The Modern Neutered Male v Strong Men

The world needs strong men. The world is built on strong men. Strong men are not toxic. This is fact because the world has thrived on the life and labor of its strong men.

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Recent APA guidelines and Gillette ad propaganda notwithstanding, there is no such thing as “toxic masculinity.” Equitably considered – despite the current acidic atmosphere – neither is there such thing as “toxic femininity.” If “toxic masculinity” does not exist, then neither does “toxic femininity.” Saying either is like saying, “Toxic good.” No such thing. At root of the conflict we are in is the elevation of toxic attitudes or toxic mores.

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Public Service Announcement:

We are living in the fourth wave of feminism.

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What Nature gives a man to be strong man hasn’t changed since the first wave. In fact, what Nature gives a man to be a strong man hasn’t changed in a very long time. Back in 1999 Steven Goldberg wrote Why Men Rule which to this day offers a thesis which cannot be undone by a minute and half Super Bowl ad. Goldberg has stated in lectures and in print that in the title of the book Why Men Rule he intended that his thesis should not mistaken for anything else but what he calls “the inevitability of patriarchy.” 

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The irony of the G ad titled ‘We Believe: The Best Men Can Be’ is that its originating premise guts “the best” in manhood and misses by thousand miles “why men rule.” Its originating premise comes from a synergy between P&G ad execs and its film director Kim Gehrig. Gehrig is in no subtle way a media voice for Fourth-Wave feminism. This latest iteration of feminism is mostly an attitude and set of mores curated for the post-modern man.

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Yet, if Goldberg’s thesis about Why Men Rule continues as it has for many millennia, then the fourth wave will loose its steam and a fifth wave will muster another try and strong men will still lead the world. How so? The answer is easy to illustrate. Contrast Gillette’s motto from the early 1990s with the title to this latest ad.

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then – “The Best a Man Can Get

now- “The Best Men Can Be

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History and sociological analysis shows that strong men are tuned to achievement. The “get” in men is inseparable from strong manhood. The “get” in being male is inseparable from “the best” that a man can be. What Fourth-Wave feminism aims to do as a part of his project is to dial down the drive in men to “get” and to dial it down as far as it can. When men are forced to reduce the drive to “get” they become neutered men. The “get” in males is the engine of male achievement. When this drive to achieve is suppressed in men the result to society is less achievements.  

If someone adds water to your beer, then…

If someone adds fillers to your milkshake, then…

If someone adds femininity to your maleness, then… 

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To be clear, femininity isn’t like water and it isn’t like fillers, but when added to masculinity it doesn’t make men “the best” they can be. The world needs strong men, not feminized men. It would take a longer essay to show piece by piece how the Fourth-Wave fem project is assembled. In short, the essential parts of the Fourth-Wave machine are mostly made of their negative experiences with men. In other words, the ideology of Fourth-Wave feminism is not a cogent philosophy of life demonstrable in Nature. It’s not demonstrable in how the laws of Nature have equipped men to be strong men. Furthermore, consider dissonance of the the same feminist crowd campaigning for a Free the Nipple protest gathering and then later campaigning for a #MeToo gathering. Also, Gillette has its own moral dissonance to account for in that till recent it used the back side of Formula 1 grid girls as ad space.   

 

Without a doubt, men (or women) should NOT abuse others, especially those under their care. The #MeToo movement is anecdotal witness to what happens when negative experiences, abuse being the worst of those, are not addressed, corrected, but are hidden, in many cases for decades. Yet, for all the chatter about the latest G ad it does nothing to provide a solution, except to offer a portrait of the modern neutered male. 

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The header image of this post is close-up of a famous beard, at least famous to those of us who follow Reformed theology. It is the uniquely groomed beard of the Lion of Princeton, Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851-1921). If you aren’t familiar with B. B. Warfield take a look at 10 Things You Should Know about B. B. Warfield. It is #9 to which I bring attention for the purpose of showing the value of a strong man. 

