth of Modern Masculinity

Let’s assume that we understand what a “man” is. If using the word to describe those who XY chromosomes offends you, then go ahead and stop reading. This is not a critique of transgenderism or the social construction of masculinity. This is a critique of Christian heteronormative masculinity as it relates to the 21st century.

Men. What has happened to us?

In the home, the workplace, the education system, and churches, men have become the subservient ones. We have become submissive. Chivalry is not dead, but it has been distorted and denigrated. There are many of us who still wish to open doors for ladies and pay for meals. However, we also capitulate to women with regard to finances, discipline of our children, and making sure everyone is ready for church on Sunday mornings.

We have mistaken showing love for giving up our leadership roles.

We fear being labeled a sexist at work, so we allow women to take promotions away from us. We fear being seen as oppressive in the home, so we hand total control of our children to our wives. Why are we so afraid to take control of what God has commanded us to do?

Society has become an emasculating force the likes of which have never been seen. While simultaneously being slammed for our privileged position in a “patriarchy” (a fancy term that is never truly understood by those who use it), the ham-handed media forces television shows and films featuring “strong” women down our gullets. Sometimes these women are business leaders. Other times they are supposed to be physically dangerous heroines that save the day through martial arts or expert weapon usage. Reality does not reflect these vain imaginations, but the idea is to brainwash us into thinking it not only possible, but normal.

It is not. Nor should it be.

Of course, this is not an excuse for men to belittle women. Just because God commanded women to be subservient to their husbands, we do not get to treat women like second class citizens. In fact, God commanded men to LOVE their wives. We don’t love our slaves or servants. We love ourselves, do we not? We should love women with as much vigor as we love ourselves.

How is it possible to do this in today’s effeminate society without compromising our strength and leadership?

  1. We should not compromise our competitive nature for anyone, but we should show everyone compassionate sportsmanship. Win with grace. Lose with dignity. This can be at work, where you fight hard for that promotion, but don’t be dirty about it. Earn it. If you are rewarded, avoid rubbing others’ faces in it. If you are passed up, congratulate the victor. If your main competition is a woman, admire her drive, but do not capitulate. If your new boss just happens to be a woman, treat them with the respect that the POSITION requires.
  2. Make sure to have the final word at home. Many men operate under the “doctrine of separate spheres.” That is, the woman’s sphere is the home and the men’s sphere is outside the home; never the twain shall meet. It is a bit old fashioned, but there is some merit there. Sure, some men end up being stay-at-home dads, but even those who are the breadwinners should know what is happening inside their houses. Regardless of how busy you believe you are, you can still do a budget and help raise your children.

The one of the top cited reasons for divorce is money (along with poor communication). The Bible says “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Thus, finances are clearly important. A true leader understands that they should be in charge of the most important things in any relationship. So you, as the leader of your home, must handle the budget.

There is a ton of research out there that shows that the best thing that can happen to a child is to be raised in a two parent household where they are both loved and disciplined. Moms should never be responsible for doing both while dad coldly closes off his relationship with the child. Mothers are naturally nurturing (sorry, social justice warriors). Men are also naturally dominant (sorry, feminists). Men are physiologically more intimidating. We tend to be larger and have deeper voices. This is a great tool for disciplining a child. In a two-parent home, it allows a “good cop-bad cop” game. Accept it, and use it.

I would like to give a special shout-out to the single parents who must play both roles. Your task is that much more difficult; but should you find a suitable spouse after raising kids alone, allow your new mate to step into the proper role. Men, allow your new wife to love and care for your children. Women, allow your new husband to do the budget and discipline your children. It is always scary to give up power to another, but that is the essence of marriage.

  1. Be the spiritual leader in your home. Men should be the ones who make sure everyone knows that the family is going to church in the morning. Men should be the ones to suggest prayer at the dining room table and before bedtime. Men should be the ones who step into leadership roles at the church. I believe this is where we, as society, are lacking the most. There is a shortage of strong, spiritual men.

We sleep in because of a massive hangover. We stay home to watch football. We once again give our wives complete control over the children, so that mom ends up leading prayer. We fail to study God’s word, and those of us who do often do it so privately that our wives and kids do not see us doing it.

Most importantly, we do not live a spiritual life. Our kids know when we have a cigarette or a shot of whiskey. They copy our language when we cuss out a telemarketer. They mimic to others our tone when we constantly shout. They may eventually find our stash of pornography or overhear a conversation when we talk bad about our pastors. We must take responsibility for our actions, and understand that we are role models for others — whether we want to be or not.

Our number one role model for masculinity is Jesus Christ. He was a strong, spiritual leader. He inspired multitudes of followers. He also expressed his love in a plethora of ways from constant companionship to dying for us. He respected even the lowest on the social acceptability ladder and treated everyone like they were worthy of his time.

