We need more masculinity, not less
With every mass murder, bloody war, sexual assault, and gang-related shooting, there is usually one common denominator: men. Universally, violence, ambition, aggression, and conquest appear unique to the male psyche. When unchecked, these attributes are what many refer to as "toxic masculinity." The solution to war, crime, violence, and greed is glaringly obvious to some. We just need to make men less masculine, right? Would not the world be more peaceful if all men were more like women? I do not believe so. Today, we need more masculinity, not less.
Trying to make men more like women does not result in less toxic masculinity. It results in more. Bad men become good when they are no longer bad, not when they are no longer men. Violence, aggression, greed, and ambition cannot be plucked from a male's nature, but they can be harnessed.
The same masculine traits that cause violence were also found in those young boys who went to Europe in 1942, chasing Adolf Hitler to his doom. Those same masculine traits that lead to selfish ambition also led to an American flag being planted on the Moon. Those same masculine traits that cause greed also led to the development of the American economic juggernaut. And those same masculine traits that lead men to make immature and reckless decisions are also those found in Smokejumpers, the Special Forces, and Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers. Less masculinity is not the solution to our problems, but rather better masculinity, and more of it.
Masculinity is a father working hard to provide for his family; a teenager holding the door open on a first date; a kid who stands up to the school bully; a team like the Granite Mountain Hotshots, made up of 19 men who burned alive in 2,000 degree heat, fighting a wildfire in Arizona that everyone else was running from; and a man like Navy SEAL Officer Michael Murphy, who selflessly sacrificed his life in Afghanistan so his teammate, Marcus Luttrell, could live.
The growing problem in today's society is not that men are becoming too masculine, but rather that they are not masculine enough. When men embrace their masculinity, they become providers, protectors, leaders, and heroes. On the contrary, when masculinity is lacking, men run away from their true nature, and the country is littered with the consequences: fatherless homes, leading to an increased likelihood that their kids will experience anxiety and depression, get in trouble with the law, and drop out of school; the growing idea that winning, running up the score, and competition are suddenly a bad thing, leading to a generation of boys that never learn a crucial lesson in life: failure; and fewer men brave enough to step up when the times are toughest, protect the innocent, and engage those who wish to do harm.
Without true masculinity, toxic behavior is not only increased, but allowed to run rampant, as few good men are left to stop it. We need more masculinity, not less.