Men’s auto-emasculation — or, is feminism really entirely to blame?

Several people, knowing my fondness for the Navy (think Navy League), sent me links to a Wall Street Journal article that Lt. Cmdr. Greitens, a Navy SEAL, wrote about what goes into making a Navy SEAL.  Of course, it’s not just the training; it’s the man behind the training.  No man who is afraid of ultimate responsibility, extreme hard work, painfully uncomfortable physical conditions, and pushing his own limits to their furthest boundaries will even think of becoming a SEAL.  When one considers the demands of being a SEAL, I’m surprised that there are even 2,500 men qualified as active duty SEALs.  Given the nature and habits of so many of the men I know here in the suburbs, I would have put the number closer to, say, 12.

The suburban men I know are nice men — really nice men.  They’re bright men.  They’re highly educated men (often Ivy League).  They’re multi-credentialed men.  They’re high-earning men.  And aside from bringing home the bacon, many (not all, but many) of them aren’t good for much else.  Between the people they pay to do tasks (the gardeners) and their over-achieving wives, they don’t do much that is traditionally manly (other, of course, than the wage thing, which is not to be sneezed at).

Although this is certainly not true for all the households I know, in a large number of them, the wives do everything but earn money (and some earn money too).  These women not only do the traditional female tasks, such as children, cooking, shopping, cleaning and laundry, they also do the traditionally male tasks, such as garbage, gardening, clearing the table after dinner (when I grew up, the men did that as a courtesy to their wives), plumbing, small home repairs, etc.  The women gripe about the never-ending tasks, but they also take a certain pride in their ability to get, not just a few things, but everything done.

One can easily blame women’s lib for the “vanishing male” phenomenon.  After all, the men around me grew up in the 1970s, when they were told that women could bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and still be pistols in the bedroom.  (I don’t think Madison Avenue appreciated quite how tired those women were after bringing home and bacon, frying it up, and giving birth to and raising a few children.)  You remember this classic commercial, don’t you?

Women’s lib emasculated men!

I don’t think it’s quite that simple, though.  I think these men — the men who have abdicated the roles that for a few decades belonged to suburban men — enjoy what I call auto-emasculation.  Sure, they’re a bit less manly than their daddies, or the working class stiffs a few towns over, but on the other hand they’ve got so much less to do.  Since they’re not hauling the garbage, they can go to the gym.  Since the gardener is mowing the lawn (which is how my daddy kept his muscles in shape), they can watch that extra couple of hours of TV every weekend.  And really, it’s nice to have a competent wife, so that you don’t have to do anything around the house.  Even if you end up looking helpless around the kids, the trade-off is a good one:  more couch time.

I didn’t read the SEAL article.  I started to.  Really.  I did.  But it’s about manly men, and I sorely feel the lack of them in my world.  I understand that these manly men can be tough to be around, since they’re not in touch with their warmer emotions, they’re pretty scarred by some of their experiences, and they’re not around a lot.  I grew up the daughter of one of those manly men, and it presented its own difficulties.  Still, as the French say, Viva la difference! Many of my female suburban compatriots thought they were marrying real man, and found that they’d ended up marrying someone who, once he achieved the suburbs, decided that he’d filled his lifetime manly quota, and could pass the baton to someone else.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

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  • NancyB

    Dear Bookworm, Ditto to all you said here.  In the beginning God gave his instructions to Adam (about not eating from that tree of the knowledge of good and evil) – he didn’t give them to Eve.  Adam made his first mistake by giving in to Eve. But that was not a fatal error.  The fatal error is that he then blamed his actions on Eve when His Father called him on it.   And men have been blaming women ever since. Not to say that we don’t have our responsibility to do what’s right but there is a natural authority given to men that we women don’t naturally have and they should be ashamed of themselves for giving it over to women.  And of course, we women take over that power because we’re jealous of it.  You know, like Dad can’t do anything right – he dresses the kids all wrong, lets them do dangerous things, etc. etc.  Truthfully our lives would be a lot easier if we just stepped back and let Dad be a dad – oh, wait a minute – that is still making us the responsible party.  If the woman LETS the man do his job, she is still the kingmaker – still in charge.  Where are you men who don’t allow that?  Who just naturally do what is your job to do?  To be the kind, but firm leader in the home?  I know, I know, I’m gonna hear all about how men and women are equal and should have an equal say – blah, blah, blah…..well, I didn’t make the rules of the universe.  And when push comes to shove, someone has to take charge. And it’s better all around if a good man does that.  And my mother’s days will be happier when that happens!!

