Why the antidote for Toxic Masculinity isn’t PC culture.

As a father of boys, I’ve thought exhaustively about what it takes to be a good man. I’ve asked this of myself and my sons every day for the past 10 years and what I’ve learned is that the answer isn’t always so clear.

As people, we screw up and can only hope to learn from our mistakes and be better for them. This is why, for me, the question of what it takes to be a good man is one that must be asked daily. Life is a battle against both external and internal demons. The very concept of toxic masculinity refers to our internal demons; a cultural attitude about what it means to be a man and how sometimes this perception of masculinity can be detrimental to our society at large.

In my experience as a man I would say that yes, this is a thing.

I’ve seem this type of male behavior and I’ve participated in it. I’ve been weak where I should have been strong. I’ve objectified women and I’ve been insensative with my words. I come from the 90’s when homophobic language was just how we thought guys we’re supposed to relate to one another. I was a sheep following other sheep because to stand up in the herd might call attention to the wolves.

I want my boys to be brave enough to face those wolves.

I think a good man is one who knows in his heart what is virtuous and honorable. A great man is one who acts on it. Every man should question daily what it will take for him to be a good man.

But what of the meta narrative? What of the PC culture that is driving this exploration into the many facets of masculinity and it’s role in our society?

I want my boys to be brave enough to face those wolves.

To listen is good. But one must also think. Toxic masculinity as a concept has been weaponized. The internet is great at putting a loud speaker to the mouth pieces of a highly vocal minority. These voices are condemning all things “masculine.” Competition, aggression, dominance. These are not inherently bad behaviors, they are qualities of highly successful people. Contextualization matters. It’s my job as a dad to teach my sons the difference between fighting hard and fighting dirty. Morality is the piece of the equation that PC culture is leaving out when they condemn “masculine” behavior.

Moreover, the modern condemnation of toxic masculinity is one that reiteratively defines what a man should not do. This is no way to live. What I’ve learned is this; a man must ask himself daily what it takes to be a good man. He must know in his heart what is virtuous and honorable and then he must stand by his convictions, no matter what. He must know what to do.

I just want my boys to be brave enough to face those wolves.