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Just how toxic is the masculine mystique? The crisis facing today's men won't be solved by a bleak and very prescriptive new guide

Sturdy: How does a modern man lead a meaningful life? Credit: Power Sport Images/Getty

Sturdy: How does a modern man lead a meaningful life? Credit: Power Sport Images/Getty


December 1, 2020   6 mins

Contemporary manhood is under threat. From man-caves up and down the land, the resentful grumble is increasingly audible. The right to be a man — a real man — is being assailed from all sides: by feminists, gender non-conformists, and as a new book puts it, “chaos, vulgarity and meaninglessness”.

In The Seven Ages of Man: How to Live a Meaningful Life, James Innes-Smith writes that “Today, masculinity itself has come under attack, relentlessly maligned in the media”. The book glances wistfully back to an era of sturdy men and sturdier moral certainties, a time when gender roles were more clearly defined.

The 20th century was characterised by a surfeit of meaning. Everyone from Bolsheviks to National Socialists to Cold War liberals had a clear and discernible idea of what a good and fruitful life entailed. All were willing to spill blood (usually other people’s) to bring that vision to life. Yet barely three decades after the official termination of the conflict between East and West, we are awash with angsty books admonishing us (and by us I mean men) to “quell our deeper yearnings”, as Innes-Smith puts it. Bursting from every self-help bookshelf one now finds the gruff, rugged-bearded traditionalist rallying men to eschew materialism and seek out what Innes-Smith calls “deeper truths”.

The book guides us didactically through what he describes as the “seven ages” of man. These are childhood, adolescence, relationships and parenthood, work and providing, middle age, old age, death and legacy. The taut compartmentalisation of life is a giveaway in terms of the author’s broader moral outlook: a man’s life should be defined by “fundamental truths”. The author believes his interpretation of the good life — marriage, discipline, deferred gratification, strict child rearing, age-appropriate dress codes — is a universal one, which when you think about it is quite a large claim for a journalist to make.

This is unusual for a British author too, for it tends to be American readers who seek out guidance in everyday matters (the self-improvement industry in the US was worth $10 billion in 2016). But Innes-Smith forges ahead in the guise of the sagacious older male, proffering advice on every topic under the sun. Deep fulfilment in his moral universe is derived from putting oneself at the service of others. And getting married. The author is extremely keen on men getting hitched; younger readers are encouraged to settle down as soon as possible (he even marshals the claim, which worked to frighten me at least, that middle age begins at 35!).

Like other moralists Innes-Smith is keen to let you know that “recreational copulation soon loses its appeal”. This recalls something once said about Malcolm Muggeridge: that he was against everything he had grown tired of doing himself. Innes-Smith similarly counsels young men to abstain from sex for 12 months during the quest for a spouse and in the process to avoid the “pouting sirens” who are “fighting for your attention on every street corner”.

We’ve heard some of this sort of thing before. It is 30 years since Robert Bly published Iron John, an earnest Jungian treatise encouraging men to go off into the woods with other men and get in touch with their wild nature. Bly interpreted the allegorical fairytale of Iron John as a call for men to locate within themselves the “deep male” — and with it to reassert patriarchal authority. “Zeus energy is male authority accepted for the sake of the community,” wrote Bly. Women’s role was to submit to this “energy”, with their reward coming later on in the bedroom.

Yet the earnestness of Bly’s endeavour set it up for mockery. Martin Amis (who might have been writing about Jordan Peterson) remarked on Bly’s “impregnable humourlessness”. His fellow poet Charles Upton described Iron John as “utterly devoid of irony”. Ploughing through Innes-Smith’s short book (it is just 198 pages long) I too found it hard not to snigger as earnest prescriptions on erectile disfunction, strict portion control, and how to wear flat-fronted trousers rolled off the authorial pen.

But he’s right that men are in a pickle. The #MeToo movement, the decline of marriage and traditional forms of masculine work, as well as “gender fluidity” — all have discombobulated the contemporary male. In one ear we hear feminist complaints about gender pay gaps, toxic masculinity and the predatory sexuality of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. In the other, we pick up grumbles from female contemporaries about the lack of “real men” amid the conformity and sterility of the commute and the office nine to five.

Male discomfiture is increasingly audible today on YouTube, where Bly’s ideological descendants mix Spartan asceticism with entrepreneurial uplift. It is traditionalism with a softer edge, in which self-development, stoicism, pseudo-scientific “life hacks”, and tips for developing rippling musculature sit alongside a new-age willingness to talk about feelings and vulnerability.

Deeper down this rabbit hole are the “neo-patriarchs” of the manosphere. These self-proclaimed alpha males rage against society’s feminisation of “soys” and “betas”. Covid-19 denial is rampant in the manosphere, where face masks are viewed as synonymous with emasculation and enfeeblement. Academics who recently surveyed nearly 2,500 American adults found that many men considered them “shameful, not cool and a sign of weakness”. This attitude — part insecurity, part bombast — goes to the very top. When the Trump White House announced in October that the President had “defeated” Covid-19, it was difficult not to read into it the corollary — that those succumbing to the virus were somehow being cast as weak and inferior.

