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Chesty Puller Reminds us how much America Needs Masculinity

Let me start by saying it straight and to the point. I will teach my son all the traits of traditional masculinity. Notice I didn’t say toxic masculinity as despite what we have come to believe, toxic and masculinity are not synonyms of one another. I will not teach my son to be a bully, but because bullies exist I will teach him the utility of his biological strength. I will not teach him to verbally abuse his fellow human, but because verbal abuse does exist I will teach him a certain confidence and stoicism about the world. I will not teach him that women are objects to be used for his pleasure, but that such men do exist in far too great of numbers I will teach him to respect and be gentlemanly to the female kind. This is not because I am macho or because I was taught as much growing up. I was not taught to embrace masculinity growing up and I paid a price for it. As a child I was far too timid when strength was called for and to be honest, had it not been for my beloved Marine Corps I am unsure what kind of man I would be today. Then Chesty Puller reminds us of a greater threat. He was quoted as famously saying, “Our country won’t go on forever if we stay as soft as we are now. There won’t be any America because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race.”

Masculine Men Confront Toxicity

I believe sensitive men of frail physique have a rightful and just place in society. Moreover, one could not have the traditional masculine look and yet be quite masculine in all its virtues. So, I’m not saying I’m going to raise my son to be Mongo from Blazing Saddles. However, I do want him to understand that his body holds the capacity for great strength and if trained accordingly it can be there for him and others in a time when toxic men need to be confronted. So yes, the skinny jean wearing hipster crying at the sight of a rainbow is indeed a man and he is under no obligation to live his life according to my definition of masculinity. That being said, there are some situations in life that call for hard pipe hitting S.O.B who knows how to gift violence to his fellow man. Just take this example below.

The bully who was punching a blind kid is most certainly the kind of toxic male we have all come to loathe. The kid who came in at the end to gift a little justice on behalf of the weak embraces the finer virtue of masculinity. The rest of the males that sat around and watched a blind kid get beat up represent a world without masculinity. Evil men and hostile nations will offer no discount of tyranny to a society that abdicated the only cure for their behavior.

Now, some might submit that masculinity was the problem in the first place and creates such bullies. Without a culture of masculinity then such toxic men wouldn’t exist. Hogwash I say. Evil men have been doing evil things to one another ever since Cain first gave Able the stank eye. Until that changes we need hard charging men ready to step into the fray on behalf of the rest of us. Think of it as a nuclear arms race. I too would love to see a world without nuclear weapons, but in the push to disarm the bad guys go first. Masculinity calls on men to see evil and confront it. It calls a man to take action when only action can solve the problem.

Boys to Men

The viral Gillette commercial which called for men to be better men has brought the subject of masculinity to the cultural forefront his past week. I don’t necessarily have a problem with the video as the message is generally positive. However, what all need to understand is that there is a reason masculinity is associated with men rather than boys. To grow in masculinity is nothing short of its own separate puberty where one feels a little funny while trying to figure it all out. There are mistakes a long the way and awkward moments, but the end result is worth the clumsy process. One can’t look at a toxic and misguided boy and blame masculinity, for masculinity is the cure and not the cause when seasoned with age. Isn’t that right Squints?

I can remember seeing bullies pick on kids on the school bus and being angry about it. Yet, too timid to speak up or even offers strength in numbers. I’d go home feeling guilty about it, but unsure of what to do. As a young adult, I cheated on a girl I was seriously dating at one point. I’m a little ashamed of that fact as such behavior is not the sort of masculinity I would want to teach my son. At the time, I just broke up with the girl the next day as I considered a sort of “24 hour” rule close enough. Yet, as I matured as a young man I’ve been faithful to my wife since our first date.

Then, thanks to the guidance and instruction of the USMC, the kid that was too timid on the school bus was moving towards the sound of enemy fire in Iraq. After all, I’ve adopted the general policy that says if you shoot at me I will shoot at you back. There is a process to embracing the finer virtues of masculinity and it needs to be taught and guided rather than shunned. We cannot as a society, let masculinity become a dirty word and I fear that is where we are heading.

