The feminization of society has taken a serious toll not only on boys but on families. Men need a boost.
NRO has a couple of them in two illuminating articles.
This one on manliness is a ’survival guide’ for the guys. And a darned interesting one. KJ Lopez interviews Frank Mintier about his new book.
I devoured Harvey Mansfield’s book Manliness.
It’s a book that looks back across time to historically document the
dismantling of manliness. Along the way it effectively defines
manliness, and it articulates why so much in our modern culture is
attacking masculinity. It’s a fine book. My book, on the other hand, is
the antidote to the trend Mansfield so well outlines. The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide
is a how-to guide to becoming a hero, gentleman, survivor, philosopher,
and more by tapping masters of different disciplines to teach the
skills, philosophy, and bearing a well-rounded man should attain.
How did manhood get lost, and where can it be found, she asks. Look
at historically aristocratic societies and see how dandified men got
when they grew more upper class, Mintier says.
Just travel to any Third World country where men still
have to till the earth with their hands and hunt to fill the pot, and
look around to see if you can find a “girly-man” wishing he had a
fuller-bodied shampoo. Such men don’t exist far off the pavement.
Theodore Roosevelt noted this loss of manliness in 1899 when he
wrote, “Unless we keep the barbarian virtues, gaining the civilized
ones will be of little avail.”
Mintier has a brisk and bracing attitude toward the subject, sort of
like smacking the bold after-shave on the face, or so it seems…
It should be noted that, though it is well-established
that masculinity is now under attack, few are acknowledging that being
an old-school gentleman warrior is a hell of a lot more fulfilling and
fun than being a pensive metrosexual afraid to get his nails dirty or
to have rain wash the hair gel from his sculpted look. A real man can
be a hero, isn’t afraid to walk off the pavement, and knows vices are a
good thing when treated appropriately. After all, drinking, smoking,
and gambling won’t make you a man; despite what this politically
correct nanny state preaches, it’s learning to moderate those vices
that makes you into a man.
This is a lively and entertaining discussion.
LOPEZ: Does a man have to run with bulls in Pamplona to be “manly”?
MINTIER: Of course not, but he does have to find a path to manhood.
Cultures used to have rites of passage, physical tests of skill and
courage boys had to pass to become men. Today we have ages instead of
feats — when you’re 18 years old you can smoke, 21 you can drink —
which are earned by living, not doing. This is why we have to search
for our own hurdles to prove ourselves and thereby learn what we’re
capable of and what we’re not. Learning our physical limitations is
critical to becoming men, because when a man is faced with a real
crisis — a car accident, someone attacking another, an injury — he has
to have the skills and understanding of his strengths and weaknesses in
order to keep his bearings and be the hero of the moment.
Manhood requires training.
In the end, SEALS receive more training than most
college graduates. So the ultimate survivors don’t just tough out a
crisis; they’ve been taught to survive and overcome. Becoming a man is
comparable, as we have a lot to learn in order to become men. This is
why this is a book of skills — knowledge instills confidence.
We so need to know this. And restore the language about it all. Like, talking about manhood and manly men in the first place.
LOPEZ: Don’t you insult our post-gender society by using phrases like “real men”?
MINITER: There is no such thing as a
“post-gender society.” Last I checked I am not genderless. Nor,
thankfully, is my wife. If some find terminology such as “real men”
offensive, I’d say they were one of the feminazis who for some
counterintuitive reason think chivalry is a nice way of saying sexism.
True masculinity is not a threat to femininity, but rather is its
What a great read. The interview, and the book.
Oh, and that other article on NRO is about fathers and families, and myths about both. Time to reverse a cultural trend: bust the myths and mainstream the family again.
Given the social scientific record on fatherhood,
marriage, and family life, the United States could use more journalists
who are willing to confront hard truths about the roles that fathers
and marriage play in advancing the welfare of our nation’s most
vulnerable citizens, our children…