  • jj

    Interesting.  The entire society is oriented around the idea that males are – potentially, anyway – dangerous beasts who have to be locked up psychologically, and physically watched at all times in order not to become… themselves.  This starts when they’re little boys and we don’t like their behavior – which is nothing more than normal little-boy behavior – so we begin to shut them down.  Little boys like to play in the mud, fight, occasionally for no apparent reason slug one another, shove each other around, yell, run with scissors, generally disobey and rudely ignore adults – all kinds of stuff.
    It’s a little strange, y’know.  We don’t want little boys to behave like boys because it’s often somewhat less than civil, and we’ve decided we don’t like that.  So we start chopping that down at a very young age – then we’re surprised at the something less than iron men who result.  Little boys are a lot closer to a state of nature than we like – think Lord of the Flies – so we set about altering and adjusting their behavior.  Once we – as a society – embark on that path, we have forfeit the right to stand there with frowny faces and wonder what the hell happened to all the men, and how come everybody’s like Obama.

  • Charles Martel

    jj, you came dangerously close to criticizing Obama’s mom jeans, which would have been very racist and sexist.

  • Oldflyer

    I don’t know Book.  Folks are adaptive, and your men have adapted to their environment.
    My Dad was a chubby little office manager type.  I never saw him even do any yard work.  He was a golfer, and loved to dance.  World War II came along.  First he went to Brazil and ran a crew of truckers building airfields for my uncle.  Then he went to the Navy, where he was a chubby little Sailor who left three children and a wife in poor health–because he was called.  His duty was to crew the small landing craft that you see in film  running up on hellish beaches.  Okinawa.
    He came home, and reverted to being a chubby little business man who golfed.  He lost my Mother while two kids were still at home.  He started businesses, and went broke from medical bills.  He paid all of his debts.  He endured.
    You don’t know what your neighbors are capable of until you see them challenged.

  • Earl

    Thanks for that, Oldflyer….the heroes next door.  There were millions of them, and I salute your Dad!!
    NancyB, you ask a good question.  I’ll give you part of an answer anyhow.  Most men are married to women who would make their lives a living H**L if they attempted to “take the lead in the home”.  They like a nice life, after all, and we’re often told “You can be right, or you can be happy.” and many otherwise good men simply choose to be happy.
    Given the Biblical mandate (Love your wives as Christ loved the church), it seems to me that negotiating roles in the home makes a lot of sense.  There are some things that are FAR more important to my wife than to me – so why should she NOT make decisions in those areas?  On the other hand, when she attempted (as a 29-year old first-time mother) to dictate to me what I would feed my son for supper while she went to the Y to swim, I calmly told her that if she wished it to be done her way, she could stay home and do it herself.  We worked it out — she had certain expectations for nutritional value and so on, and I acquiesced and followed through.  When she worked 3-11 on weekends, the kids and I took sandwiches on picnics and had ice cream and buttered toast for supper!!  The key is that BOTH partners prioritize the marriage relationship as #1.  Only then do the kids get a happy home.

  • Danny Lemieux

    “Given the Biblical mandate (Love your wives as Christ loved the church), it seems to me that negotiating roles in the home makes a lot of sense.”

    I can really related to Earl’s comment here. Both my wife and I work. She does most of the housework because she is back home by 3:30 and I don’t get home until 6:30. However, I do a lot of other work….cooking, cleaning, yardwork, repairs, etc. that she really isn’t interested in doing. Somethings (cooking, cleaning) we do together as relaxation. My wife has a math degree, so she’s the family CFO and Accounting Dept. I have a finance MBA, I handle retirement planning & investments. 

    Every couple faces different circumstances. It’s a negotiation and, as long as there is mutual respect, a shared, happy life in the offing. My wife is my best friend, lover and (family) business partner. 

