Are Real Men Heroes that Never Play Videogames? Metaxas Says Yes. He’s Wrong.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

One of the hardest topics for evangelicals to biblically, carefully, thoughtfully, and lovingly address is gender roles. Almost without fail, we muck things up, confusing gender for sex, cultural values for biblical values, and violence for selflessness. In Issue 3 of the Christ and Pop Culture Magazine, Benjamin Bartlett will offer an in depth look at “manliness” and the church. But something happened this week that gave me pause and reminded me why we need to have this conversation.

Noted author and increasingly influential evangelical figure Eric Metaxas has just released a new book chronicling the lives of seven famous, heroic men, called Seven Men. He was interviewed at National Review Online about this new book and made some unsettling statements about what it means to be a man, as a Christian.

It could be that in his book Metaxas clarifies and defines and qualifies these statements. But as a published interview which would be read by many people who will never read his book, Metaxas is responsible for the statements he makes. Nothing Metaxas says is particularly out of the ordinary for the way we evangelicals discuss gender roles, but that’s why they stood out to me. Metaxas’s statements reflect, I think, a significant segment of evangelicalism. And if we look closely at his comments, they are sweeping, unsupported, and dangerous.

Metaxas begins:

We have a crisis of manhood in our culture. We’re afraid to talk about what it means to be a man, so I wanted to talk about it and show the lives of seven truly great men.

No evidence is given to support the assertion that we are in a “crisis of manhood in our culture,” because Metaxas relies on popular images of limp-wristed hipsters in tight jeans and twenty-somethings playing CoD: 4 in their parents’ garage. If you buy into that narrative about the “younger generation,” then you’re likely to skim right past Metaxas’s claim, head-nodding the whole way. But let’s not do that.

This young man is undoubtedly a part of this crisis of manhood.

What exactly is this “crisis of manhood”? What has caused it? What defines it? Who is affected by it? Without acknowledging and addressing these basic questions, any attempt to solve this “crisis” is pretty misguided.

Even more fundamental: Is this a crisis of manhood or some other crisis? Narcissism, listlessness, irresponsibility—are these trends gender specific or is it that we’ve decided a priori that laziness is a problem with men, but not women, who are really designed for relaxed labor anyway?

I suspect that really what we are seeing as evidence of a “loss of manhood” is really a malaise of consumerism, unrestrained individualism, narcissism, and rampant technological changes. And while the particular ways these problems materialize may tend to be gender specific, they are not at the core gender problems.

Regardless, what’s important to see here is that Eric Metaxas’s claims are undefined and rest entirely on prior views about the younger generation.

Metaxas continues:

[S]omewhere along the line in the last 40 years we lost our idea of what a man is. Every parent knows that a young man needs to know what it means to be a man — and that he needs and wants heroes. But in about the same way that we’ve shrunk from saying what a man is, we’ve denigrated the idea of heroes in general. Deep down, all men want to live heroic lives. And unless I missed something, playing video games isn’t all that heroic.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but I just want to focus on Metaxas’s shoddy use of language and how it mucks up any serious discussion of gender.

What exactly has changed in the past 40 years? Are men less “masculine”? How do you know? Are there more boys wearing effeminate clothes? The 1960s say otherwise. Are men less “chivalrous”? By what standard? How do you know?

Generalizations about society-wide shifts in gender-identity and behavior really require thorough and careful research. Otherwise, all that we are left with are our presuppositions about changing gender roles—ones that have been formed by our rather incomplete personal experiences. But it’s not merely these generalizations which I find troubling, it’s also his flippant use of terms like “heroic.”

Do “all men want to live heroic lives”? Yes, I suppose they do, if we define “heroic” in certain ways. All men want to live lives of significance and purpose and greatness and sacrifice, but don’t women? Really, who doesn’t want to live a “heroic” life? I know my daughter does.

My daughter, airbending.