If men in our society were to implement compassion with unfettered leadership as Christ did, all of us would be better off. Rather than choosing one path or the other, we need to be more complete. We are not only made in Christ’s image, but we can do all things through him.

At the very least, just try to be a better human being.

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All Things Being [un]Equal

“Women are better than men,” declared heartthrob Ryan Gosling. This statement has, for whatever reason, began trending across multiple social media platforms and have feminists of all walks cheering with glee as a young, attractive man decided to tear other men down so that women can stand tall on the pedestals of power.

The unwed father of two young girls has decided that men have had their day, and now that women are “stronger” and “more evolved” than men, the reigns of society should be handed over to the females. Apparently, Mr. Gosling believes that men should not only accept this transition, but should do so willingly because we deserve to be treated as unequal.

Not all of us will do so; nor should we.

I understand that feminists had the “separate, but equal” mentality, but there is truth to the idea. No, I do not subscribe to the doctrine of separate spheres—in which the home is a woman’s domain, and everywhere else is the man’s—but true equality begins when we understand that we have differences.

Men are biologically larger, stronger, and more physical. Whether by evolution or design, men are made for hard, physical labor. Not all men are larger than all women, but the general rule applies.

Women are biologically more capable of nurturing, which actually begins in-utero. It is the mother’s body that provides nourishment for a developing baby in the womb. It is the mother’s milk that nourishes the child after he/she is born. The intimacy of breastfeeding simply cannot be replicated by men.

There you have it. It is biology. It is science. It is nature that men are physical and women are nurturing. This also does not mean that either sex is “better” than the other.

Sure, men are better at certain things, but women are better at other things. Some women are better than some men at athletics, and some men are better than some women at raising a child. Just because there are exceptions, does not make the rule any less true.

In our “all or nothing” society, we tend to forget that even nature accounts for anomalies.

There is also the concept of intersectionality that we must consider. This idea basically boils down to “not all women” or “not all whites.” The experiences of women vary based on other characteristics, such as beauty, race, sexuality, or social class.

A gay black woman from the middle class has different experiences than a straight black woman from the lower class. A white lesbian schoolteacher has different experiences than a white lesbian business owner.

This is the problem with stereotypes—there are over six billion unique individuals with experiences that are not perfectly shared with anyone else. Thus, to say that half of those people are “better” than the other half—whichever side you choose—is ignorant and dangerous.

Moreover, to say that men deserve to be taken down a few notches as some sort of repayment of past ancestral patriarchy is just plain stupid. That’s like saying that white people should be slaves because our ancestors were on the other side of the experience.

Whatever you believe about patriarchy and “white privilege,” I think that the best way to have an egalitarian society is not to bring one side down to meet the other, but to bring both sides UP. Rather than berating masculinity, we should elevate femininity. Rather than firing white men from positions of power, we should create more positions for women and people of color.

We should also understand that it is our differences that make modern society function. This is the crux of Emile Durkheim’s concept of Organic Solidarity. Not everyone can be a mechanic, plumber, professional athlete, and CEO of a tech company. It is the specialization of society that allows us to worry about being good at a few things, rather than being competent in all.

The same logic can be applied to this seeming conflict between men and women. We do not, and should not have to be “better” at all things. It is okay to specialize. As a matter of fact, it is BETTER so specialize. Some men want to stay at home with their kids. Some women want to be a CEO. That is perfectly fine! It is also fine for a woman to want to stay at home while the husband works.

It does not matter whether the couple is straight, gay, lesbian, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, mixed race, polyamorous, monogamous, polygamous, married, co-habitating, dating, rich, poor, etc. ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE DIFFERENT…but equal.

The Reality of Transgender Children

What would you do if your child was confused about their gender identity?

This was a question posed to a group of college students, and I found their responses to be quite interesting. Answers ranged from “I don’t know” to “I would love them no matter what,” which is quite refreshing. Some of the more compelling arguments were about the nature vs. nurture controversy that continues to rage in both biology and sociology.

The question becomes even more complex when the concept of “intersex” comes into the equation. For those who do not know, intersex is a hermaphroditic condition in which a baby is born with traces of both male and female genitalia and chromosomes.

In the past, doctors have taken it upon themselves to assign a sex to the baby through surgical procedures, but controversy has been brewing as many of these children grow up identifying with the opposite gender from what they were assigned. Most do not even know that they were intersex until later in life. A movement has been gaining traction that supports NOT going through with such a surgery and allowing the individual to make their own decisions later on in life—this is a position that I certainly find to be reasonable.

That being said, some non-intersex children have begun to show transgender patterns from a very early age. So the question, restated, is what would you do if your 8 year old boy decided to play with girl toys, grow their hair long, and wear dresses? We have fairly limited options.