    Two things my children have taught me, though: many, many girls adore “traditional” manly guys and a soldier’s uniform, no matter what feminists say. Girls may like a girly man, the admire a man-man.

  • Earl

    My wife would have a COW if I let one line in your comment pass, Danny.  It’s this one: “Both my wife and I work.”
    This is true, even if she is home all day with the house and the kids.  Now, *I* know what you mean:  “…work outside the home.”  But, if you’ve ever stayed home all day with two kids, you will never allow yourself to say that sentence without adding those last three words!
    Being a Dad was not something I had incredible aspirations to…I had two younger siblings, and they were (mostly) a pain.  But, when I was the first to see my son (crowning), to touch his scalp, and to catch him when he slithered into the world, something shifted….a seismic movement that was completed when my daughter came out craning her neck to see ME because she recognized my voice!!  The hair on my arms stands up just thinking about those moments again — every year I got to talk about them when we covered the chapter on reproduction, and it was forever fresh and wonderful.  (Where was I….?  Oh!)
    Being a Dad was the best role I ever had, and the most important – I was with my kids EVERY SINGLE DAY I was home, which was virtually always, as I didn’t travel much.  I knew them, and they me, in ways I never knew my own Dad…and it has forged bonds that are so precious to me that I can hardly express my joy.
    But, remember….if you want the best for your children, guys….love their mother (as Christ loved the church).  If that doesn’t carry meaning for you, then read the gospels…again and again.

  • Charles Martel

    What Danny and Earl said. A man must have the courage to step up when he needs to, but he must also know his own limitations when it comes to the day-to-day things married people have to do to function.

    My wife is one of the best negotiators I’ve ever met. She actually gets off on dickering with car salesmen, and for several years in Marin County the unlucky ones who had to deal with her would award themselves the Croix de Madame Martel. She keeps a spotlessly clean and accurate checkbook ledger, but could not tell you with a gun pointed at her head how the economy or taxes work (did I mention she’s a Democrat?). 

    She’s way calmer than I am when it comes to dealing with bureaucrats and dense people. When she’s on the phone working her way through an agency or bank’s public relations firewall, I’ll often listen in just to see how a pro deftly and politely gets the uninterested drone at the other end to actually be helpful.

    As the man I am, of course, in charge of grilling, although she has stepped up lately with a new kitchen grill pan that does a pretty nice indoors job. One thing we’ve always done, which has saved us a lot of woe, is follow the rule that s/he who cooks is not s/he who cleans. That leaves both of us free to enjoy our meals. 

    She was a space planner before she retired, and I was a freelance writer who worked a home-based business. That meant I was Mr. Mom for awhile, a role I cherished and have nothing but fond memories of. For three years I walked around with a bipedal appendage tucked into the crook of my left arm, my son, Sam. We got the hang of each other’s rhythms pretty fast, so I always knew there would be good chunks of time for me to devote to calls, research and writing.   

    Each of us here has a different set-up. When we play to our spouse’s strengths, and observe their needs, we do ourselves a favor.

  • Ymarsakar

    To get men, you need something called training.

    For example, if a male from the years 6-18 isn’t expected to walk a girl home and be her escort, nor does he expect himself to do so, then when do you expect him to understand manly virtues? He hasn’t done any of them to begin with, so why should he start when he’s rich and well off?

    So far in our culture, the external expectations are low so you are either relying on whatever local cultural remnants are left (includes Southern values) that make expectations on male duty or you are relying on instinctual and internal motivations in individuals. From my experience, there are some men and women, who are simply self-motivated to acquire virtues. Even if you never prodded them in their lives or they never had an example to work off of. They would continually seek it out, regardless. Obviously males would lean towards a specialization that utilizes their strength or unique mental focus abilities while women would focus on skills that utilizes female organization and verbal skills.