Her favorite show right now is Avatar: The Last Airbender, and when she inevitably asks me to play Avatar with her, I get to be Sokka; she’s the heroic Aang. She makes a pretty fine airbender, as you can tell from the snapshots.

I’m not trying to argue that my little girl’s desire to be the hero is normative for all little girls, but it is worth noting that boys aren’t the only ones who want to be a hero deep down.

But let’s take another step back from heroism altogether; is it good to encourage your young boys (or girls) to be a hero? Is that natural, deep, basic desire to be the protagonist in the story of your life admirable? Does it lead to Christian virtues?

In my experience as a boy (and even now, as oft-day-dreamer adult), the desire to be a hero almost always manifested as a desire to attain my existential justification through personal greatness. It was an alternate salvation—a salvation through being a heroic savior. If I could do something heroic, even if it cost me everything, then I would know that I mattered. I was worth something. My existence would be assured, and this assurance would be verified by those around me.

I still want to live a heroic life. But I don’t think I should. I think I should want to live quietly, to do all that I do unto God and for my neighbor, and to do all this without believing that through my quiet suffering I am redeeming myself.

Maybe the desire to live a “heroic life” can be virtuous, but even if that is the case, it is far from self-evident, and so Metaxas’s casual use of the term is troubling.

Metaxas’s conclusion about the heroic life is that men have exchanged real heroism for playing videogames, which is not heroic. This comment is a non sequitur—it does not follow from the claim that many men play videogames that they do not desire and actively pursue a heroic life. Again, Metaxas is being sloppy with his language and appealing to this popular cultural image of the adult man wasting his life playing videogames. Mark Driscoll would be proud of Metaxas’s choice here. This generalization doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny.

Why videogames? Why not point out that watching football isn’t heroic? Or working on cars? Or Tweeting? Or any other of the myriad ways people waste time in the 21st century?

How many men devote all the heroic energy to saving the princess in the castle rather than the princess in their real life? Who knows. What matters here is that to a certain readership, “videogames” are a symbol of all that is wrong with the younger generation.

Let’s look at one more answer from Metaxas. Lopez asks him about the three men who sacrificed themselves during the Aurora shooting to save their girlfriends:

Of course, this is what men are supposed to do. It’s what I’d want a man to do if he was with my daughter or my mother or my wife, and it’s certainly what I would expect myself to do. Men express their love this way. It’s how God made us. Of course, women typically don’t jump in front of their boyfriends to shield them from bullets, because that’s not how God made women to express their love. But we have to wonder: Why did God make men that way? Why would we instinctively want to protect others, even if it means dying ourselves? What’s that about?

That’s what this book is all about. Men and women are different. God created us different. What is God’s idea of a man and why aren’t we talking about that? I’d suggest that the three men who gave their lives to save their girlfriends give us a picture of God’s idea of a man. It’s heroic, and it’s beautiful and moving and we need to celebrate it.

Metaxas is right, of course. God did make men to be willing to jump in front of their loved one’s to save them, but self-sacrifice for our neighbor is not a gender-specific role. Note the way Metaxas genders sacrifice:

Why did God make men that way? Why would we instinctively want to protect others, even if it means dying ourselves? . . . I’d suggest that the three men who gave their lives to save their girlfriends give us a picture of God’s idea of a man. It’s heroic, and it’s beautiful and moving and we need to celebrate it.

God certainly made men that way, but the model of sacrifice given by Christ does not have implications for men only. All Christians, regardless of gender, are called to lay down their lives for their neighbors (see 1 John 3:16) and to defend the weak and defenseless. All of us are called to die to self, figuratively and when necessary, literally. Certainly Metaxas is right that we ought to celebrate that heroic, beautiful, and moving sacrifice of these three men, but the picture God gives of sacrifice is not strictly gendered masculine. If there is any doubt of this, see childbirth, particularly childbirth prior to the 20th century and still today in impoverished countries, where this most basic act of life-giving often leads to the death of the mother.

