“Toxic masculinity,” a term that dominated last year’s news cycle, is still taking its share of the limelight—and not in a good way.
Unfortunately, there were two shootings in August, and in the wake of yet another debate about gun control, there’s also another nearly universal observation from much of the media and the left: The implication, even if it isn’t spelled out, is that men are the problem (along with guns).
However, statistics show that masculinity hasn’t failed society. In fact, men and women often agree masculinity is necessary, so why are boys being vilified, even as we admit we need real men?
From a young age, boys perform worse in school than girls do and, as a U.S. News and World Report article stated, “bear the brunt of school discipline.” Regardless of the fact that public education was often designed with a bias for girls and fails to correctly identify how boys differ from girls and that their education should reflect those differences, this reverse sexism continues into college now.
In the spring, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, hosted “Exploring Masculinities,” a program that hoped to show students how to “reimagine manhood through different cultures, perspectives, and experiences.” The university’s Miami Masculinities Committee aims to help men express their masculine traits in a healthy way.
In a recent piece on this topic, Miranda Devine, a columnist at the New York Post, wrote, “This demonization of intrinsic maleness is part of a feminist movement to rewrite human history as the tale of tyrannical patriarchy. It quickly mutated out of the #MeToo campaign, which began as a reasonable get-square with powerful men who preyed on women but since has taken on a frighteningly punitive air.”
Indeed, Gillette, maker of razors, released an ad earlier this year that all but impugned men for failing to be fast enough, helpful enough, masculine enough, or just plain man enough. It drew praise from feminists and criticism from conservatives. Gillette’s parent company reported a net $5 billion loss this quarter—whether that’s directly related to the controversial ad is uncertain.
It’s not hard to identify where the attack on men is coming from and why. In hashtags on social media such as #EqualityCantWait, the feminist movement pushes ever forward with the idea that men and women are equal in value, yet fail to receive equal pay, equal benefits, equal opportunities, and even equality under the law. This isn’t only a conglomerate of straw men, it’s also even more ironic when compared to statistics about how men and women view men.
Pew Research reports that a 2017 survey on men shows something very different from what feminists, advertisements, and schools portray about perception.
Over half of the Americans (53 percent) surveyed “say most people in our society these days look up to men who are manly or masculine”—women do so by a significant margin over men (62 percent versus 43 percent). Democrats are actually more likely than Republicans (58 percent versus 47 percent) to hold this view.
Turns out, both sexes think it’s actually a good thing to view men with positivity, despite the concerns about “toxic masculinity.”
“About two-thirds of men who say society looks up to masculine men (68 percent) say this is a good thing; a narrower majority of women (56 percent) say the same,” Pew Research reports.
So if men and women, Democrats and Republicans, value masculinity, why are we as a society vilifying young boys, even as we claim to value good, strong men?
The feminist movement is smaller than it believes itself to be, but it’s loud—and often misinformed. If men and women of both ideological groups value men and know they’re good for society, they need to learn to stand up to the vilification of young boys in school, ads, in college, and even following shootings.
It’s not enough to say we value men; we must act like it. Boys will become men when they see men and women, conservatives and liberals, value their differences and contributions to society. Until then, they’ll fall into the trap of misbehaving in school, engaging in petty crime, and generally feeling as if they are unworthy of praise and attention.
Nicole Russell is a freelance writer and mother of four. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Politico, The Daily Beast, and The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @russell_nm.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.