    Another thing you need to constantly drum into the heads of males is the proper use of power. It is the duty of males to protect females when males have superior physical power and skills. Thus it is simply a case of putting the best person to the job. In instances where you have pathetic males around and the only strong ones are the women, then the women have to do the job. But you should shame the males for it, just because you don’t want this situation to spread like a virus. If you don’t shame males, then eventually males will figure out that if they only make themselves appear like crippled victims that they can avoid doing their duty on the excuse that they are “powerless” or that “women are empowered”. So women should do the protection duty because they are “empowered” with the goods. Nature and human society abhors this because societies that attrit their women will lose out reproductively eventually to tribes that do not allow their women to be attrited (source word attrition in warfare).

    Another thing you have to drum into the heads of males is that protecting women isn’t just for the women’s benefit, but for the male’s benefit as well. Since without a goal and a strong motivation, males, being human, will slack off and never achieve the highest level of physical or mental endurance required to fight well. Fighting is a skill because survival is an instinct. But survival does not confer fighting skills. Skills require dedication and motivation to acquire and it is only the existence of a need, the existence of females, that require such skills that generate the demand for them. If there was nobody weak and nobody that needed protection, what need would we ever have for warriors or fighters? It is the demand for security that increases the value of those with fighting ability and strength. No demand, no value.

    It is to the benefit of both sexes for males to seek power and economic influence in order to satisfy an intense life goal. The males obtain a purpose and will for success. The females obtain the use of borrowed power, safety, and the ability to focus on more productive and more beautiful skills which have far more uses then the skill which allows humans to kill other humans with brutal efficiency.

    Given modern society, both men and women can now focus on stuff they never would have had the luxury to focus on before. Subsistence farming, for example, allows neither males nor females free time to study reading or learn how to paint beautiful artwork. This ability to “choose” hobby skills has engendered a much freer society, but with freedom comes the ultimate responsibility of choosing wisely. Without a guideline to help people with such decisions, they will fall into foolishness or destroy themselves with unwise and destructive choices even as others succeed beyond people’s wildest imaginations. Humans would do this even if you ignored them. But that’s not the case in America. The cultural conditions were brought on deliberately by the Left in order to harm ordinary people. The social and cultural problems of America were generated specifically in order to aggregate political power into the hands of a few. If it had happened naturally, free will would have allowed at least 1 out of every 2 people to succeed for every person that failed. The Left has generated slanted odds which allow success only for appropriate groups with certain political influence and patronages, while redistributing damage and failure to others who lack such connections and favors. Since the elite is rare and few and not everyone can be successful, the Left has created a top down pyramid. Instead of a 50% success rate, their goal is to invert it into a 5% success rate. The economic woes of America are not unintended failures, but intentional sabotage.

    Muscle memory is the basis for male derived skills vs the dexterity of such things as weaving or the organization skills behind cooking. These skills are split between the sexes the way they are because males have better mental focus for learning physical coordination skills and women have better mental focus for learning to differentiate tastes, colors, and how to organize different ingredients in parallel to form a complete whole. None of them are inherent in the human genome, they simply utilize skill foundations which males and females have been survived on for several thousand years back in our ancient past. Muscle memory for things which require the coordinated uses of muscle tissues is learned through repeating the same motion correctly thousands upon thousands of times. Things like physically doing things can be seen as training in order to acquire the base strength and body coordination necessary for more advanced skills such as hunting animals or killing hostile humans.

    Thus males are content fishing and basically waiting, in an ambush, for food while women can’t seem to stand it. Males watch with interest different demonstrations of skill in sports, in order to mimic movements and become better hunters or warriors on an instinctual level. Meaning, they don’t have to have a rational reason to do it, their para sympathetic nerves simply agree with such activities automatically and produce content or happiness in the process. An activity they are attuned to rather than an activity they lack talent in. Women on the other hand derive enjoyment from window shopping while males are bored to tears spending hours traveling between stores carrying stuff. There has always been fundamental reasons for why this is so, even as our times have changed from era to era.

    What technology has done is disrupt the normal sexual identities of males and females. Technology has changed the requirements for activities and goals, thus forcibly changing what is required to learn a skill such as typing or visual graphics. Thus some things make sense for males to specialize in but others are inconsistent. Birth control has changed the social and biological controls normally assumed to be present during human behavior. Guns now allow men and women (Sarah Palin) to be able to hunt animals and kill them, whereas before it was almost impossible for a female to specialize in the skills of javelin or spear unless she was given food and time to train from birth (which is impossible unless she belongs to the nobility or the king of the tribe).