  1. Would you ignore or steer them away from such behavior? For many people, this is a valid response. We take away Barbie and put GI Joe in their hands. We give them trucks and make them watch action movies. We buy them footballs and make sure they are wearing your team’s jersey. We believe it to be a phase, and something that we, as parents, can control. We have final say over the life of an 8 year old. If we can teach them math and science, then we can teach gender norms, right?

Except that there is a danger that our child will not pass out of the phase. In that case, we spent many of their formative years telling them that their interests are wrong. We tell them that we do not actually approve of, let alone appreciate who they are. We run the risk of creating a rift between us and our child that can have lasting repercussions.

  1. Would you totally buy into the lifestyle? This is another popular and valid response. We buy dresses, Barbies, and makeup for them. We let them watch My Little Pony and Tinkerbell. We tell them that we love them and give them free reign in their decisions. Some parents, and these are extreme cases, actually give their children hormones that will make their identities more permanent. We want our children to be happy, so we are fine with leaving them to their own devices, right?

Except that there is yet another danger that this actually IS a phase. For those parents who feed their kids hormones and prepare for gender reassignment surgery, there is the possibility that later in life those kids will regret the decisions they made as a child. There is also a risk that our children will be picked on, bullied, and shamed for going against the norm. Violence against trans teenagers, both external and self-inflicted, is an epidemic in the community. There is a real danger in embracing our differences.

This dilemma is even more complicated for Christian parents. We believe that God created us, yet we also believe that engaging in homosexual or transgender behavior is a sin. How could God create a boy who wants to be a girl? Did He make a mistake?

I would argue, and this is NOT going to be a popular view, that deviance such as this may be 1. An anomaly and/or 2. A mental disorder.

The percentage of transgendered Americans currently sits at about .3% of the population. When 99.7% of a population of ANYTHING conforms to a norm, then that minor population is, by definition, an anomaly. Trans is deviant.

Many mental problems happen by chromosomal imbalances in the womb, by some sort of trauma, or through socialization. Many of the LGBT people I know were sexually abused at some point in their lives.

Moreover, there are similar cases to that of transgender. Trans-able occurs when someone with a healthy body believes that they are handicapped. Some even go as far as to have their limbs severed in order to better fit with their own body image. Is that really any different than wanting to cut off a penis in order to conform to a gendered body identity?

If being transgender is a form of body dysmorphia, is it a form of child abuse to encourage it? Should we let it go untreated? We would step in if our child was anorexic, right?

I also find it interesting how similar the conversations about a transgender child are to conversations about a kid who is autistic or has Down’s Syndrome.

I am not comparing the two issues, only our responses to those issues.

I know several parents of special needs children. From the outside looking in, we ask ourselves what we would do if our child has special needs. We wonder if we could handle the difficulty of intensive special treatment and care of that child. Most special needs kids just want to be treated normally, but we know that other kids will not understand their condition. We know that other children can be mean and may even bully them.

However, if you ask ANY parent of a special needs child, they will tell you the same thing. They love their kids unconditionally, and often learn about themselves through dealing with their children.

So what would you do if your child was showing transgender traits?

If they were born intersex, they may only be trans based on the gender choices that YOU made for them at birth.

If they are just going through a phase, we must be cautious about the ramifications of our responses to their behavior. We may actually get in the way of a natural self-identification process that could lead to suicide.

If they are truly transgender, we may just have to love them unconditionally and hope for the best. However, our religious and traditional beliefs have been challenged and that creates massive cognitive dissonance.

What would you do?

How Do You Gender?

Operational Definitions:

Sex is biological. This is your DNA, your genitalia, and any physiological marker of male and female.

Gender is socially constructed (Berger 1967). This is a fluid construct that can change over time and context. It is your behavior at any given moment. A century ago, it was proper for a “man” to sit on the lap or even hold the hand of his best guy friend. Nowadays—not so much. This is how society views us.

Gender identity is personal. This is how a person identifies, regardless of their biological makeup. A person can be a biological woman, be viewed by society as female, but identify as a male.

Cisgender is when gender and identity align. Transgender is when they deviate from one another.

Gender in Society

There you have it. When you see the word “gender” in the media, they are not interpreting it the same way that most people do. They are referring to a social construct, rather than biology. This is a very important distinction. To not be able to grasp this very basic tenet is to misconstrue the totality of the situation.

With the “coming out” of newly transgender spokesperson, Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner, the removal of gender labels from Target toy and bedding sections, and a push to make more gender neutral restrooms available to the public; the average person may feel bombarded with the feeling that their typically adhered to social norms are being attacked. This is because they are.

Academia is producing a generation of students that are taught, at length, to challenge our deeply held social norms. Our professors are often radical extremist leftists. Even when they attempt to remain unbiased, the subjects of our classes are not biased. These students leave our Universities and take positions at other schools, in government institutions, and in the media. They have infiltrated every avenue for how we receive information.

