What is the purpose of a methodology that was fused from the intricate, violent history of human civilisation within a modern society that strives for peace?
Something I’ve found myself wondering for a while—Why is there a lack of intelligent discussion pieces on masculinity or what it means to be a man in modern times? Feel free to look for such discussions online. The results can be ruthless—unrelenting digital trench warfare between various men and feminists who strive to gain territory for their respective opinion. And make no mistake, as our society continues to evolve and traditional gender roles begin to perish, the underlying concept of what it means to be a man moving forward couldn’t be more important.
Why do I say that you ask? Because masculinity is a set of attributes made up of both biologically-created and socially-created factors; and today, those social factors are being picked apart, challenged and redefined by academia, politics and left-wing media. This isn’t a problem in itself—as I for one am happy for masculinity to be under the spotlight if there can be an honest debate about it. But finding such a platform can be difficult to say the least.
What is masculinity?
What is masculinity first of all? Well, that depends on where you are. Various cultures have their own definition of what makes someone masculine and while these traits and social expectations vary from place to place—They all share a single, important purpose. To be truly dependable when something terrifying, unpredictable, and threatening arises and to face it with unwavering courage.
The virtues of masculinity are the attributes that formulate society’s most effective response against adversity and chaos. Men tend to be physically larger and much stronger than women. And men tend to be more aggressive than women—there are observable higher rates of certain hormones that naturally cause this. For most women, they simply don’t develop the musculature, nor the aggression for serious battle with the most vicious of the human species. As a result, this aforementioned fighting force has predominately always been men. So masculinity as a construct, has provided men across millennia with the appropriate ‘guidelines’ for how one should be the best above-average-sized-and-physical-strong person, in a manner that is socially valuable. This normally amounts to protecting those who are more vulnerable, while channeling one’s natural aggression towards threats, goals and opportunities while controlling it to prevent malevolence and tyrannical notions.
Throughout the history of mankind, every society that has ever existed has each attempted to assemble an orderly refuge for humans to coexist, with the aim of security and prosperity. To ensure social order, certain elements that require masculine forces to uphold, are none negotiable:
- Security for its people: One’s system of order has always and continues to be at risk from being conquered by external forces. This requires a disciplined force that is capable of dispensing violence against its foes when required and the ability to absorb brutal harm. To neglect security, is to welcome annihilation.
- The rule of law and justice: A society requires a rule of law. Those who subscribe to their respective laws are rewarded with the freedoms that come with this particular arrangement. When criminal elements arise, looking for opportunities to loot their respective societies while parking their ill-gotten gains behind the protection of rule of law—A society has an obligation to fight against such forces. These criminal elements are often aggressive, capable and tactfully malevolent and require equally aggressive forces to confront them. To neglect justice, is to be complicit in its violation.
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
On merit, these social responsibilities to uphold order have fallen upon the shoulders of men across time. And the archetypal conduct required to succeed in these dangerous duties, has changed very little throughout history. Discipline, loyalty, clarity, truthfulness and courage are the typical virtues one would likely see a capable and formidable force triumphing within chaos. In contrast, incompetence, doubt, distress or panic would likely be the types of traits implemented by the defeated. Therefore, masculinity naturally offered the appropriate guidelines for boys to become formidable responders to chaos and adversity.
Men who were good at this job, men who were good at the job of being masculine—earn the respect and trust of the group they’re in. Those men will be honoured through a socially created reward structure and treated better than men who are disloyal or undependable. The type of men who deliver victory at the moments of greatest peril will attain the highest status among men. They will be treated like heroes, and other men, especially young men, will emulate them. Even today, men evaluate each other as men, they still look for the same virtues that they’d need to keep the perimeter secure. Men positively respond and admire the qualities that would make men useful and dependable in an emergency.
Everything that is specifically about masculinity, the art of being a man, not merely a person, has to do with this role. What sort of men do you want in your society? What sort of man do you want at your flank when it’s all on the line?
But it is today, in this modern world where this whole subject gets pretty damn confusing. A time for many where the greatest battles now take place in the closing seconds of an eBay bid, or within the confines of the company boardroom. Never before has our world been more privileged, complex and engineered to our everyday needs than it is today. And it is this incredible achievement, that now allows one to pose the question: Does masculinity have a purpose in today’s world?
The forces I spoke about above have now been outsourced to smaller groups of men. An impressive feat of social stability that has granted the conditions for most men to now see masculinity as a choice. A privilege that has been in place for 0.001% of all of human history. Furthermore, Normality bias provides the social smokescreen that would have many people believing that masculinity is no longer required for the foreseeable future.
A few problems immediately begin to surface for me when I write the aforementioned paragraph.
- What happens when a society continues to rely upon smaller and smaller elements of people to maintain its order?
- What happens when a society no longer endorses masculinity or discusses its merits? Even vilifying it in some cases. Under such conditions, do you think male aggression is more likely to be channeled into egocentric aims or social aims?
