Well, men, the American Phycological Association thinks that “traditional masculinity” is undoubtedly linked to “aggression and violence,” because, you know, men are bad.  This is coming on the heels of the #MeToo movement, mass shooters (which are overwhelming male), and other such examples that prove our “man problem” today is not just that we have a problem with men, but that men are the problem.

Obviously, a lot of men are feeling attacked about this whole toxic masculinity thing, which is why there was such a backlash to that Gillette commercial.  I saw the virtue posturing when I watched it, but I guess this parody video is the exemplar of how and why it upset so many people, and confirmed others in their belief.  Luckily Egar Watch Co. came out with a “response” ad affirming men and their hurt feelings, letting them know men are good too (and have feelings).  I can’t help but think the main concern is with selling razors and watches, but I guess this at least shows that the debate around masculinity has descended from the heights of academia into soulless advertising to the common man.

I’ve been fascinated by this topic of the correct understanding of masculinity for much of my life, and it’s the reason why I am a part of Fraternus and wrote the book Leaving Boyhood Behind.  I have 5 sons, so I am daily facing the reality of maleness.  Not to mention I’m a man, and one that does not want to be toxic to anyone.

Listen – we do have a problem with men.  Did you now see the Church scandals of last year?  But, if men are the problem, they must also be the solution, because I can’t think that masculinity itself (per se) is bad, because “male and female He created them.”  God created masculinity, He created it good, and the order of grace does not do away with the fact of being a man, but perfects and builds upon it.  And, because it’s a created good, the only way it can become evil is by distorting its true nature.  As grace builds upon nature, sin tears it down.  I’ve literally seen a man beat up a woman.  I’ve sat next to a girl in the minutes after a sexual assault.  I know what men can do.  I also know they can be heroes.  Jesus was a man.

But the whole idea of masculinity being “toxic” can be a helpful anecdote in our debates.  Use it as a means to explain the truth.  An analogy from my farm will be helpful.  I have a small heard of dairy cows.  Those cows produce milk that naturally fosters bacteria, which is actually a healthy and good thing.  When handled with care, milk carries healthy nutrients and good bacteria to the gut.  Most dairy products are actually the intentional introduction of other bacteria that and “cultures” the milk into something like cheese, yogurt, kefir, etc.  If, however, it is not handled correctly, or a bad bacterium is introduced, the very nature to nurture microbes also becomes its greatest danger, because harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly instead of good ones, making the potentially healthy food of milk become, literally, toxic.  In other words, it’s either really good or really bad, and there’s little in between.

Similarly, masculinity carries with it a strength and power that, when handled with care, can grow into the heroic and sacrificial.  The Church has always seen this confirmed, for example, in the fact that when God became man he became male.  Masculinity has in its nature the duty to sacrifice, especially for the good of the body of mankind as a whole, imaged especially in the bide, who carries not only her own dignity, but the dignity of other life in her womb. The Church, therefore, is called a “she” and a “bride,” because she carries within her the hope of future souls and the image of wholeness, of drawing things into unity and communion.  The priestliness of Christ – and the ministerial priesthood that images it – sacrifices for this future hope, and the fact of Christ and priests being male is not arbitrary but reflects the very nature of masculinity as created by God.

On a natural level too we intuit this.  If, for example, an intruder enters my home intending harm to my pregnant wife and children, it would be an obvious use of the present strength within me as a man to protect the future hope that is contained in them.  I would not send my wife or children to defend me – no matter the political correctness, that would be wrong.  This is why even modern media outlets will still use the language of “woman and children” in the news, as in “Two men attacked a building today killing several, including woman and children.”  Woman and children are a wholeness, a hope of things to come, and it is the natural and even supernatural duty of men to separate themselves out from them in order to sacrifice for their sake.

The world is considering now what it means to be a man.  We as Catholics have more than an answer, but the answer in living as men of Jesus Christ, True God and True Man.  Without good sons, brothers, and fathers, our Faith cannot even be communicated, because God has chosen to reveal His Fatherhood through His Son so we can live as Brothers.  Our call to live those identities is more urgent than ever, and to fail to do so is to allow the toxicity of sin to grow in the very place where we are meant to thrive as saints.

  • squishee

    Well wrote. “Jesus was a man.” should read “Jesus is a man.”.