    As time goes on, change is inevitable. But usually these variances are mostly to the good and to the improvement of humanity. It takes a lot of evil work to intentionally produce harm and chaos from the advancement of technology and human civilization. It’s no simple thing to make a bridge collapse by design rather than by accident, after someone had spent years building it correctly and safely.

    To talk about it from a reality based perspective, neither nature nor causality cares about who is or isn’t equal. All nature cares about is who survives and who dies. And all causality cares about is who won and who lost by doing things they should or shouldn’t have done. Humans don’t care about equality either, you may have noticed. The ones that say they do, are actually out to get power for themselves so they can live high and mighty while the peasants suffer underneath their boot heel. More or less. People who want to talk about everyone being equal are either attempting to manipulate the group towards a solution favoring only a few or they seek to equalize things because they know they are in the bottom 25% of the human talent pool and thus it benefits them personally to equalize the difference between their pathetic failure of an excuse for a human existence and other group member’s amazing successes. What people, humans, care first and foremost about is what benefits the self. Only afterwards do they care about other things which may benefit the self. And then only after that, do they care about how equal people are or are not when it comes to what benefits themselves or not. Trying to turn this priority pyramid on its head is what results in disastrous societal revolutions which end up blowing stuff up and, well, blowing stuff up after the stuff that got blown up came down and settled as debris.

    The powerful and the self-motivated care not for equality for their goals require them to be exceptional, not equal to others, no excuse allowed. Their purpose in life cannot be fulfilled if everyone was “equal”.

    The evil also do not wish for people to be equal, since evil can exercise authority to make people do the work of evil if everyone was “equal”.

    The good does not wish for people to be equal as it kills accomplishment and ambition for self-improvement. If everyone was equal, there would be no good and no evil. No failure and no success. What kind of life is that. Might as well be a vegetable or a computer Ai program with no tasks to run while being given a trillion processing cycles to run the tasks, that don’t exist, with.

    What type of human wishes every other human to be equal? They don’t exist. Not in religions. Not in Buddhist reincarnation cycles. Not in any pagan cult either. No communist and no socialist believes in equality. Pacifists requires the unequal distribution of killing for pacifism to survive. Even the human idiots that want other people to be brought down to their level, recognize that equality isn’t their best bet. It is just their only bet of uplifting their pathetic excuses for human existences up to a standard that they can tolerate others witnessing. Sure, let’s make humans equal because the people who want it are so pathetic that if their existences were erased, the total progress bar for humanity would jump 10%. That doesn’t even benefit the pathetic humans, since they are parasites sucking off the wealth of the exceptional. If they bring the exceptional to near their level, their own living standards would fall as well. The human that wishes every other human to be equal, does not exist. They always have ulterior motives one way or another. Their true motivation and goal is never equality.

    Being equal is very inefficient. You can’t get any work done. Combustion requires an unequal distribution of hot and cold regions for the explosive gas to do work on pistons. The universe requires an imbalance in the heat distribution and background temperature, otherwise nothing would move and nothing would happen. True Equality is the same as non-existence. You might as well cease to exist, it would be the same as being Really Equal. Equality is only naturally true in the beginning. In the beginning there was nothing. And so it was and so it will be. In the beginning of everything, all things were equal. And in the beginning of human life, we were all equal. None of us ever chose when or where or to whom we were born to. We could not decide how our life started out. In this instance, we are all born equal. And it is only after birth that the differences start showing up. As it was always intended to be. Even the universe itself started out the same. What more do arrogant humans expect to change now. If humans wish to impose artificial limitations, they should begin by allowing people to have a fresh and equal start. As it was intended to be for maximum efficiency and production. If nature or God doesn’t provide you with absolution and redemption, then humans must obtain that with their own hands, by their own blood and sweat.

    But, I suppose the properly Ivy League educated retards of the modern era would require a couple decades of remedial K-12 re-education before they can properly absorb this concept concerning the metaphysics and epistemology of equality.

