Is Masculinity “Toxic”?

We have seen an endless parade of deviants being outed in Hollywood and government. This draining of the swamp is long overdue and hopefully marks permanent change, but in-depth discussion is still lacking. What follows are some reflections on what has been unfolding in the media.

The “deviant of the day” in the media has been more than troubling on its own. The part that people have quickly forgotten is that the behavior of many of these people was an “open secret” — an oxymoron if there ever was one. Even to the point that jokes were made on television shows. The lurid history of politicians was no secret either.

Yet for years, people laughed and looked the other way. There should be moral outrage of this, but there has been little.

While the swamp is draining, the dropping water has revealed a festering cancer underneath. A cancer of bankrupt mindsets and philosophies in which people don’t think twice on the nature of their behavior. When these people find themselves in a position of power, are the results shocking?

Indicative of this are some of the responses of those who were outed for their abuse of women. Richard Dreyfuss blamed other men when he was taken to task for past actions. One of his statements went like this: “Since then I have had to redefine what it means to be a man, and an ethical man. I think every man on Earth has or will have to grapple with this question.”

No, not “every man.” Many, if not most men, are raised to be “an ethical man” and know “what it means to be a man.”

Including taking responsibility and not blaming others.

Denise C. McAllister has a warning for men and women:

While women’s willingness to hold men accountable for criminal sexual behavior is to be applauded, the scorched-earth approach we are seeing today is destructive because it undermines trust.

She’s speaking to those who want to blame all men, or denounce masculinity as being “vile, toxic, and inherently predatorial.”

It is none of those things. Because some men in power, and some who are not, use their position to abuse (or worse) women (and men), doesn’t not mean they are the representation of masculinity. This is the fallacy of equivocation at its worst.

Masculinity is the complement of femininity. These are part of the DNA — the design inherent — of men and women. Both can be abused or misused, but neither are evil or defective.

This is our biology. It is who we are.

Denise C. McAllister writes that this natural truth is an inseparable part of humanity:

Whether it’s in the workplace, church, or home, the interaction between a man and a woman is unique…

Essential to the relationship between men and women is the sexual dynamic. For trust to flourish, this reality can’t denied, and it must be handled with respect, care, and honesty. It can’t be shut down. It can’t be abused, and one part of the polarity — whether it’s masculine or feminine — cannot be labeled toxic, brutal, or evil…

If women believe that all men with their masculine sexuality intact are dangerous, there can be no trust between the sexes…

The sexual tension between men and women will always exist, and if women assume a man’s sexuality is a threat instead of a powerful complement to their own sexuality, they will always be on guard. In this environment of suspicion, there can be no privacy between a man and a woman. If there is any kind of interaction or discourse, even if it’s not sexual, the man can’t trust that the woman won’t use it against him — so communication is silenced. Fear is generated on both sides, and fear is the death of trust. It is also the death of love.

The design of humans is ingenious and unique, to say the least. John Eldredge writes in Wild at Heart on the merging of the two:

The beauty of a woman arouses a man to play the man; the strength of a man, offered tenderly to his woman, allows her to be beautiful, it brings life to her and to many.

“Beauty” here doesn’t only refer to physical beauty, it goes much deeper than that. But let’s not pretend the latter doesn’t exist, or plays no role. Sure, it’s often abused, but that doesn’t override the truth of biological design that no other life-form approaches. Because some make a living on Instagram by leaving little to imagination, and others believe they should shun their humanity, doesn’t release the rest of us from making intellectual distinctions.

Even though masculinity and femininity complement each other, they fuse the best not with passivity, but dynamic interaction. Eldredge discusses men who:

…want the maiden without any sort of the cost to themselves. They want all the joys of the beauty without any of the woes of the battle…He offers nothing and takes everything.

This isn’t a one-sided story, however. Much of the same could be said about women. I know, women don’t need a man, they don’t need to be pursued, but why do they respond the way they do when they are pursued for the right (or wrong) reasons? Why are the masculine traits attractive even when maddening, just as femininity attracts men even when mystifying?

Because we are wired like this deep into our minds, our biology, and our souls. Men and women are different. Uniquely different in their masculine and feminine traits. We are free to deny all of this, but that only invites confusion.

Don’t let the deviants of society or social forces redefine men and women. Biology always wins in the end, but it’s more than that. When we embrace who we are — equal in many ways, different in many others — then we can achieve one of the primary purposes of our story.

Finding love that even biology cannot explain.

Categories: Critical Thinking, Nature | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Is Masculinity “Toxic”?

  1. A thought-provoking and well written post. I particularly appreciated your quotations from Eldredge’s book, WILD AT HEART.


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