Come this June 21st, I will once again take part in a time honored tradition, which recognizes the value and contributions to society placing it just behind the most honored and coveted day,—-Mother’s Day.
For myself and for the majority of my peers this occasion itself justifies our existence.
The ability to produce babies is truly a miracle in itself, and something that will bring tears to the most masculine of fathers.
Oops, there’s that word again that’s associated with such distain in many venues of our society today, due to it being most times is preceded by the word “toxic”.
It’s seems that fathers, are by no fault of there own, part of the male contingent, which in this day an age is ranked just above pond scum.
Well, maybe that’s exaggeration,but sometimes not so much.
By the way, what is this toxic masculinity that society has painted with such a broad brush on the majority of males.
The Atlantic article entitled “ Problem With a Fight Against Toxic Masculinity“-2/27/2019 sums up society’s view of the matter quite well.
“Over the past several years, toxic masculinity has become a catchall explanation for male violence and sexism. The appeal of the term, which distinguishes “toxic” traits such as aggression and self-entitlement from “healthy” masculinity, has grown to the point where Gillette invoked it last month in a viral advertisement against bullying and sexual harassment. Around the same time, the American Psychological Association introduced new guidelines for therapists working with boys and men, warning that extreme forms of certain “traditional” masculine traits are linked to aggression, misogyny, and negative health outcomes.
A predictable conflict has accompanied the term’s rise. Many conservatives allege that charges of toxic masculinity are an attack on manhood itself, at a time when men already face challenges such as higher rates of drug overdose and suicide. Many progressives, meanwhile, contend that the detoxification of masculinity is an essential pathway to gender equality. Amid this heated
discourse, newspaper and magazine articles have blamed toxic masculinity for rape, murder, mass shootings, gang violence, online trolling, climate change, Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump.
In a 2005 study of men in prison, the psychiatrist Terry Kupers defined toxic masculinity as “the constellation of socially regressive male traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia, and wanton violence.
Kupers argued that prison brings out the “toxic” aspects of masculinity in prisoners, but that this toxicity is already present in the wider cultural context.
New proponents of the concept, sometimes unaware of its origins, tend to agree that men and boys are affected by a social “sickness” and that the cure is cultural renewal—that is, men and boys need to change their values and attitudes.
The above mentioned study: “APA guidelines for psychological practice With men and boys” states and I quote:
“Although the vast majority of males are not violent, boys and men commit nearly 90% of violent crimes in the United States (United States Department of Justice, 2011). “
What a “vast majority of”implies is vague, but does get the point across that this problem deals with a minority of boys and men from all cultures.
Why do we have all this toxic masculinity causing chaos in society, when the studies seem to show the male is becoming less and less of a factor in American families. Note:
**An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.**
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, “*Living Arrangements of Children under 18 Years/1 and Marital Status of Parents by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin/2 and Selected Characteristics of the Child for all Children 2010.” Table C3. Internet Release Date November, 2010*
**With the increasing number of premarital births and a continuing high divorce rate, the proportion of children living with just one parent rose from 9.1% in 1960 to 20.7% in 2012. Currently, 55.1% of all black children, 31.1% of all Hispanic children, and 20.7% of all white children are living in single-parent homes.**
*Source: U.S. Census Bureau. “Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present”. U.S. Census Bureau July 1, 2012. http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/ch5.xls*
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, and about 80 percent of the divorces are initiated by women. That 50 percent is often quoted and it is probably on the high side, but it is illuminating that 80 percent of the divorces are filed by the wife.
There are countless studies on this issue. However, a couple schools of thought reverberates in my head,outside of infidelity,
The first is the growing economic independence of women. Women who can support themselves outside marriage can be picky about when and whom they marry. They can leave bad marriages and they can afford to bear and raise children on their own. Thus single mothers will be more common in a society where women are more economically independent, all else being equal.
The second is that American women have moved steadily toward economic independence throughout this century thanks to increased hourly wages, greater control over child-bearing, and technological advances that reduce time required for housework. Since the turn of the century, each new generation of young women has entered the labor force in greater proportions and stayed at work longer. By 1970, over half of all American women were employed or looking for work; by 1990, nearly three quarters were doing so. The rise in welfare benefits during the 1950s and 1960s may have made poor women less dependent on men by providing them with an alternative source of economic support. However, welfare was only a small part of a much larger change that was enabling all women, rich and poor alike, to live more easily without a husband.
One would think that by taking masculinity out of families, and having more single mothers heading households, the toxic aspect would subside just by attrition alone…apparently not
Exactly,what causes this construct of masculinity..
In simplistic fashion, it is the androgen hormone testosterone.
Healthy males who have gone through puberty have 20 times the levels of testosterone compared to a healthy female.
Upper range of testosterone in male teenagers from 14 to 18 is 1,200 ng/dl ( for females in the same age group upper range is 75ng/dl
Some Symptoms of high testosterone are(but not limited to)
*Impulsive Decision Making
*Restricting a teenage boy’s interest to body parts, athletic activities and sexual pursuit
*More risk taking
You can’t just detox testosterone, if you try, you destroy what makes a man a man.
So what’s the answer:
Interesting enough some clues may lie in nature.
Specifically in an article entitled “Of Elephants and Men” by Wade F Horton PHD President of National Fatherhood Initiative 2011
The following excerpts are from that article:
Some years ago, officials at the Kruger National Park and game reserve in South Africa were faced with a growing elephant problem. The population of African elephants, once endangered, had grown larger than the park could sustain. So measures had to be taken to thin the ranks. A plan was devised to relocate some of the elephants to other African game reserves. Being enormous creatures, elephants are not easily transported. So a special harness was created to air-lift the elephants and fly them out of the park using helicopters.