Masculinity is now optional
The above video is an excellent example of the option to walk a different path being described by one of my favourite actors: Zach Braff (JD from Scrubs) explaining his tendency to embrace unmasculine roles in acting. Now, is Zach any less of a man than those who embrace a masculine approach to their lives? Absolutely not, he simply chooses not to embrace masculinity (However difficult that may have been for him to avoid initially because of social pressure) Zach specialises in the arts and his charm, creativity and charisma are some of his favoured traits. This is the path in life he wished to pursue (One that also looks quite successful and fulfilling to me) His lack of masculinity has no reason to be mocked or ridiculed for any reason. It is simply an alternative path that man should be free to explore at his discretion should he find himself in an orderly system that permits it.
Masculinity is now a choice. It never used to be—but now a man needn’t employ such virtues into their life if they choose not too. I personally feel that masculinity is a favourable pursuit of self-improvement to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Holding yourself to a level of disciplined behaviour shows all those around you that you’re dependable and capable of dealing with chaos should it arise. To be the type of person that others know they can depend on when the gloves come off.
But let’s be real, not everyone should be expected to agree with my view. Our ancestors perhaps didn’t have the luxury of a choice, but that’s no longer the case. This is the first amendment of masculinity that I am personally happy to accept—The immediate removal of the unnecessary pressure placed on those who would rather choose a different path in life. May the forces of nature judge their decision, not I.
What about women? Can’t they strive for such qualities also? Well sure, of course they can—if they can. It is with the above point and a vast history of patriarchy that many women are suspicious of men’s motives when they speak of masculinity today. But masculinity is not a threat for those in genuine pursuit of equal opportunity. On the contrary—masculinity by definition has to ally with those who value talent, effort and achievement over arbitrary arrangements. Equal opportunity ensures that the best characters are selected for the challenges that we face in society—and it is here, that a true harmony between masculine and feminine values can be found. However, I believe masculinity could never find peace within a system supporting opportunity of outcome. For any system that demands its followers to disregard true value and capability over arbitrary notions of governance, would surely need to be tyrannical to ensure its functioning.
But to any woman who is reading this piece, still curious and unsure about these points—I would simply ask you to pay careful attention to the following stats:
Men are still the most represented gender for placing themselves into the most dangerous social roles.
93% of work related deaths in the United States in 2015/2016 were male.
So I ask you: What type of society do you wish to see moving forward? Merit based? Or egalitarian based?
If the former, do you believe the values above represent a society striving for value and utility? If not, why?
If the latter, what do you believe are the consequences for putting one’s faith into an arbitrary allocation of roles, rather than valuing talent, effort and achievement?
When reality hits
“We’re designed to be hunters and we’re in a society of shopping. There’s nothing to kill anymore, there’s nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman is created.”
The everyman – The extreme product of a modern society that doesn’t require the virtues of masculinity. Japan calls these the Herbivore men (草食系男子) – Men who have no interest in getting married or finding a girlfriend. A survey featuring single Japanese men conducted in 2010 found that 61% of men in their 20s and 70% of men in their 30s considered themselves to be herbivores. Kind and gentle men who, without being bound by manliness, do not pursue romantic relationships voraciously, often having a preference to the company of cyber women to the real thing and having no aptitude for being hurt or hurting others.
There are many complex social factors which can contribute to the rise of the herbivore man. Disdain for the corporate world, the lack of social solidarity, the absence of a valid role in modern society, the decreasing exposure to physical adversity and finally the battle against masculinity in modern culture. The herbivore man is the extreme example of the complete irradiation of masculinity. And this social phenomenon has not been within consequence. The isolationist nature of the modern herbivorous man, has led to a rapid increase in reported cases of anxiety and the breakdown of fundamental social skills. The fastest growing suicide demographic in Japan is now young men. Making it the single biggest killer of men in Japan aged 20 to 44.
This vast social shift in Japan has found many Japanese women not taking the herbivores’ indifference lightly. In response to the problems left by the herbivorous stance, “carnivorous girls” (肉食系女子) are taking matters into their own hands by taking the leading roles in sexual advances and the social domination of their grass-eating counterparts. How sustainable this social arrangement happens to be, is to be seen.
The arbitrary configuration of egalitarianism, that aims to treat everyone the same and demand unconditional equality at the expense of reality is flawed. Egalitarianism looks at masculinity as the serpent that needs its head removed, all the while, as it takes shelter from its tail without grasping the irony. Masculinity has a very prominent role to play in a reality of unknowns and ever-present dangers. The subjugation of masculinity from external sources is reckless and typically comes from those who fail to understand it. Masculinity and its endorsement is not a threat to legitimate social progress and the genuine pursuit of a fair, safe and functioning society. And I encourage any of those reading, who feel naturally inclined to reconnect to their masculinity to do so and embrace the unrivalled benefits of harnessing your inner beast.
 Testosterone and Aggressive Behavior in Man – NCBI
 Men at Work, Percentage of U.S workers who are male by sector (2012) – US Census Bureau
 Fatal occupational injuries counts and rates by selected demographic characteristics (2015-16) – Bureau of labour statistics
 Herbivorous Boys & Carnivorous Girls – Partner Agent
 Why does Japan have such a high suicide rate? – BBC