Final Note to the Ladies

In the voice and tone of Brett Kavanaugh announcing his affection for beer, hear this. Look, I liked women. I still like women. Do you like women senator? What kind of women do you like? It didn’t take me long past the time hair started showing up in funny places on my body to learn that I really liked women. I honestly can’t say that it was anything that culturally taught to me that I was supposed to like women, as biology seemed to be my primary instructor. In fact, let’s just let this commercial sum it up for me.

That being said, I am in a committed relationship with my wife and it is our goal to faithfully honor the pledge that only death can separate what God has joined. So sad as it may be for you all, I’m off the market. However, I’m also glad I’m off the market because I am entirely unsure how to date in an era where one is seemingly being told not to chase object of our affection.

As the video indicates, men have done incredibly stupid things in pursuit of women. I will teach my son to honor and respect women in every way. Moreover, with two daughters I am hoping that other fathers are out there teaching their sons the same for their sake. However, I do believe that courting and hoping to win the consent of the woman for a date perhaps even a kiss one day seems proper. If there is something else I need to be doing, well, I’m going to need you ladies to chime in and offer a little direction. I will not teach my son that women are a conquest to be won, but being happily married I can’t help but still believe that in finding the right one the pursuit is worth it.

In Conclusion

America needs masculinity and desperately more so in a dangerous world. Taking care of one’s responsibility is masculine. Standing up for the weak is masculine. Being a man of honor and integrity is masculine. Hitting the dance floor after a couple of drinks to impress the ladies may not be masculine, but well, its the dance of our kind and we do it for you ladies. To pursue a lady whose beauty captures your eye and laugh warms your heart is still masculine, I think.

Bottom line, when the world quits making evil men then perhaps masculinity will indeed be an outdated concept. Until then, we need masculinity more than ever. Chesty Puller’s quote might be a bit of an exaggeration and I pray it will never come to pass. However, I have thousands of years of history to prove that the only cure for bad men is for better men to stand ready to do violent things on your behalf. We need masculinity America and I’m sticking to it.

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Jeff Edwards

5 Comments

  1. My mother, my sister, and any of my female cousins would have kicked the everliving shit out of that bully and none of them are remotely “masculine.” Don’t confuse courage and strength with masculinity; they are not the same thing.

    • Jeff is simply saying that being masculine means displaying courage and strength; this isn’t the same as saying that courage and strength are traits solely for men to show (which are definitely not – think Boudica). Hope that clears things up.

    • Chunk – spot on. My wife compares herself to a mother bear when recalling times she’s had to defend children – it hasn’t been in physical situations, but there’s no doubt in my mind if it was she’d give her all. Civilized behavior – being responsible, taking care of one’s own, being part of a community and building it, being willing to stand up and be counted – are proper, not merely masculine.

  2. Great article. I can appreciate how the author resists absolutes and understands the honorable application of violence is different than the use of violence as a means to dominate the weak. That being said, it is this very gendered view of strength and violence that *does* lead to the toxic applications of masculinity. Standing up for the weak is not just the responsibility of the male. Being physically fit is not just good for the male. Knowing when and how to use violence (when no other options exist) is not just the right of the male. It has NOTHING to do with masculinity. Justice, Honor, and Strength are values… not masculine ones.

    The violence of the second bully (Bullying a bully is still bullying) was not the only solution to that problem, and the rapid escalation is *precisely* why masculinity is so fragile. Violence is always a bad choice, even if it isn’t the wrong choice. While it feels good to give someone “a taste of their own medicine”.. it is exactly that endorphin release and reification of the ego that leads to more violence. What that kid learned was that might makes right, he just has to be more careful about where and how he picks his victims.. just like his attacker did. On top of that, in his attempt to be Just, the second kid failed to be compassionate. He didnt stop the first bully from being an a-hole, he just scared him into not doing around him. If he was really so much stronger/faster/more violent than the first bully, he should have used that strength to confront the bully, help the bully, and show kindness… from that position of strength (and escalate only when forced). He chose to escalate immediately instead, and I can assure you the first bully was already in pain before he was struck… now it is just worse.

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