Readings: David French and masculinity (Or: He almost gets it!)

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How do you square this, last week at National Review:

The APA sees the challenges facing young men and rightly seeks to overcome those challenges, but then diagnoses the wrong cause. As Stephanie Pappas notes on the APA website, the new guidelines conclude that “traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.”

The guidelines themselves argue that “traditional masculinity ideology” — defined as socializing boys toward “anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence” — has been shown to “limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict,” and negatively influence mental and physical health.

Yet as we survey a culture that is rapidly attempting to enforce norms hostile to traditional masculinity, are men flourishing? And if men are struggling more the farther we move from those traditional norms, is the answer to continue denying and suppressing a boy’s essential nature?

…with this, today at The Atlantic?

Of all the disorienting and disturbing cultural effects of Trump’s ascension to the presidency, few are as disorienting and disturbing as the redefinition of ideal masculinity in the hearts of many of his biggest fans. The sheepdog has been replaced by the wolf.

Cheap shots have replaced bravery. A certain kind of animal cunning has replaced honor. Libertine aggression has replaced fidelity. It’s as if the movie was remade from the bully’s perspective, and the bully became the hero. The man who evaded his generation’s war, who compared the dangers of his sex life to serving in Vietnam, is honored beyond the warrior.

Moreover, the very defense of virtue is now seen by some as fundamentally unmanly.

As with so many things David French, I feel like he almost gets it. But no, not quite.

Author: joeldermole

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife and son. He spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His honors include awards for best online commentary from the Online News Association and (twice) from the City and Regional Magazine Association.

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