    Personally, I don’t think having an IQ of 300 ever beat snorting crack cocaine up your nose for 12 years, but that may be just me. The native intelligence brigade in America thinks their intelligence is so powerful that they can do whatever they want and still be “excellent”. Well, that’s getting a little arrogant and attempting to arrogate divine powers to themselves: as well as ignoring the reality of causality. After all, an IQ of 300 does not beat the Left’s habit of snorting crack cocaine for 12 straight years. It just doesn’t work that way by the judgment of the Divine Providence or Natural Law. Blame your Maker if you don’t like it.

    Shooting guns is supposed to be fun, yet why do so many LibProgs find it terrifying? If they cannot even properly manipulate a product of human ingenuity, how the hell are they supposed to be entrusted with manipulating the levers which control HUMAN BEHAVIOR? Do they think a gun works more chaotically than human behavior? Do they think a gun will overpower them whereas human behavior is a simple thing to lock down and control?

    Unbelievable the stupidity of modern humans. How did they ever get out of the cave and not starve.

    In order to properly control and use such things as fire or firearms, one must have what is called control over the self. If the monkey keeps trying to play around with fire or firearms, one of a couple things will happen. He’ll burn himself up and die from third degree burn infections. He’ll shoot himself in the head or balls, thereby ending his monkey dna line. That is why some form of training is required to produce men. War is also a form of training, on a broad society level.

    You cannot trust people to control themselves when they cannot control a chainsaw because they are too foolish to understand that the chainsaw has a saw on it that can cut people apart. You cannot trust those idiots that use it a chainsaw like a toy. You would risk your life if you did so. People who do not understand how to properly utilize their physical power to control tools, are naturally disadvantaged when controlling nations, governments, or entire societies. How does someone who is too stupid to understand the dangers of a firearm vector, going to be able to plot economics or foreign policy? How does someone who is prone to panicking that they cannot calm down their breathing in order to hit their mark, be able to calmly judge situations affecting millions and millions of people? It’s impossible and improbable to boot even if it was possible.

    The Asian cultures figured this out for a couple thousand of their years; to control the self and to utilize that control on more important goals requires the harmony of mind and body. Which is to say, learn how to use your hands to create something of lasting value. In Asian cultures, that is called kung fu or martial arts. It is passed down through families going through multiple generations.

    America doesn’t have this tradition and cultural support (neither MMA nor the American Association of Tae Kwon Do applies). What Americans have is the Gun Culture. Even if the Entire World doesn’t say America is the Gun Civilization, the Japanese certainly consider us to be so. To reinvigorate human virtues, Americans have to go back to their Wild West roots and start learning more about their firearm heritages. Military training and obsessive compulsive obedience to orders is not necessary. Firearms training, however, is perhaps the fastest way for American culture to get back on the right track after somebody derailed it.

    So long as America’s Gun Culture survives, American virtues has a chance to re-surface. There is no such thing as virtue without right habit and correct action. There is no such thing as manly character without things a man can and should do. For a man to exist, things must exist for the man to solve in the doing. Without the job, there is no worker. Without the goal, there is no ascending star.

    It is no secret or mystery that the best Americans are those who have firearms training and talent. Sarah Palin, SEALs (the amount of time SF members spend maintaining their precision shooting ability is really abnormal when you think about it), and bunches of other people in this nation. And it is no secret or mystery that the worst Americans are the ones that avoid firearms training. People may not be what they do in life, but that’s the definition of “life experience” right there. They have no life, without life experiences.

    Chainsaw training, what is that? Sure a person who knows how to use power tools can learn the wisdom of controlling more important aspects in human affairs, but there is no societal support for it. A person that seeks to improve himself through learning how to utilize power tools is in a more difficult position than someone seeking firearms training. The latter has to do it mostly himself and teach himself (could be dangerous), while the latter has commercial and social support systems such as Frontsight that does all the work and teaching for them. As society changes and technology fans the flame of rebellion and chaos, the tools humans use to understand how to mature will change. What will not change is the fact that humans need training in order to become something greater than what they were born as.

    And no, Leftist decadence and pleasure seeking is not the type of training humans need.