You can read my latest article (post election): here: "Shut. The F*ck. Up."
This article could have easily been entitled "In defense of manhood," or something of that nature, but ironically I was too concerned with how people might interpret such a thing. And given that the point of the article isn't actually about men or women specifically, I decided to stick with something more vague.
I'm going to go about this article a little differently than I usually do. I'm going to state a hypothesis and then work my way from the beginning, hopefully ending up looping back around and completing the argument. So here it is:
I contend that the entire Trump phenomenon (his popularity, winning the primary, and now closing the gap between himself and Hillary Clinton for the presidential election) is due to an ever-increasing sense of stifling political correctness that is destroying firstly manhood, and as a result womanhood. This isn't to say I am a Hillary Clinton fan. I absolutely loathe the woman, and I think it is defensible to say there are plenty of reasons she should not be a viable political candidate. For more on my thoughts about these two have a look here at a previous article I wrote about just this thing. But that having been said, I think it is downright absurd to say that a buffoon like Donald Trump belongs on the political stage at all. I am fairly certain most of Wall Street (and many other sensible people) agree. It says something about our culture that he is pulling together approximately half the voters, and that is exactly what I want to discuss.
So, to get right into it, I want to ask, why is it that embracing manhood (all its glory as well as all its absurdity) is so taboo at the moment? I can't help but look to how children are treated to see just how bizarre this rabbit hole really is. For example, these ADHD numbers seem absolutely ludicrous to me. Boys are three times a likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, and the number of diagnoses are up 42% over the last 8 years.
What happened to boys will be boys? Boys are boisterous. They are rambunctious. Sometimes they can be difficult to control. But part of that is learning what they are and who they are as men. I'm not saying there aren't legitimate cases of ADHD, but how is it possible that a sex-based epidemic arose out of nowhere? It isn't as though these cases are equal among adults either. About 50% more children are considered to be affected than adults. Is it not obvious that the problem is the way we are judging the development of boys rather than the boys themselves? If those same boys who are "mentally ill" grow up to be functioning members of society, how ill were they to start with? If that's the case can we not argue that 99% of teenagers are depressed schizophrenics and douse them in anti-psychotics?
I've been keeping my eye on this subject for a long time, since before the phrase Social Justice Warrior became something everyone was familiar with and the schism between beliefs about rape culture and women's rights in modern day erupted into a plague on YouTube. One of the first major concerns I had was after the tragic Columbine shooting (and the subsequent "copycats") took place. People were obsessed with blaming Marilyn Manson or "The Trench Coat Mafia." But what I saw were angry kids with no outlets. More specifically, angry boys.
Lest we forget, there was a time when school boys got angry at one another, set a time, and fought. They didn't fight to kill each other. They didn't even necessarily fight to hurt one another. Men bond through physical hardship and through taunting. You taunt me, I taunt you back. Now we are all riled up. The juices of manhood are flowing and we are seeing red. We go out back and fight, a few punches are thrown, and suddenly everything seems clearer. The loser respects the winner, the winner respects the loser for having the nerve to fight him (now considering himself clearly the alpha and destined to win the whole time). Is this ideal? Probably not. Am I saying I wouldn't love to see a society where we didn't have the urge to fight one another? Absolutely not. That would be great. But it's not real life.
The problem is that now if two boys at school get into a fight, they will probably feel a whole lot better and leave most of their issues behind. But they will also be arrested, possibly expelled, maybe never get into college. This desire to fight is the same desire to get dirty, to defend loved ones, to defend our country, to protect women, to build society. Why is it so hated? Even people such as Alexis de Tocqueville, writing on America in the 1830's, could see the dangers of democratic societies pushing equality of the sexes too hard. He writes, "It is easy to see that, in this ambition to make the one sex equal to the other, both are demeaned and that, from the crude mixing of nature's works, will emerge weak men and immodest women."
Clearly the idea of immodest women has changed, and I think most people will be fine to say he may have gotten that one wrong, blinded by his limited time frame. But weak men is, in my opinion, the exact term we should be using. Stop blaming video games and rock and roll. We disallow boys to be boys, we discourage them from finding themselves and embracing and learning to control their tempers, their adrenaline, their testosterone. We attempt to neuter them, and they become weak. Only a boy forced into weakness would be so affected by taunting, a primary bonding element for men, that they would feel the urge to murder countless innocent people.
But the issue doesn't stop there. It doesn't only affect boys and men. As Camille Paglia writes in Time magazine, "When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honor their commitments. And without strong men as models to either embrace or [...] to resist, women will never attain a centered and profound sense of themselves as women."
So...How does this relate to the presidential election? Donald Trump, as much as he does not belong in the political sphere, represents something that has been long missing, something that disappeared gradually over time. That is, he's not afraid to be a man. He is rambunctious. He can be a nuisance. He can be an idiot. He says things that real people say, not scripted robots. (Shame on all those news reporters and politicians saying they never ever heard someone say anything as vulgar as Trump did in those clips in the bus.) Let's be real. And this is what much of America is thinking as they get silenced. Please, let's be real. And not just male voters. Trump has shown as few as 3% less female supporters than males in some cases.
The time when men can get together and be men is long gone, and for many women, this creates just as much of a problem. We are changing as lose our manhood, and as women lose men. As a people we are becoming desperate, dangerous.
That is exactly what is happening with Donald Trump. We are desperate. We are dangerous. We need an out. All the praise in the world for places like our home poker games where we can smoke cigars and talk trash to our friends and tell tall tales and be disgusting. Let's celebrate bastions of manhood like WSO where even in its own small way it allows us to throw monkey shit at each other, and acknowledge what we are (though there are obviously various meanings to that). But let's not pretend that our circles aren't getting smaller. Let's not pretend that as a people, we are getting closer to a place where irrationality inevitably takes hold. Let's not forget that we need to be what we are.
Think I'm a jerk? Throw some monkey shit at me. Don't think so? Give me a banana. I'm happy to do the dance. And please let me know what you think. I already know where I stand.
Until next time,
This is The Uncontortionist.
Mod Note (Andy): Best of 2016, this post ranks #14 for the past year
Find Your Mentor
- Increase your chance of landing a job by matching with one of our 200+ mentors.
- Our mentors are top employees at the most selective firms.
- Proven process with over 1,100 clients over 10 years.