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There are various tellings of how B. B. showed his care for his wife Annie. Some accounts say she was home-bound for the entire time of their marriage. Other accounts like above confirm that in the later part of her life, the last 20 years, her health was in “constant decline.” What is without dispute is that Ben Warfield was a strong man to his wife caring for her to the end. His devotion to her was exemplary. How he managed to write the thousands of words he did and teach as a professor in high demand and give himself devotedly to his wife is feat which only a strong man could accomplish. This kind of accomplishment is to “get” in the best sense of getting.

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The idea of a gentleman has a history in an earlier age of the nobility or in a time when a manual laborer could rise in status and income. The idea of a Christian gentleman has its genesis in the strong man that is Jesus who created men and re-creates men. There is no razor or shave cream company, no Fortune 500 company, no pop icon, that can give us an image of manhood as strong as you will find in Jesus of Nazareth.

What we learn both from him and Nature – the way men are made, made from the chromosomal level upward – is that to be a gentle-man you must be a strong man. To be a productive man you must be an achiever. To be a giving man you must know how to “get” – not take what you shouldn’t take, but go, get and win what the Creator has properly set before you. Then you can give what you got. When you don’t have much got to give, then you give yourself.  

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Men we don’t become gentle by becoming weak, by dialing down our masculinity with femininity. That only produces passive males. We have enough of that already. If we men (and boys) are permitted to be gilletted, we will see an increase in more passivity. Gentleness does not come from passivity. Passivity is a breed farm for aggression. At Desiring God, David Mathis blogs that strong men are gentle. This is true because gentleness in men is a strength of strong men.

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Ephemera though they are ads can be a bell weather of current cultural attitudes and mores about manhood. There are other voices artfully speaking in favor of the strong man like this one by Egard Watches. But ads don’t change the world or protect the world or supply the world. Strong men do. #notaGilletteuser

 

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Concluding Thoughts

What we observed here concerns also the opining of prominent female Evangelical bloggers on biblical manhood being non-essential and the over-emphasis among Evangelicals on “the roles of men and women.” I’ll return with thoughts on these concerns in a future post. 

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In sum, strong men are men who learn how to “get,” to drive toward worthy goals, don’t stop driving till arrived and once arrived maintain the achievement. In the spirit of righteous “getting” here are few reminders of what the strong men are getting. 

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Get fit

Strong men know they must eat right, sleep well, exercise and control stress and time and money to be strong men. 

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Get wisdom

Strong men seek wisdom. It’s not uncommon for men to seek a thrill, the thrill of climbing a mountain, running a race, making top sales for the quarter, building a home and so on. Good, go for it. But when the thrill is gone only wisdom will sustain you and those under your care. You cannot get wisdom at the last minute when you desperately need. Wisdom has to be accumulated. So starting getting wisdom. If you have some get more. Store it. Use it. Give it.  

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Get fraternity

Women are better at this then men. This, however, does not mean that strong men should bond the way women do. Please no. Strong men know that their individual strengths increase when they can find appropriate ways to strengthen each other. 

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Get responsibility

The G ad tells it audience that men need to hold each other accountable. What their market research failed to uncover is that accountability is not an adequate way for men to be strong men. In fact, telling men or boys to be responsible falls short as well. Accountability is ok like training wheels are ok, but accountability has a limited value. Accountability may provide conditions for early stages of achieving, but it does not drive strong men to higher achievements. The best way for men to become strong men is to get one responsibility and then another and then another till their life is full of responsibilities. Men become strong men by owning a task, a job, a goal, a family to care for, a neighborhood to protect and a community to make better. Men are strong when they find a church to support, to enrich with their serving ways and sustain its people with manly worship and leadership. 

Get rid

No need to say much here ’cause we each know the thing or things, habit or habits, we need to get rid of (not people, of course, because people are the world’s most precious treasure in world). Whatever it is, get rid of it.  

 

 The world needs strong men. If you are one, help other men get strong. 

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