For better or for worse, mankind as a whole is evolving. But are we becoming less masculine in this evolution?
The National Review recently published David French’s article “Men Are Getting Weaker—Because We’re Not Raising Men.” The article purports to link grip strength and masculinity: Men are becoming inherently weaker than their forebears and are getting softer, more like women.
Men in the United States clearly don’t hold as many manufacturing jobs as we used to because there are fewer manufacturing jobs in the U.S. today. Jobs that required manual labor that could provide a living wage for families and heads of household are gone. Those jobs are elsewhere, thanks to the politics of business; it’s cheaper to manufacture anyplace else but here. I don’t agree with this trend because you loose quality control, but it’s what’s happened, folks.
There are forces delimiting our masculinity and our testosterone: the foods we eat, the chemicals we imbibe from our food and drink, the damage we do to our planet, the lack of weight-bearing exercise, chronic and non-moderate alcohol consumption, and STRESS.
Have we become weak because we aren’t hunting for our food and instead are being real partners to our wives? We are co-raising our children, participating in household chores, taking the kids skating, cooking dinner for our families, whether we are a stay-at-home-dad while our wife is working or also working outside the home.
We are evolving gentlemen, whether we like it…or not.
Berkeley University describes Biological evolution as “descent with modification.” This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations). Evolution helps us to understand the history of life.
As humans, we modify our environment with technology. We have invented medical treatments, agricultural practices, and economic structures that significantly alter the challenges to reproduction and survival faced by modern humans. Humans still face challenges to survival and reproduction, just not the same ones that we did 20,000 years ago. For example, modern humans living in densely populated areas face greater risks of epidemic diseases than did our hunter-gatherer ancestors (who did not come into close contact with so many people on a daily basis) — and this situation favors the spread of gene versions that protect against these diseases.
Evolution does not make ethical statements about right and wrong. Some people misinterpret the fact that evolution has shaped animal behavior (including human behavior) as supporting the idea that whatever behaviors are “natural” are the “right” ones. This is not the case. It is up to us, as societies and individuals, to decide what constitutes ethical and moral behavior. Evolution simply helps us understand how life has changed and continues to change over time.
In short, we are evolving and the improvements aren’t bad. In fact, our evolution as men has allowed us to participate more in our families, in our communities in ways we never have before. In many instances our male evolutionary construct has been for the better and for the most part, we have selectively shed our cruelty, our need to over-dominate the people that we love. Our rewriting of the code of masculinity has allowed us as men to define what makes a man and for some of us it’s The Rock, for others, it’s Stephen Hawking or Eric K. Fanning, the first openly gay secretary of a U.S. Army.
Does it mean we lack the capability to strangle a man with our bare hands after he has attacked our child or wife? Nope. Does it mean that we can’t vigorously defend our homes from an intruder, or fight to save someone we love with every ounce of our physical strength? Not at all. It does mean that in addition to defending our loved ones and home, we can also cook, clean, iron, change a diaper, hold our mates, be sensitive, and be introspective if we choose too.
This NEW MAN is no longer defined by his job, but by his spirit, his choice to love whom he wishes because he realizes that the penalties of our choices as men can cost us dearly. The NEW MAN realizes that he doesn’t have to raise his boys in an environment with traditional gender roles (the women clean and cook, the men cut the lumber for the fireplace).
No, this new FATHER ensures that his daughter and his son are equipped to shatter archaic sex-based gender barriers and can equally excel, not in spite of his gender but because of it. That only weak-minded cro-magnon neanderthal men believe that a woman’s place is in the home. It’s in the boardroom, it’s wherever the hell she wants to be and it’s your job as a man to support her, to challenge her intellectually and respect her equally if not more than the traditional male boss of a husband. And if she so chooses to stay home, or leave the workplace to be a mother, or has no desire to be in the workplace at all, then she deserves the respect and admiration for caring for your offspring and for you.
The new man is adaptable, he gets it and he knows that brute strength isn’t the answer to solving life’s problems, but if he needs to mash up an enemy it will happen quickly and efficiently. The new man has not neutered his inner hunter nor has he sent him home packing, he has made him more refined, he has given “him” a higher calling.
We are becoming the men our women and society NEED us to be. The kind of man you want your daughter to marry; the kind of man who you want defending your country at war but who is smart enough to examine the risks from all aspects before launching a nuclear strike. A man who will attempt diplomacy before sending other people’s sons and daughters to war. A man whose intellect mirrors or even exceeds his physical strength. The kind of man who owns up to having a debauched evening in a foreign country, but will take the heat for screwing up and not lie to mask his inadequacies or exploit other countries problems for his stupidity. That is the evolving man.
Besides, “A man who is not accountable to anyone is a danger to himself”-Iyanla Vanzant
More by author Franklin Madison here on The Good Men Project:
Interpreting a Biblical message for the husband and wife with evolved gender roles
What is the responsibility of Christians who believe the badness in our world is foretold?
‘Focus on the Family’ founder uses religion to instill fear and hate.
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