The helicopters were up to the task, but, as it turned out, the harness wasn’t. It could handle the juvenile and adult female elephants, but not the huge African bull elephants. A quick solution had to be found, so a decision was made to leave the much larger bulls at Kruger and relocate only some of the female elephants and juvenile males.
The problem was solved. The herd was thinned out, and all was well at Kruger National Park. Sometime later, however, a strange problem surfaced at South Africa’s other game reserve, Pilanesburg National Park, the younger elephants’ new home.
Rangers at Pilanesburg began finding the dead bodies of endangered white rhinoceros. At first, poachers were suspected, but the huge rhinos had not died of gunshot wounds, and their precious horns were left intact. The rhinos appeared to be killed violently, with deep puncture wounds. Not much in the wild can kill a rhino, so rangers set up hidden cameras throughout the park.
The result was shocking. The culprits turned out to be marauding bands of aggressive juvenile male elephants, the very elephants relocated from Kruger National Park a few years earlier. The young males were caught on camera chasing down the rhinos, knocking them over, and stomping and goring them to death with their tusks. The juvenile elephants were terrorizing other animals in the park as well. Such behavior was very rare among elephants. Something had gone terribly wrong.
The Rangers came upon a theory. Under normal circumstances, a dominant adult bull elephant keeps the younger bulls in line. When, for example, elephants experience “musth”, a time of elephant mating when testosterone levels skyrocket, older bull elephants normally keep the younger ones under control. Perhaps these young, transported bull elephants were missing the civilizing presence of their elders.
To test this theory, the Rangers brought in a number of older bull elephants. Sure enough, within a short period of time, the older, bull elephants let the younger ones know, in no uncertain terms, that ruffian behavior was, well, not elephant-like.
Within the week, the acting-out behavior ceased. Instead of terrorizing other animals in the park, the younger bull elephants now were following the older bull elephants around, imitating their more appropriate – and civilized – elephant behavior.
Nearly forty years ago, a young Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote: “From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century Eastern Seaboard to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken homes, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations for the future – that community asks for and gets chaos.”
Dr. Horn and Mr Moynihan may be on to something.
According to studies:
**Individuals from father absent homes were found to be 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than peers living with their fathers.
[Source: Allen, A. N., & Lo, C. C. (2012). Drugs, guns, and disadvantaged youths: Co-occurring behavior and the code of the street. Crime & Delinquency, 58(6), 932-953.]
**Fifty-five (55.2) percent of WIC recipients are raised by single-mothers, 48.2% of all Head Start recipients are from father-absent homes, and 37% of public assistance and Section 8 housing are female-headed households.
[Source: Nock, S.L, Einolf, C.J. (2008). The one hundred billion dollar man: the annual public costs of father absence. Germantown, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative.]
According to “What Can the Federal Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?” from the U.S. Department of Justice, children from fatherless homes account for:
**Suicide: 63 percent of youth suicides
**Runaways: 90 percent of all homeless and runaway youths
**Behavioral Disorders: 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders
**High School Dropouts: 71 percent of all high school dropouts
**Juvenile Detention Rates: 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
**Substance Abuse: 75 percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers
**Aggression: 75 percent of rapists motivated by displaced anger
There are a plethora of shocking and stomach turning statistics, just google them
Ironically, it seems that the most potent weapon against toxic masculinity
Is masculinity itself.
There is an old American story that fathers used to tell their boys. The story describes three types of men: wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs. Wolves are lonely and strong, and they prey on sheep and weak wolves alike. Sheep are naïve and weak, and get eaten by wolves. Sheepdogs are strong and reliable, and they protect the sheep against the wolves.
As a father, I expect my son to be a sheepdog. In my household, of which I assume the head-role as a single father, masculinity is at once a source of pride and identity and a goal to aspire to. As a man, I am not always good at routines and schedules, at matching socks or mending clothes when they are old and ripped. The following maxim, however, is non-negotiable. The simple version of what we aspire to goes like this:
Strong mind, strong body, strong heart.
The nuanced story goes like this:
Be strong and caring; protect the weak.
Respect your elders and hierarchies; question them when you are led to be weak or selfish.
Offer your services to women, elders, and the weak (carry heavy things, offer your coat, offer your bed and sleep on the floor, feed others first, hold the door open for everyone).
As a rule, your needs always come last. But if you don’t take care of yourself well, you won’t be able to take care of others.
Never be a victim; when bad things happen to you, the onus is on you to create the right mindset to recover and thrive.
Never blame others for your own feelings.
Do not encourage victimhood in others.
It is good to cry for the joys and pains of others. Never cry out of pity for yourself.
Always be kind and generous. Be firm and know your boundaries. No one respects a man without boundaries. Women do not like weak men.
Rights and obligations are given; privileges are earned.
Freedom was won by the masculinity of our forefathers, yes forefathers
Try new things, learn new skills; learn skills that will make you a good protector.
The simplest stories are often the best ones; the simplest solutions are not always best; choose stairs over elevators.
Be open to changing your mind; don’t change your mind too much.
When about to give up, try just a little longer; try a little longer next time.
Have women friends you won’t seduce; spend time with aunties and grandmothers.
Observe and study the mysteries and beauties of femininity.
This Fathers Day give the Fathers that are doing their jobs the respect they deserve. They’re on the frontlines and the more families that have the Sheep dog of a father at the end of the dinner table, the better the family will be to handle the trials and tribulations of life.
God Bless! Godspeed! And know you are this country’s heroes..
Happy Fathers Day