Gender is complicated. I don’t get it. I don’t know if there is an Ideal Godly Masculinity that I should be aspiring to. But I do know that most of the time, when someone claims that they Know What Biblical Manhood looks like, they don’t. They make claims that are indefensible. They use terms loosely. They draw upon cultural images of masculinity and femininity without considering their roots and presumptions.

I believe that our bodies help to define us, and gender is a part of that definition. I don’t believe in limitless individual freedom for self-definition. We are bodily, and we are defined bodily. But we need to be careful, particularly those who are treated as an authority in evangelicalism, to not perpetuate extra-biblical conceptions of gender.

About Alan Noble

(Co-Founder/Editor/Columnist) is a part-time lecturer at Baylor University. He received his PhD in Contemporary American Literature from Baylor, writing on manifestations of transcendence in 20th Century American Lit. He and his family attend Redeemer Waco, a PCA church. Alan's passion is studying how believers can be a faithful presence in culture to the glory of God and the edification of others. In addition to editing, Alan writes his column, Citizenship Confusion for CaPC.

---Follow Alan on Twitter @TheAlanNoble and on Facebook.

---For questions, comments, or interest in speaking engagements please email me at noble.noneuclidean [at] gmail [dot] com.

  • http://twitter.com/GeeksOfChrist Mickey Haist Jr

    Crisis of manhood: post-adolescent boys trying to avoid household chores.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryanthomasn Ryan Thomas Neace

    WELL-SAID.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.bartholomew.988 Daniel Bartholomew

    A lot to think about, Alan.

    I guess what I feel about this whole issue is that men and women are not interchangeable–and American culture tries, step by step, to assume this. There definitely *ARE* Biblical roles for Christian men and women that are not necessarily interchangeable. But again, these should not be confused with what the cultural norms of, say, the 1950′s America.

    In popular culture specifically, let’s see how men are usually portrayed–it ain’t pretty. In SitComs, most husbands/fathers are functional morons (Family Guy, The Simpsons, All in the Family, Married with Children, etc.) Women are usually wise, practical and open-minded while men (especially white, heterosexual men) are usually buffoons. I suppose this was a “corrective” to an unrealistic depiction of “father knows best”, but instead of trying to create strong role models of both men and women, it decided to denigrate one to bring up the other. (The classic method of the Accuser–do not help, only hurt and call it a “helpful corrective”.)

    Of course, we all laugh at Homer Simpson–and that does say something, what I don’t know. Another example: a guy getting kicked in the groin is considered funny by many; but only a misogynist would consider it funny to have that happen to a woman. We even think it funny to joke about the rape of men in prison, but are universally disgusted by the rape of women in the same context.

    What does it all mean? I’m not exactly sure, except that even the pop culture has definite gender roles, though certainly not biblical ones. I agree that the “hero” model is not the best–it’s more a carryover of the pagan demigod view than anything else. But pop culture deserves a lot of examination and (I believe) condemnation for portraying and reinforcing some very ugly images of gender.

  • http://twitter.com/GeeksOfChrist Mickey Haist Jr

    A few years ago, my (future) wife and I tried to pin down positive male and female figures in pop culture. It was a tiny little list!

    Anne Shirley was on top. Dr Stone, from ‘The Donna Reed Show,’ was on there for some reason. I mean, he was alright. I think we included him because he wasn’t as chillingly dishonest as his contemporary TV-dad Ward Cleaver, who I admired as a kid.

    But anyway, trying to list good role models in pop culture is a good exercise that I would recommend for everyone. I think parents and family-starters would especially benefit from it.

  • Gregory

    You seem to make a good many presumptions concerning his presumptions.

  • http://twitter.com/ST_U2 Stuart Blessman

    Let’s forget for a moment that videogames are a trillion dollar industry made up of both men and women, but especially men who are working 65 hour work weeks in order to provide for their families…

    Let’s forget about reality for just a moment. I’m sure Metaxas is absolutely correct because he said so.

