Last week a Congressman for the N.C. 11th Congressional District urged all us males to “reclaim your masculinity.” He went on to say that America has become a nanny state and “Our young men are taught that weakness is a strength, that delicacy is desirable, and that being a soft metrosexual is more valuable than training the mind, body and soul.” All of this and a bit more railing by Representative Madison Cawthorn in his last floor speech, which lasted sixty seconds.
When I read the news reports about his rant, I admit being relieved that WOKE was not mentioned directly, just implied. After all, as I discovered in a quick Google search, metrosexual has lost favor as an adjective and is now replaced by spornosexual, lumbersexual, and nuetrasexual, just to mention three chosen adjectives used to describe men who care about their appearance and inner selves.
Representative Cawthorn says today’s young men are being taught that being weak or delicate is the mark of being masculine. He accuses America of being a breeding “Nanny state” that produces neutered males and is on the precipice of decline. Wow! Those words are quite a condemnation, but they do raise the question: What defines masculinity and can it, if possessed, be taken?
Having masculinity can be exhibited, I offer, in many ways, but whatever way it is shown, it is, like most things, not authentic until tested. Thus, the fellow with the cigarette hanging from his sullen lips may lack having masculinity when he is asked to be the first to step forward to receive a flu shot. Perhaps the man who is one of several like-thinking ones in a crowd misses his masculinity when told to step aside and talk with the lone person being attacked.
But these examples only tell us what masculinity is not. So, I want to suggest a few examples of what masculinity is: The man who uses soft words instead of harsh ones; the man who works without complaint; the man who cares so much he has no time to hate; the man who prefers listening to speaking; the man who helps instead of hinders; the man who is guided by a faith in something bigger than himself; the man who recognizes fads for what they are; the man who encircles himself with those he loves; the man who accepts responsibility; the man who apologies when wrong; and the man who is so self-assured he has no need to publicly demonstrate his masculinity.
Madison Cawthorn may not heed the words of a 76-year-old who grew up in the days of Brylcreem, Vitalis, the Marlboro Man, and John Wayne. So be it! But I will offer him this bit of wisdom concerning “being a man” that I have gained over the years: Think of masculinity as something observed in men who go about their lives, enduring and doing in a quiet and strong manner. Ignore the loud and clanging types who shout and shove like a needy reporter at a press conference. You will not find the masculine men in the models such as the Marlboro Man but in your neighbors, friends, and others close by you who go about life as it is given them. Those are the ones who will exude masculinity.