  • Please research what toxic masculinity is, and don’t try and simplify it to match your definition of what you think being a man means. Hegemonic(toxic) masculinity is defined as a “practice that legitimizes powerful men’s dominant position in society and justifies the subordination of the common male population and women, and other marginalized ways of being a man.” This is a good article regarding what toxic masculinity actually is.
    Researchers have stated it is:

    -Suppressing emotions or masking distress
    -Maintaining an appearance of hardness
    -Violence as an indicator of power (think: “tough-guy” behavior)

    In other words: Toxic masculinity is what can come of teaching boys that they can’t express emotion openly; that they have to be “tough all the time”; that anything other than that makes them “feminine” or weak. (No, it doesn’t mean that all men are inherently toxic.)

    • Phil Alcoceli

      The definition of “toxic masculinity” you bring here sounds apparently innocent and “fair” and, at the same time, awfully like something written by an artful manipulator of language and collectivist Marxist, sounding all scientific and “objective” and what not, but being, as Pope Francis loves to use again and again, a Weaponized Falsely-Holy Confused Ambiguity. Then you proceed to describe it as none other than the very well-known, and despised by all (and us here,) description of “machismo”, in order to entice us to accept your devious definition, as you know that True Catholics would not accept “machismo” as Jesus’ human side was extremely manly but not “macho’.

      Then you proceed to brazenly deny that your definition means “all men are toxic” when the reality is that all SJW’s, radical feminists, liberal activists, etc. are IN REALITY pushing ferociously in that direction, day in and day out, definitions and semantics be darned. I worked with jail inmates for years, with a majority of them having the old, well known “toxic machismo”. You are intentionally melding “toxic machismo” (a bad reality) with “toxic masculinity” (a poisonous, total fabrication). You may assume we all here are drooling, dumb Quasimodo’s playing Church bells, but we are wise, True Men like Jesus Christ’s human nature, fighting evil and sin, the true causes of abuse, crime, rape, injustice, inequality and the TOXIC, shrewd, criminal, holier-than-thou lying that has perpetuated and increased all those evils in society. Do the REAL waking up and wake up to the Real Judeo-Christian God, Jesus Christ, True Man and true God.

      • Zenas Legisperitus

        Machismo, in short, is a defect that detracts from true masculinity as opposed to being a manifestation of it.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Excellent , Zenas, very well said. Satan is all of a Mocker, an Impersonator and a Parasite; he invents false, counterfeit, deceiving, mocking copies of each and all of God’s Creation, especially humans, in order to push us away from God and suck the life out of all Creation and destroy it. Machismo is a mocking copy of True Masculinity just like homosexuality is, even if they look like opposites on the surface. Indeed, many “machos” end up as homosexuals or bisexuals and, likewise, radical homosexuals display the exact same style of brutal tyranny (in legal, political, cultural, etc. ways) of “machos”, while being promoted as “better men”. False begets false.

        Jesus became Man not Woman to show that the way to God is to be led by True Holy Men in a leadership role with True Holy Women keeping our eyes and heart on God. The toxic term “toxic masculinity” comes from Satanism, “American” Communism and liberal-biased sociology, a study mocked as false science even by some liberals themselves. It’s all based in the Satanic Communist Theology that God is in competition with His own Creation and that He brought class/gender/nature warfare to the world. Jesus’ Incarnation, Salvation, Redemption and Sacred Masculinity totally contradict and squash all of these lies.

  • Phil Alcoceli

    Time to be “blunt, intolerant, rude and crass” like some call Jesus, the God-Man. Time to be truly manly like the Saints and to have the total sacrificial attitude of the female Saints: masculinity is not toxic, Pope Francis and those on the College of Cardinals who pushed to elect him ARE. What the American Psychology Association said in their recent demonic proclamation is part of a plan crafted long ago to totally deflect, distract, confuse, cover up, and justify Pope Francis’ direct attack on True Catholic Doctrine, the Tridentine Mass, and above all, to justify his lame response to the child abuse scandal and his appointments to influential high positions on the Vatican of either pro-homosexual or actual homosexual clergy or both.

    The demonic logic is that if “masculinity is toxic” then homosexuality is the high and mighty “spiritual” remedy for that toxicity and more of them should be put in positions of influence and power everywhere. Tyranny is homosexual at the core and homosexuality is tyranny at the core (read “The Pink Swastika”). The First Christians faced this very same evil in a different Roman disguise and triumphed over it. The Manly, Blunt, Intolerant and Crass Attitude of Jesus changed the world because Satan and his puppets always demand being treated with silk gloves, high respect and submission, like royalty. Total, consistent, unyielding, blunt, unto-death “disrespect” breaks them up. Time to disobey, again (James 4:7)!!! Jesus the God-Man was, is and always will be Sin-Phobic, no excuses, no distortions allowed. So should we!!