  • http://twitter.com/ST_U2 Stuart Blessman

    I wish Mark Driscoll would take a week and go hang out at the Penny Arcade offices or take a weekend and attend PAX. May change his stance significantly.

  • Esther Starr

    I think Eric would be the first to applaud a quiet life lived selflessly unto the Lord as no lower a form of heroism than that displayed by Bonhoeffer or the other men he praises. To imply that he would denigrate such a life as “less heroic” is unfair to Metaxas and gives the impression that you’re trying to evade his point. Moreover, I doubt Metaxas would think highly of vegging out in front of the TV or wasting your time on Twitter. Videogames was one typical example, and it makes a nice contrast because many videogames involve waging fake war and rescuing fake damsels in distress.

    Surely you could name people in your own life whom you admire greatly. Perhaps your own parents, or some other figure of authority who taught and guided you in some way. Perhaps you would even call them “heroes.” A world where nobody had any human role models would be a pretty sad, cynical, lonely world. In my opinion, it is not a healthy model for the church. Metaxas is tapping into something that’s both basic and biblical.

    And whether you like it or not, heroism and sacrifice do have distinctly masculine connotations. Are they the only connotations? No—women can, in their own way, provide models of strength and courage. However, the instinct to be warriors and to protect women in physical ways is a very masculine thing. And the instinct to bond with other men in a brotherhood of strength is also a very masculine thing, as witnessed in the army, sports, or any other endeavor which men are particularly well-designed to tackle. (This is why allowing women into such institutions has proven so disastrous in so many ways.)

    Note that I’m NOT saying that men who are uninterested in sports are less manly. Some men are nerds. Some men would rather stay inside reading a book than play basketball. That’s fine! I’m sure Metaxas wouldn’t accuse them of being “man fails.” Once again, you’re being unfair to Metaxas to exaggerate his words in this way. The statement, “Women should not do x” is not equivalent to the statement, “All men should do x.”

    The trouble is, you just seem to have difficulty admitting that there’s something unique and special about male leadership and male heroism. I would just say watch any good war movie, any good sports movie, any movie showing men in action. Watch Jim Lovell and Gene Kranz in Apollo 13. Watch Bill Courtney in Undefeated. These aren’t stereotypes, these are true stories of male leadership and male bonding. What if Jim Lovell had been a woman? What if you had thrown a couple girls into the team of Undefeated? It would change the entire dynamic, and not in a good way. (For example, think of the scene in Apollo 13 where Lovell embraces his fellow astronaut and rubs him vigorously to keep him warm in the frozen command module.) And I think, deep down, you know it would.

  • Susan Gerard

    “women can, in their own way, provide models of strength and courage.”

    I chose to provide a model of strength and courage by overcoming poverty, getting an education, becoming a physician and (yes, it’s true) occasionally having the honor of saving lives, co-homeschooling my children with my husband (with whom I shared a full-time position as physician in an ER), sharing parenting and household upkeep with my husband, and trying to be wise and good and loving and godly in my behavior (I failed a lot in this last part). Is that what you mean by a woman’s own way? What about my husband? Did we both succeed or did we both fail? I did once have to talk my husband into allowing me to buy a Playschool kitchen stove for the boys to play with. They really loved it. Did I make a terrible mistake? They both love to cook. Who knows.

    The desire to live a heroic life is not found on the Y chromosome. And heroism has many definitions, but mostly they involve sacrifice. My brother in law who teaches in a public school, coaches a lacrosse team and is involved Young Life is a hero in my eyes. So is my quiet sister in law who has sacrificed daily to being the best mother of four she can be.

    Mattaxas’ posturing reminds me of animals which make themselves “bigger” to appear more dangerous or desirous, and your comments lead me to think that you have bought into a (esp. Christian) cultural worldview of the differences between man and woman.

    What nonsense. We are all called to one thing – to be Christlike, whatever form that takes. God also recognized a need for a Sabbath. How someone relaxes is not my concern. All of humanity has been in crisis since the Fall. News? Only men? Nope.

