Being Hard Pays Off

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Masculinity is a very complex and varied topic. It changes from culture to culture, class to class, or even just from person to person. But there are those elements that span across culture; responsibility, assertiveness, strength, courage, and honor.

However in our modern era there is a pretty large backlash against those parts of masculinity, those traditional forms of manliness.

They say such things as “masculinity is toxic.”  That it makes men unfeeling and hard. That it causes men to be abusive, sad, and suicidal. That it’s the reason men rape, steal, drink, or shoot up heroin in the bathroom.

The say boys and men are shamed all the time into neat little boxes that they might not want to be in. That it is homophobic and misogynistic. They claim that it strips a person of their true essence and replaces it with a set of societal rules that no one can live up to.

They say men need to get in touch with their feelings. They need to embrace their feminine side. Be more of an individual. To cast off all those things that they tell you “real men” do, but that you don’t. They tell men they need to redefine what masculinity means to them. They want to turn it into a subjective term, not an ideal to strive for.

I don’t agree with any of that. I believe that all of those problems above stem from a lack of masculinity. A lack of strength, conviction, and honor. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that those are the downsides of traditional masculinity. What’s the alternative?

I’d rather take those negatives than become some weak half-man. A man who always supplicates and asks permission from everyone in his life. Someone who doesn’t have a tribe of brothers. A man not respected by anyone, including himself.  To be reliant on everyone else for all of their physical and emotional needs.

In short, without traditional masculinity, males are little more that overgrown children or hairy women. Passive aggressive, spiteful, cowardly, never producing anything of value. Always consuming. Always expecting the world to take care of them, and to have things handed to them because they “deserve” 

  In reality most of those negatives of masculinity aren’t really there. Yes, there is shaming and some men do awful things, but you can’t really blame that on masculinity,  especially when as a society we deem those things to be wrong. So really, out of all of those negatives, the only one that is really an actual side effect of masculinity is unfeeling.

Masculine men are generally hard men. They don’t take crap from anyone, they aren’t ruled by their emotions, and generally don’t take feelings into account when following a course of action.

Now the source of this complaint is women. It really is the inverse of us complaining about them being too emotional.

Men and women are different.  We think differently and we feel differently. The problem comes from trying to communicate those differences and not having a frame of reference for the other person. It’s almost like describing a color to a blind man.

With that said, some men really do shut off their emotions.  They cut themselves off so often that it becomes hard for them to reconnect. They can become hard and distant with their wife and children, and cause some significant problems.

But I still think being unfeeling is preferable to the alternative, which I view as much more prevalent than masculinity. I’d rather be unfeeling and strong, respected, self-reliant, proud, and courageous, than weak, dependent, and ruled by my emotions.

 It takes a lot of work, sacrifice, and time to build up an exceedingly masculine man, to get close to that ideal. But as you keep taking each step, you feel better and better about yourself. You feel wonderful, powerful, and alive. Just because your loved ones don’t understand the way you’re using to communicate the mood you are in doesn’t mean you aren’t actually unfeeling. It just means there is a break in communication.

With that said,  there are times when that masculine edge needs to be dulled a little bit. When your children or wife need to see your emotions free and unrestrained. When they need you to comfort and support them. And it is in those times when the masculine man truly shines compared to the man afraid to embrace his primal instincts, or the alternative man.

The alternative man is already in the realm of emotion and able to connect with his wife and child because he is stuck there. He hasn’t done the work to be able to climb out of that place at will. He is there to connect, but when his family needs something more from him he can’t do it. He can’t defend his family, lead them, build for them, sacrifice for them, kill and die for them, because he doesn’t have that foundation of hard masculinity. He hasn’t been training himself to do those things. To trust himself, his body, mind, courage, judgment. He will second guess himself and crumble under the pressure.

But the masculine man has done the work. He has shed the blood, and knows his strengths and weaknesses. He can be the boundary between his hearth and the hostile world around. He can protect and provide for his family. And when need be he can climb down from his guard tower towards comfort and live with his family. Though it might take a little effort, his legs are probably stiff from standing guard for hours, days, weeks. However long it takes to ensure that those he loves, are not harmed. 

When the time comes and the enemy is at the gate, the masculine man will be ready to take his post and fight while the alternative man quakes in his boots.

Remember, it is easier to dull an edge than to sharpen one. It’s easier to take a wall down than build one up…and that is where the greatest difference lies between the masculine and the alternative man. The masculine man works and builds himself up knowing the day will come when he needs everything he’s got. The alternative sits on the couch watching Axe Men while others provide all his needs. Never putting in the work and when the time comes he doesn’t have as much to give.

 

Brett