By Yvonne Sam
Social and Political Commentator
A rising tide of books, blogs, lectures, social media posts and magazine articles all point to the growing unmanliness, and whiny immaturity of contemporary males. More and more males (men) are seen as fearful, weak, indecisive, effeminate, childish, inept creatures, no longer sure of their proper role in society. Terms such as wuss, sissy, snowflakes, and others not suitable for print, are terms we hear used to describe men, especially younger men. While this new model of maleness can be charged to men of all ages, the presenting evidence shows it is especially predominant among men in their 20’s and 30’s.
On a brief biblical diversion, let us take note of passages that bear on masculinity. King David, of ancient Israel, demonstrated aspects of the character and values of maleness that God values. God refers to David as “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). On his deathbed David instructed his son, Solomon, who would be the next king, to:be strong and show yourself a man (1 Kings 2:2).
David’s life had been one of action, courage and boldness and he knew that his son should possess these same qualities, in order to effectively lead the nation. Sadly, today, males are a far cry from the biblical notion.
The decline of maleness is widespread. Popular culture derides the limp handshake, yet a recent study shows this to be a growing reality—millions of men being unable to get the grip on things that men once had. The results, published in The Journal of Hand Therapy, proclaimed that men’s hand strength has fallen, drastically, in decades. www.jhandtherapy.org/article/S0894-1130(15)00212-4/abstract
The study, conducted in North Carolina, of nearly 250 men from millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer generations, showed that hand strength, as measured by gripping force, has decreased, significantly, over the past 30years, as reported in the Waterloo Region Record on August 28, 2016. www.therecord.com/living-story/6828318-today-s-men-are-wimps-compared-to-their-dads-researchers-say/
The measurable lack of manliness continued with reports, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, of plummeting testosterone levels. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17062768
Further evidence, of the changing role of younger males, can be seen in the steadily declining enrollments of college-age males. Many sources verify, what many college instructors know — that males are avoiding the classroom.
While it is somewhat true that college is no longer seen as the sure thing to a successful career it once was, the converse also holds true: that a nation’s leaders tend to come from the ranks of the more highly educated.
What does this say then, about men’s roles, as leaders of the future?
Entertainment is also on the podium of blame, as over the last 40 years, there have been marked changes, regarding the portrayal of men in television and other media. Missing in action are rugged male roles, such as those portrayed in T.V Westerns (Gunsmoke, Bonanza), or portrayals of wise, caring, decisive fathers, popularized in the 1960’s television programs, such as Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver.
Regrettably, before the end of the 90’s, those manly types were replaced by softer, gentler types, or roles that depicted men, especially fathers, as lovable idiots, clumsy boneheads, who, without the input of their smart, efficient and decisive wives, would unleash catastrophe in their own household. The watchword was sensitivity — out the door was John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.
Society is influenced by television and, who knows to what extent various popular programs provided role models for today’s younger men. The question is, at minimum, worth a ponder.
Next up for shame and blame is the issue of gender neutrality. One of our currently insidious evils is the widespread and tightly held belief in education, that there are no marked differences in the mental and emotional make up of boys and girls. This falsehood has been devoured hook, line and sinker by modern education.
Today in most school systems, boys are subjected to brainwashing that commences as early as kindergarten, that they should be more like girls and vice versa. Author, Christina Sommers, in the most recent edition of her book, The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Young Men, discusses how the myth of gender sameness works to methodically deny males the help they need, to advance in an educational culture that is increasingly stacked against them.
To address the problem, the truth must be acknowledged: boys and girls are different. In many educational and government circles it remains taboo, to, at least, broach the topic of sex differences. Gender scholars and experts still stand their ground that the sexes are the same, and further contend that any talk of difference only encourages sexism and stereotypes.
Some carry this attitude to absurdly ridiculous lengths; for example, the state of Wisconsin has a new law that seeks to indoctrinate kindergarten age boys about the dangers of toxic masculinity. Boys are taught that there are no existing differences between the sexes, and that what is of utmost importance is sensitivity training and a greater appreciation of the feminine side of life. www.campusreform.org/?ID=10966
In schools everywhere across the nation, boys are taught that feelings of aggressiveness, assertiveness and decisiveness are all wrong.
Even the “Good Book” is crammed with examples of men who lived masculine lives. While a mere teenager, David was not afraid to take on Goliath, the giant. Was Jesus acting overly masculine when he overturned the tables of the money changers and drove them out of the temple? There are many today who would say that He was definitely in need of serious sensitivity training.
It is apparent that the war against males is now far advanced and that the forces promoting it are close to declaring victory. Nowhere, not even in the “Good Book”, filled with instructions for life’s survival, can support be found for the widespread, modern belief that men need to be softer, more effeminate and more in touch with their inner child and similar absurdity.
In days long gone, men were meant to be strong and showing masculinity was never wrong.
Now that marijuana is legal in Canada you see, soon testosterone in its natural state will be a rare and sought after commodity. All males should not regard this as a ruse, for it is well known that you stand to lose what you do not use.
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.