Untimely Observations

Manliness Defended

Rachel L. Wagley recently wrote a bold and excellent female retort to a Micheal Kimmel presentation on masculinity at Harvard. Kimmel is the premier male Gloria Steinmen-approved anti-rape industry ambassador and a leading feminist pathologizer of masculinity. From The Harvard Crimson:

Ironically, at an event co-sponsored by a final club, fraternities, and the football team, Kimmel opposed men building a group identity. We've heard it before: Men are privileged megalomaniacs; male groups are arrogant and purposeless.

A more constructive discussion might acknowledge that the fundamental reason our world is so perilous for young men is our negative conception of manhood. Our culture emasculates men by stripping manhood of its corresponding virtues and reducing manliness to predatory sexuality. Instead of envisioning a gallant standard, Kimmel told the men to always "get consent" before continuing on their merry sexual ways. Consent is a miserable substitute for nobility, a legalistic detour around an incredibly personal situation. It doesn't necessarily imply mutuality, and in fact, suggests that casual sex is an inherent intrusion where men act upon women.

If men enjoy asserting meaning and power, then give men dignified aspirations, so they don't assert their power on the dance floor. Affirm male friendships, bonds that serve men by providing forums for respect and codes of honor. When we treat men like sexualized predators, men can cunningly take advantage of this constructed freedom from virtue. Maxims like "Just get consent" and "Follow the rules" are sterile abstractions that lack exhortations to reform character.

Manliness without virtue can be barbarous. Moral virtue lacking manliness doesn't have the same power to move and inspire young men.

Personhood < Manhood.

Young men need heroes, and they can spot a weak horse. If you despise the influence of rap culture, ask what else we're offering young men these days.

I agree wholeheartedly with Alex Kurtagic when he writes that "successfully selling a message involves necessarily making those to whom it is aimed feel good about themselves and their affiliation with the messenger." You've got to tap into what young men want, and sell them a better dream.

Because if you don't, someone else will.