  • Esther Starr

    Yeah, actually, that’s about what I mean by “a woman’s own way,” and I’m pretty sure that’s what Metaxas would mean too. Everyone seems to have missed this, but he’s actually planning to write a book called _Seven Women_. I guess that’s going to be about heroic women, or something.

    I’m a little surprised to see you comparing Eric Metaxas to an “animal.” That seems kind of judgmental and inflammatory. Yes, sacrifice is a universal virtue. But, in other news, boys need male role models. Why is this so controversial? Perhaps you’ve bought into a worldview of your own, one that apparently gives you the right to talk hatefully and judgmentally about men.

  • Esther Starr

    However, your comment does make me curious—how would you address the specific examples I cited where a distinctly masculine form of leadership/bonding/courage was on display? Would you say that it wouldn’t change things significantly to replace Jim Lovell with a woman in _Apollo 13_, or to put a female coach in charge of the football team in _Undefeated_? Would you say that it doesn’t matter whether or not our sports teams are mixed-gender? Our military?

    I ask because so far, nothing you’ve cited as an example of female heroism is particularly offensive to a complementarian sensibility. Believe it or not, many complementarians believe it’s fine for childless women to pursue high-flying careers. Yours truly has her sights set on a doctorate in pure mathematics. Some of us even believe that men can be great chefs too. (I realize that’s a shocker on all counts.)

  • http://twitter.com/sometimesalight hannah anderson

    As much as I appreciate the move away from gendered virtues, I still think there is merit in offering examples to each sex of what maturity will look like embodied in a masculine or feminine form. Maybe it’s simply a matter of being able to identify with more easily with a woman as a woman, but I’ve never been inspired by male heroes the way I have been by heroines. Mary Slessor does something different for me than David Livingstone does. There’s something worth exploring there…

  • Susan Gerard

    I’m surprised you wonder what I care, for you have already labeled me. But because you do, I will answer you. I cringed at your example of a woman in Jim Lovell’s place. I would hope and expect that a woman who had achieved the rank and experience he had would behave in the exact same way.

    I didn’t say boys didn’t need male role models. That’s why I think every family should have a (hopefully decent) father. And I confess to some surprise and at your characterization of me. I did judge the man but I don’t hate him, nor do I spout hatefulness.

    Also, do you watch women’s Olympic events, or women’s sports? How about women in auto racing? Your ideas on male bonding seem quaint to me. We all need friends. Hope this answers your questions.

  • Esther Starr

    Yes, thank you, it does. (To clarify, I have nothing against women’s Olympic events. In re-reading my initial comment I can see how that might be unclear. What I’m specifically opposed to is mixed-gender sports.)

  • Jake Tolbert

    Well said. I find the whole Christian manliness thing rather disturbing, an attempt to baptize a very clearly cultural view.

  • Esther Starr

    I remember years ago when I first watched the film _The Great Escape_. In the behind the scenes material, there was some surprise expressed over the fact that despite the lack of a love interest, the film had performed even better among women than men. Myself, I don’t think that’s surprising at all. I find heroic men attractive. :)

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com/ Findo

    I appreciate what you’ve written here, and not being American, it’s hard to say how many of the cultural assumptions I might carry across too.. but, I couldn’t help but think that it cuts both ways. There’s no cultural neutrality, and it might just be that pushback to the kind of thing Metaxas is saying assumes a post-sexual-revolution ” cultural images of masculinity and femininity without considering their roots and presumptions.”. I mean, it is a bit presumptive of us to think that our little slice of history, a few decades old has managed to figure it out in comparison to the rest of humanity in history, isn’t it? But maybe we have.. I guess I’m just a little wary of saying that something is wrong because it assumes a certain cultural background. What if that culture was right?

    Anyhow.. that’s just me thinking out loud. Clearly a thought provoking piece ;)

  • http://twitter.com/sometimesalight hannah anderson

    As a woman, I am absolutely attracted to a man who expresses maturity through self-sacrifice and care. But because of gender differences, when it is embodied in a male, I respond to it with attraction, not with the desire to model it. When it is embodied in a woman, I feel propelled to be a better version of myself.

