One commercial I saw online caught my eye: Tillamook cheese. A big block of cheese is smashed by a sledge hammer, an axe cuts through a stack of cheese slices, and a grilled cheese is on a pitchfork. The commercial was a cascade of masculine images, and the fact that appealing to masculinity is an effective marketing strategery is an indication of where our culture is and where our culture is going.
Masculinity has been under attack for generations, since before I was ever born. Traditional “gender roles” are disparaged. Women are doing much better economically while men – especially working-class white men – have fallen behind. Girls do much better in schools designed in such a way that suits female strengths. Men are lost and looking for a way to have purpose, and regain what was lost. There is a reason why speakers who urge teenage boys to “clean your room” are resonating with those boys.
Women, meanwhile, are increasingly tired of lazy men who do not work, play video games for dozens of hours to the exclusion of their responsibilities, and have little to no interest in raising children. They are tired of men who watch porn and expect sex free of commitment.
The answer to this is not to be macho. As much as conservatives hate to admit it, feminists have a point about “toxic masculinity.” While masculinity is good when properly channeled, it must be grounded in something to get the best out of it. Men are brutes and barbarians when we are not properly channeled. Masculinity without a guiding set of principles does become toxic. Axes, beards and muscles will never fill the void we have in our culture and our hearts. It certainly will not satisfy the father-hunger we have in our society.
What we need is Biblical Masculinity. We need men who will protect and provide for their wives, protect and teach their children, work diligently at whatever job they have, and embrace responsibility. We need men who are willing to die for their families and will sacrifice each and every day – not grudgingly, but with love. Yes, a man who is masculine in the Biblical sense can play video games, but gaming (and other recreational pursuits) will not be something that prevents him from fulfilling his duty.
So clean your room. Stand up straight. Look people in the eye. Work diligently. Make babies and then protect, care for, teach and provide for those babies. Treat others with respect. Love sacrificially. Take your family to church. Hold the door for people. Do housework. The essence of manhood is responsibility. If you want to be a real man, then be responsible.