By: Ariel Hobbs, Columnist
As a woman, I embrace my femininity and the graceful beauty of the feminine genius God has gifted me with. For the past few years as I’ve grown more aware of political sentiments held by my peers, I’ve noticed more women among my friends and acquaintances wanting to be “the same” and “equal” to men. These views have encouraged the push by society to criticize man’s God-given masculinity, as seen in many forms of media today. For that reason, I feel compelled to speak in defense of the masculinity society has chosen to label as toxic and oppressive.
Growing up, I questioned everything, from God’s existence to why the tides flow and ebb to the broad subject of this article: gender roles. As I questioned the matter, a dear mentor quoted the rather well-known saying “Women and men are equal in value, different in kind, and complementary in nature.” But why is this the case?
Biology is partly at fault here. Men are naturally driven to protect women and their children and provide for them. This is seen through the anatomical differences between men and women. For example, men have 40% more skeletal muscle on the upper body and 33% more skeletal muscle on the lower body than women (Physiology). Testosterone plays a major part in this, heightening cognitive abilities (at a certain age for men when frontal lobes are developed) and also increasing muscle mass. In this way, we differ in kind, as a result of being made for different roles.
Men are naturally driven to lead, but also to sacrifice. Women also have the ability to lead when the situation calls for it, but have a greater affinity for empathy and nurturing. These are facts of life, the way human race is biologically and chemically wired. No one can change this, no matter how hard they try to change the mentality of society. In fact, I believe that the complementarity of man and woman is a beautiful gift, showing the remarkable fitting nature of God’s design.
What is causing this movement against masculinity? In my opinion, a lack of appreciation on the part of women themselves for the gifts God has given us. Many of us are not satisfied with who we are and want to change ourselves. There is a devaluation of recognizing the inherent dignity and beauty of being a woman. There is also an exaggeration of the problem of sexual harassment. Yes, it exists and is an issue that needs to be addressed. But, the root of the problem is certainly not masculinity, and certainly not all men engage in such behavior. Rather, it is the objectification of each other for sexual reasons that both men and women are guilty of. Instead, men need to control their passions. In turn, women should avoid unwanted attention by not over-sexualizing their bodies. Society has done an excellent job of raising awareness to an important issue, but to help address it, we must now shift our thinking as a whole to recognizing the human person as being of inherent value and dignity, created in image and likeness of God, rather than an object for sexual pleasure.
Now, I’m not calling for a patriarchal or matriarchal society. Neither is good, for too much masculinity or too much femininity leads to either an excess of stoicism and a lack of empathy or too much emotion and not enough rational thought. This is where the complementarity between the sexes comes into place. We need the balance we get from each other.
Men are supposed to be bold, sacrificial, protective, strong, providers, warriors, and leaders. Men are called to stand vehemently for those they love and cherish. Men are called to lay down their lives for us women. Why fight it? Why not accept their love?
Editor’s Note: The following article does NOT claim that toxic masculinity doesn’t exist. It certainly does. It’s primary objective is to state that not all masculinity is harmful, as some media giants have touted. Additionally, all references to specific situations have been removed to make this article more general and applicable.
I didn’t understand what was so offensive about the Gillette commercial. At worst it seemed a bit vague, but most of the examples shown were actually pretty good examples of toxic masculinity.
I believe the commercial was not attacking masculinity but instead toxic masculinity. The commercial focused on catcalling, bullying, and perpetuating stereotypes, if these are the cornerstones of “God-given masculinity” then I don’t want the men in my life to be masculine. But I’ve seen men who are the apex of strength and goodness without continuing the above-mentioned behaviours, and that’s the point. Of course “not all men engage in such [negative] behavior,” but how about we make it societally unacceptable for any man to engage in such negative behaviour.