    Sometimes I think we overstate the obvious–gender is not the goal but a means by which we express full-personhood. In this sense, I think it would be more productive to stop differentiating between masculinity and femininity and recognize that the question is one of immaturity vs. maturity. It’s the difference between boys and men and girls and women.

  • Esther Starr

    I see your point, but I do think there’s a danger that comes with trying to suppress ordinary observations about the differences between genders. It does seem like some things SHOULDN’T have to be said, but enough people are denying them that I think people like Metaxas are a needed corrective. If I’m not mistaken, you consider yourself a complementarian (albeit New Wave), and hence still opposed to the idea that men and women are interchangeable in all contexts. Is that a fair representation of your view?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tddalrymple Timothy Dalrymple

    I think trillion-dollar is an overstatement, isn’t it? Maybe you were being hyperbolic, but I believe it’s something in the vicinity of an $8b industry in the United States, which would make a trillion dollars globally seem well out of reach.

  • Tyler Aberle

    “We have a crisis…we are afraid to talk about what it means to be a man…”

    I agree that care is warranted – yet –haven’t you illustrated the crisis he names?? You can say a lot about what it is not and how it has been misrepresented, but nothing substantial about what it is. You make his point. Is there little to say about masculinity or femininity other than “hey stop putting us into a mold…” and “women do it too…”?

    Again –“in the last 40 years we lost our idea of what a man is…” –how do you (we) meaningfully characterize masculinity? “its complicated…” –ok, and??

    That stance leaves me wondering does it really matter whether you are male or female beyond the body that you have? And then, why not change it if you don’t like it? If we (rightfully) say it’s a mystery, its complicated, is that really enough?
    If we say it’s important –why? how?

    How do you read story? Are there any threads or streams that run through times and cultures that provide some clues?

    Yes, you want to be a person who honors God and loves others, but do you want to be a male person who honors God? Does it make any difference at all?

  • http://twitter.com/sometimesalight hannah anderson

    Complementarian is a loaded word as we’ve all been reminded recently. :-)

    I do believe that male and female are legitimate distinctions for helping us understand each other and finding our place in the world, but I get nervous when we make gender the defining characteristic of personhood. I don’t believe that achieving “maleness” or “femaleness” is the ultimate goal because gender is a gifting as much as any other gifting I have. That’s also why I don’t find conversations propelled by defining femininity and masculinity very productive. Even when we say that gender is being blurred, it isn’t really. A man attempting to be a woman still strikes us as odd because we fundamentally understand the difference between men and women–even secular society, as much it tries, cannot escape the difference which is why we still find it funny (and disturbing) when men masquerade as women. I suppose I don’t believe it’s even possible to reach a non-gendered society–expectations for gender will change but we will always be able to distinguish between men and women.

    Having said that, I think the established paradigms in the conservative church make it difficult to talk about male and female tendencies without appearing as if we are creating two distinct classes of humanity. I think the deeper issue is how our rhetorical structures add layers of meaning to simple observations about men and women and end up making the differences more important than they are. But that’s something we correct by correcting our core assumptions not necessarily by minimizing the differences between genders.

  • Esther Starr

    Here you say, “Even when we say that gender is being blurred, it isn’t really.” But then you say “even secular society, _as much it tries_, cannot escape the difference…” It’s the fact that it’s trying so hard that we’re concerned about, even to the extent of encouraging children to have sex reassignment surgery if they decide they want to “be” the opposite gender. Some forms even provide an “Other” option for indicating one’s gender! You seem aware of this kind of thing, hence your reference to how hard society is trying to escape these differences. I guess my question then is, what would a TRUE “blurring” of gender look like by your definition? Because I admit it’s difficult for me to come up with examples more extreme than what I’m finding in the real world right now.

