Monday, June 16, 2008

Domestication, Feminization, Wussification Part I

Black Velvet Bruce Lee posted an interesting blog today titled Happy Metrosexual Fathers Day. The well read local blog engendered some interesting comments, most in support of a return to manhood and manliness. I offered my two cents worth:

"A question to the male readers of this blog:

When you were growing up, did you desire to one day be a pampered, nice, sensitive man? It’s doubtful.

"No. As a boy you longed for battles to fight, adventures to live, and a beauty to rescue. America has been feminized by popular culture, by political correctness, by televison, movies, and poor role models, and by the grossly imbalanced ratio between male and female educators in our schools. The “establishment” and the “experts” have been attempting for years to “domesticate” our boys, to make them more like girls. Instead, many an American male has been quietly “castrated.”

"I am not an any way denigrating female teachers. The vast majority work hard and do their best in the face of great and growing challenges. But because they are female, they represent only half of the adult role model for the boys under their tutelage. Without male educator counterparts, the boys suffer.

"Sadly, today’s male role models are fantasy superheroes, self-centered, overpaid atheletes, and rude, crude, and vulgar action heroes. Fewer and fewer young men have genuine fatherly figures to look up to, to emulate.

"A real man can be manly without crudeness. A real man can be gentle when necessary, but uncompromising and tough as nails when he knows he is in the right, when he is defending his family, his property, or his nation.

"We have lost a great deal of ground in the last forty years."
And then I remembered something I had written about eight years ago:

Manhood and Manliness

What is the difference between manhood and manliness? The following stories may help distinguish the two.

Manhood. Sometimes we can learn much about a subject by studying what it is not. Take for example Frank, a hard working, thirty-five year old. Recently married, Frank and his wife are expecting their first child. Not long ago, Frank decided to purchase a $35,000, top-of-the-line diesel pick-up truck. When questioned about his extravagance, Frank responded that now that he was starting a family, he wanted one last opportunity to spend some money on himself. When further questioned regarding his excitement at becoming a father, Frank offered a telling response:
“Well … I don’t know … there’s going to be so much change in my life. I’m going to have to give up so many of the things I’m used to having. My whole lifestyle is going to be different.”
Yes, marriage and family will change Frank’s lifestyle, his bank account and his whole outlook on life. But at the age of thirty-five, isn’t it about time for Frank to grow up?

Such is the essence of manhood—maturing, accepting responsibility, learning to place the needs of others above our own. Manhood involves self-sacrifice and accountability. Others are depending upon us, looking to us for their care and provision. We are leaders, if not yet in our communities and workplaces, then at least in our homes.

Christian manhood involves even more. Christ has become our standard. His lifestyle of purity and righteousness and serving others becomes our model. His example of the ultimate self-sacrifice becomes the basis for our conduct in the world.

What then is manliness? Another story may help elucidate.

Manliness. Tom and John own an excavation company. Running their business requires expertise in many areas. Not only are Tom and John skilled in construction, they also have to work up estimates, produce proposals, negotiate contracts, meet deadlines, manage their workers and their subcontractors and make certain that their invoices are paid on time.

Responsibilities sometimes create stress. Tom and John enjoy getting out in the field with their projects and workers. Tom particularly enjoys running his bulldozer, clearing the land of trees and scrub bushes and performing rough grading on the site. John finds pleasure in working the backhoe, digging trenches and laying pipe.

Bulldozers, backhoes, front-end loaders, generators, earth-movers, cranes and other heavy equipment are manly things. On Tim Allen’s popular television show, Home Improvement, tools and equipment take center stage. Tim “the tool man” Taylor appeals to such a broad audience because he has cleverly touched the very heart of manliness.

As homeowners, few joys compare with planning and building improvements to our homes and property. A home addition or renovation, a new deck or patio, a paint job, or even a freshly cut lawn brings untold satisfaction to the manly part of us.

God understands manly nature. After all, He created us men. Here’s what He said to the prophet Jeremiah:

“See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jer. 1:10)
Jeremiah’s mission from God consisted of two essential components:
  • Demolition and uprooting. Men delight when a wrecking ball smashes an old building into rubble or when a lumberjack hollers “timber,” signifying a crashing tree. We like explosions. And we enjoy turning over the soil in our gardens.
  • Building and planting. Men’s chests puff out just a little when they enter the basement of a newly constructed home and inspect the floor joists and bracing. “I would have preferred 2 x 10 fir myself.” Men stop and peer through knotholes at building construction sites. “What’s going on down there? Are they pouring footers, pilings? Is that foundation going to be deep enough?” Many men also take great pride in planting trees and shrubs and even flowers.

Yeah, this is real man stuff. I'll post more tomorrow.

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At 6:10 AM, Blogger John said...

Nicely stated. I'm not much with power tools and stuff, but I do like using them! :>)


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