Arguments against Gender

Gender is but one target (pun intended), and society has yet to see the fruits of this philosophy come to fruition. Here are three arguments that support why conventional gender is under attack.

  1. Gender is fluid. Definitions of masculinity and femininity change over time, therefore, society can change gender to fit their own definitions.
  2. Gender is not binary. None of us are entirely masculine or entirely feminine. Therefore, to judge all people by one of these two terms causes stress and anxiety when proper conformation does not occur. Furthermore, intersex individuals (those born with biological male and female parts) do not fit comfortably into either gender norm.
  3. Gender is oppressive. Throughout human history, we have oppressed people based on their gender. Women have always been second-class citizens, and feminine men are shamed into conformity or treated the same as women.

The extremists that are pushing this agenda do not want to install gender neutral restrooms and remove labels in stores. They want to totally disrupt any conventional understanding of gender. They want this because they truly believe it will end gender based oppression. There will be “equal pay for equal work”, the removal of the “separate spheres” of the feminine home and masculine workplace, and acceptance of marginalized groups like transgender and homosexual people.

In order for this complete equality to take place, the entire concept of gender must be eradicated. The only thing remaining will be biological sex, and gender identity, and it is the identity that society should use with respect to individuals. Without gender oppression, a person can identify in whichever way they choose without fear of social consequences.

The same logic applies with race and sexuality. Both are social constructions, and we need to eliminate those constructs in order to reach a more equal society. Notice how traditional views of these topics are also under attack? I will post more on these later, but I want you think of them as fractions of an entire movement bent on reshaping society into an amorphous blob of equal members.

This is the goal of social engineers. The postmodern turn has put emphasis on the fragmentations of society, thus each fragment must be “fixed” and placed together neatly in order to reform social order. We are like a puzzle in disarray.

Social scientists talk about “doing gender” (West and Zimmerman 1987) so that our biology has no significance to our behavior. We act out gender roles like a stage performance (Goffman 1959). Our front stage behavior, the actions that are visible to the audience, is gender. The back stage, however, may be our identity. In order to achieve true homogeneity between our representations of self, the front and back stage need to align. With stigma attached to transgender people, the stages do not align causing the actor anguish and inner turmoil.

They argue that in order for all people to feel included and de-stigmatized, we need to neutralize gender in all public settings. As a community of androgynous people, we would eliminate otherwise oppressive views of gender. There would no longer be the need to define feminine as opposition to masculine, but the two would be pieces of the puzzle that neatly fit together.

How Does Gender Occur?

The argument would be that we are born a blank slate, much like John Locke theorized. Therefore, any additional trait other those passed through genetics must be learned. From the moment of birth, the baby is assigned a gender. They are labeled “boy” or “girl” and given appropriate masculine or feminine names. A baby girl is typically adorned with pink clothing and baby dolls. A boy is dressed in blue and plays with trucks, soldiers, and weapons. As they begin to gain a conception of self, they have already been indoctrinated with gender norms. This is why we confuse nature with nurture. It happens from so early, that we assume certain behavior to be natural.

As the child ages, more gender norms become understood. They begin to identify with the parent that shares their gender. Girls want to be like mommy, and they imitate mommy’s customs. They wear dresses, grow their hair long, etc. This often occurs during the play stage (Mead 1934) where children first learn to imitate the “other” and reinforce their behavior through playing.

The child enters school where they encounter other same gendered children and reinforce norms. They realize that any deviation of the norms results in shaming rituals intended to keep them in their place.

As adults, those struggling with the cisgender mentality may begin a second life of dressing in drag. Others opt to go through the process of hormone replacement and surgery to fulfill their desire to “become” the gender that they identify as.

Other adults take to shaming those that are different. The stigma of being transgender is enough to keep many of them silent and unhappy. Cisgender adults eventually have children of their own, and perpetuate gender norms during child rearing and the cycle continues.

Conclusion

This is a very, very short synopsis of a much larger argument. It is almost impossible to condense hundreds of writings into a few hundred words. However, I believe that anyone reading this can gain insight into the world of social construction.

I cannot stress enough the importance of this concept. The media has only scratched the surface of the depths of postmodern deconstruction. Please understand that this is being taught in our Universities to those of us who are most likely to go into the world and affect social change. These are the views held by the media reporting on stories that you read. These are the views held by the Congress that writes laws. These are the views held by judges who rule on cases of discrimination. These are the views of the President of the United States—the most powerful man on the planet.

And this is just the beginning.

Works Cited

Berger, Peter and Thomas Luckman. 1967. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Goffman, Erving. 1959. The Presentation of Everyday Life. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press.

Mead, George Herbert. 1934. Mind, Self, and Society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

West, Candace and Don H. Zimmerman. 1987. “Doing Gender.” Gender and Society. 1(2): 125-151.