Maintaining Manhood

“Toxic masculinity” seems to be the new way to describe the behavior of males when they do something unacceptable, and the governor of California even said it was the cause of recent mass shootings.

Upon hearing that, I recalled an article I had read in Touchstone entitled “Manhood Is Not Natural.” Some final thoughts in the article include this: “True masculinity is not and cannot ever be toxic. Masculinity is a personal and social virtue. Those who use the word ‘toxic’ are confusing masculine with macho and male pathology.” The thesis of the article can be summarized by the following quotes.

“Womanhood is a natural phenomenon. A female’s biological make-up usually ensures that she will grow into a healthy woman. Leave her to herself, and she is much more likely than her male peers to move into mature adulthood. It’s why the phrases ‘Woman up,’ ‘Be a woman,’ or ‘Make a woman out of her’ don’t exist.”

“The opposite is true of manhood. Manhood is not natural. It must be socially constructed. Unlike a woman, a man has no civilized role or agenda inscribed in his body. The boy has no onboard GPS directing him toward his future. His manhood does not exist within himself, as womanhood does in a girl.”

“His movement into manhood can only come into being if he has a pilot, a director, to guide him toward that destination. Doing this is the significant, intentional work of older men around him, starting with his father. As a behavior and a status, manhood must be learned, earned, demonstrated, and proven by the growing boy over the years. As an identity, manhood must be bestowed by a boy’s father and the community’s larger fraternity of men. His mother can only affirm it. She cannot bequeath it.”

“Manhood is not a status to be achieved, but a reputation to be maintained, for one can lose it at any time. The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship lost his in an instant. Yes, maleness just happens. Manhood does not and cannot. The first is a biological event. The second is a carefully developed character quality.”

May God help us raise up a generation of real men.

God Bless, Rick

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