  • http://twitter.com/sometimesalight hannah anderson

    I suppose I don’t believe “blurring” can happen in the truest philosophical sense. Yes, we can deny the reality of gender, and in response, yes, we can even talk about gender distinctions until we are blue in the face; but in the end, we cannot affect in the least the reality of gender. Gender is a cosmic truth that does not change, as O’Connor said, “with our ability to stomach it.” Or our ability to perform cosmetic surgery. (I mean who really believed that it was a pregnant “man” who gave birth a couple years ago? No one. We all knew it was a woman for the simple reason that she gave birth.)

    So my point is simply that we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off afraid that we’re somehow going to lose gender distinctions. Certainly as a culture, we may not acknowledge those distinctions, we may life lives in defiance to reality, but we won’t lose them any more than we would loose the sun if we closed our eyes and pretended it didn’t exist.

    The question in my mind is how we respond to society’s gender theory–do we shape our own views in reaction to theirs? or do we calmly, patiently proceed down the path of truth knowing what it reality and what is not.

  • Esther Starr

    Somebody disliked my comment about _The Great Escape_? Really? Oh well, I guess they don’t find heroic men attractive. Love ya one-star hater!

  • Esther Starr

    “Certainly as a culture, we may not acknowledge those distinctions, we may life lives in defiance to reality…”

    Again, my point is that this is more than enough to create a crisis in our culture! No, of course gender can’t metaphysically be erased. Like in your example, of course it was a woman who gave birth, she’d just taken male hormones.

    However, it’s clear that the effects of merely _pretending_ one can erase or change gender on a metaphysical level have been and will continue to be crushing.

  • Y. A. Warren

    Thank you for this. I believe we are opening new doors for defining male and female roles in equal partnerships. This is what I celebrate.

  • http://twitter.com/sometimesalight hannah anderson

    This is an interesting piece in light of this discussion:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/may/14/male-identity-crisis-machismo-abbott?CMP=twt_gu

    “Britain is facing a “crisis of masculinity”, with rapid economic change warping male identity and encouraging machismo and misogyny, the Labour MP Diane Abbott will claim on Thursday.”

    The ironic thing is that she defines the crisis as hypermasculinity, increased aggression, and misogyny. She also identifies some of the sociological factors that she believes are contributing to this, including consumerism and wide-spread use of pornography.

  • Esther Starr

    Well, that just shows that there are dangers on either side. For example, here in America there’s a tiny fringe movement called the “manosphere” which is exaggeratedly misogynistic and advocates something like patriarchy. But I don’t know any prominent leaders in the complementarian debate who would hesitate to renounce those guys, much like I don’t know any prominent leaders in conservative evangelicalism who would hesitate to renounce Westboro Baptist.

  • Susan Gerard

    Y.A., I appreciate and agree with “equal partnerships”, and can support that biblicly. But “defining male and female roles” seems so limiting. Can something so complex as “male” and “female” be defined by roles (other than biologically)? Is there no spirit, no breath, no fluidity to how our gender expresses itself in the way we lead our lives? Or, perhaps I have done you a disservice by misreading your post? If I have, please forgive me.

  • Y. A. Warren

    What I refer to is my belief that individually, and as teams, we need to define our goals and what each partner does to reach the goals, based in our individual and collective gifts.

    My husband was better at soothing a crying baay; I was better at cooking. He held the babies while I got supper on the table.

  • Susan Gerard

    Thank you for your reply. That, to me, is fluidity, so clearly I misunderstood your post. :-)

  • golden izanagi

    actually this article has me thinking on why the mushroom kingdom hasn’t enacted any kind of contingency plans for any kind of prevention for there princess who is being constantly kidnapped by a giant fire breathing dinosaur.

  • Stuart Blessman

    …have we reached the point where overstatements are not valid? The point being, it’s a very high revenue industry. I’m sorry for not supplying to the decimal point how much the industry makes per quarter. I will do better to be more factual and thus more truthful next time.


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