I recently read on article on theweeklystandard.com entitled “The Oldest War”, which dealt with the modern state of masculinity in America, and it’s consequences on our society. It reviewed two books with differing opinions on the subject, and, at the end of the article the author stated which book he agreed with the most. While, if I had to pick one of these two books, I would choose the book that the author selected, I find many of the complaints made in the article to be odd, and I found myself thinking that this article may be very offensive to some women. I’ll try to explain the article the best way I can to you with some of my own commentary, and then I will let you decide for yourself.
The first book that was reviewed was entitled “Men On Strike” by Helen Smith. The book discusses how Smith believes there has been an attack on American men since feminism began, and it cites a few examples to why she feels this way. While I’m assuming she has a point in some areas, some of her points just really don’t make sense. She cites that men are being attacked because they are no longer allowed to flirt with women in the workplace, and she also cites that male employment has declined since the 1960s. Smith also argues that men are also being forced into being less masculine nowadays because they are being forced to do such terrible things as housework and being more hands on in raising their kids.
Yes, she actually said these things. I wonder if she ever thought that the reason that employment has gone down among men since the 1960’s is because women are now allowed to have many jobs back then. Instead, they were forced into being secretaries, or nurses, or the objects of men’s unwanted sexual advances. If it weren’t for the feminist movement, of which Smith is highly critical, she would not be in the position that she is in, and a man would be writing the books and blogs that she has written. Also, I, as a man, don’t see what the big deal is about men having to pitch in around the house. After all, it’s not like they are being asked to do something that women haven’t done these things for centuries, but I guess that Smith would think that I am less than masculine for thinking this way (of which I could care less).
To contradict Smith’s book, author Andrew Ferguson reviews “The Art Of Manliness” by Brett and Kate McKay. This book takes a different approach to what being a man is as it focuses more on men being mannerly, polite, and poised in different social situations. It also teaches certain survival traits for the outdoors (I guess that’s manly?), and it is more focused on helping men ascertain well lived lives. I have never read this book so I don’t know if there are points within it of which I would disagree, but I think that overall this book would obviously be the better of the two.
While the article focused mainly on masculinity, it made me think about how we are still shaped as a society to want to see men be manly and women act feminine, and it sort of has me annoyed. The two books about how to be a man are unnecessary if we can really dig to what we need to really be as human beings. Instead of being society’s definition of a perfect man or a perfect woman, we need to just be the best people that we can be, gender aside. I respect all people, whether they are masculine men, feminine men, masculine women, or feminine women, as long as they are respectful and responsible people. For instance, I think a heck of a lot more of a stay at home dad, who may be considered feminine by some than a deadbeat dad who grunts at a football game on Sunday while his kids are ignored. I think that more and more people in my generation are starting to feel this way, and I think that it will make the world a better place for all in the years to come.
May God Bless America,
The Generation X Conservative