I’ve been writing about manliness a lot recently because I realized that it had a political dimension that I was unaware of before. And to some extend I felt a bit silly because so few come out about it in the age of supposed “toxic masculinity.” We saw the rise of men’s magazines that look suspiciously veered towards a homosexual audience and advise almost exclusively on how to look hotter for your wife – pardon – your uncommitted partner (m/f). Primed like this, how would one dare to talk about masculinity for a different reason?
And I think the conversation is a complex task because men had a historic and biological responsibility that requires a strong moral foundation which we might have lost. To be specific, men were all about fighting, hunting prey, chasing off competing tribes from scarce ressoures, protecting the own tribe against the others, shielding your wife and children against animals and other hazards and enforcing the laws. History has presented many men of loose moral who fought for all the wrong reasons, who fell prey to lies and who were irresponsibly failing at protecting themselves against such lies.
Yet, somewhere people must start to talk again. When I went to school, an image of masculinity was readily available and teachers whipped us into shape. I remember a geography teacher who was keen to learn about the schoolyard brawls. When he figured that a boy in one of his classes fought for a higher moral like breaking up brawls or protecting smaller kids, he would praise the pupil for his courage in front of the entire class. For him the schoolyard was a self-regulating ecosystem that just needed some moral encouragement to be stable.
A sports teacher of mine used to call out boys who performed poorly with the question, “Do you only have a big mouth or also something in your arms?” It was a parent-proof way to communicate that muscles aren’t just for looks or to carry around heavy stuff. A physics teacher of mine took the opportunity of a lesson about Newton’s laws and how opposing forces cancel each other out to challenge a boy to arm wrestling. After he said “go” and waited a bit, he shamed the boy with “Press harder, you weakling! I don’t feel anything!”
The Latin teacher explained that “perverse” literally means that people twisted somehow their gender identities. He gave us a little harangue so that we know how only feminine women can hope to find a real man and how only a tough man will get a hot wife. A biology teacher of mine opined that modern men often don’t get their private parts up anymore because of their masculinized women. Although we have now better information about some of these ideas and should adapt a bit to accommodate homo- and transsexuals, it was clear what ideals were espoused and whipping them into us was a sensible thing to do.
Now I have found an Australian blog called Brisbane Crew which discusses manliness in all shapes and forms. The authors write under pseudonyms to avoid discrimination for their “toxic masculinity.” In a first text called “Development” writer “Founder A” explains why a man should try to avoid comfort. It is adversity and discomfort that leads men to do extraordinary things for the community. Founder B asks to be socially compatible, but put your “Focus on Yourself, Not Others.” It is a truism Thatcher also voiced. If you want to please everybody, you achieve nothing for anybody. For evolutionary reasons men have an easier time to embrace this lesson. Their topics range from Iron Rules of Tamassi and dating tips, over grooming tips, career, lifestyle, testosterone (individually and the slump in the West), alphas and betas, to bringing back manly virtues and much more. Minds differ also within the Crew. One argues for masculine self-sufficiency, another one has sympathy for the bitchy fighting technique ostracism. The general direction is, however, pro sex, pro military and pro rough sports like martial arts. I hope it will grow a large fandom! Good luck!