Innes-Smith’s book also offers a more benign set of prescriptions for masculinity in the 21st century, though he does enjoy summoning the odd penis-shrivelling vision of a world in which men are “pacified, submissive and emasculated”. Most of the book is given over to encouraging readers to improve themselves through rigorous exercise and the imbibing of higher knowledge derived from authors such as Dostoevsky. Though readers are sternly warned to avoid popular culture where “pornography and funny animal videos” are corrupting young minds and where “triviality is the order of the day” (presumably those “pouting sirens” again).

The author is right to flag the uncertainty that surrounds the role of the traditional male breadwinner in the 21st century, especially among the working class, where identity has historically been wedded to productivity. Moreover, women show markedly less interest in pairing off with men who occupy a lowly position on the status hierarchy, compounding the misery for working-class men. The result is a growing mass of resentful, low-status men who are forming angry online subcultures that come marinated in misogyny and bile. Suicide rates among males are at record highs.

Nor should it be taboo to say that boys require male as well as female role models. This needn’t be about demonising single mothers; however we should perhaps look more judgmentally — a deeply unfashionable word these days — upon those weak and selfish men who refuse to take responsibility for the lives they bring into the world.

Innes-Smith wants men to find deeper meaning in the universe. Yet like so much of the Calvinist-inspired self-improvement oeuvre, this unrelenting search for betterment — the author fixates on “discipline”, “meaningful tasks” and “true fulfilment” — conflates suffering with a higher morality. He urges readers to cycle to work in a downpour. He warns against giving children access to computer games that provide “instant fun” and are thus “addling young men’s minds”. But where is the virtue in contracting pneumonia? And while there is something to be said for moderation in all matters, computer games have been shown in numerous studies to be beneficial for cognition.

I ought to confess that I spent most of my own youth railing against this broad-shouldered, unyielding masculinity. Innes-Smith is the type (because he says so) who believes you can “tell a lot about a man by the way he behaves on a sports field”. Which is to say he would not have thought much of me: one of my school reports contains five solitary words appraising my desultory performance in the sporting arena: “Not seen on the pitch!” Sloping off behind the bike shed for a fag – rather than putting my scrawny frame through a brutal pasting on the rugby pitch — may have been a moral failing yet somehow I don’t quite believe it.

It’s not that I view physical prowess as an irredeemable expression of “toxic masculinity”, as some contemporary feminist authors appear to. It’s more a question of everybody being different. Indeed, I’m pleased to discover that my first conscious political belief — a bastardisation of the harm principle: you should leave a person well alone unless they’re hurting you in some way — remains the most enduring one a quarter of a century later.

But invariably this works both ways. If you believe — and the overwhelming evidence suggests this — that gender is a product of nature as well as nurture, then reframing every male pursuit as toxic will surely have a detrimental effect on young minds. Amid rising levels of involuntary celibacy, pretending that going to the gym and increasing one’s social standing will do nothing to improve a young man’s chances of finding a mate does him a horrible disservice. And I suspect there is something to be said for stoicism, courage and risk-taking over the narcissistic emoting that prevails among today’s ultra-woke.

However, I doubt younger readers will recognise Innes-Smith’s gloomy depiction of contemporary Britain as a “broken society [that] is crying out for a return to meaning and an appreciation of
 deep, life affirming truths”. Not because alienation, frustration and malaise don’t exist. But the author’s impression is too bleak and his prescriptions too rigid.

There is an abundance of potential paths to the good life for men. Some involve ancient traditions, “new warrior training”, marriage by 35, flat-fronted trousers and restorative sex once a week in the missionary position. But other paths will — and really ought to — feature self-criticism, openness, adaptability and gender fluidity. Some may even have sparkly outfits and fluffy unicorns. Though we should expect this sort of thing to bring out a steely grimace in the deep male, who would prefer us to be rigging up a tent and marching off into the woods to do some yodelling.


James Bloodworth is a journalist and author of Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain, which was longlisted for the Orwell Prize 2019.

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Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago

I think we desperately need to rid the world of toxic masculinity.
Because the biggest problem women have today, is “toxic males” willing to work hard for a paycheck and give them the option to either stay at home or work themselves. Note: option, not the responsibility to actually support their family on their own, because women only have rights. Hence, so few college graduate women actually go out and marry a man much lower educated or earnings (while the reverse is still common).

And there is zero gratitude or respect in return, other than complaints about “gender pay gap” which somehow only emerges at the age of 40 (as women are forced by the evil patriarchy to go part time or leave their jobs to spend time with their children, while the selfish men have fun at their 70 hour work weeks)

I think women are soon going to get all the equality they claim to desire, as the next generation of toxic males fed on a diet of misandry and hatred for the male role, are not going to care about being fathers, breadwinners or husbands. And I say that with a twinge of sadness, as an unashamedly toxic male who is proud and happy to slog to give his wife and daughter a nice home and life.

Greg Maland
Greg Maland
3 years ago
Reply to  Blue Tev

In the US, at least, a woman also has the option to divorce her husband at any point, and then collect enough alimony and child support to keep her as financially comfortable as she was pre-divorce. When courts consider custody of the children, the system is biased towards women as better natural caregivers. If a man with substantial financial resources asks his potential spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement, to protect him against potential financial destruction, he is seen as a cold, selfish, and anti-romantic character who isn’t worthy of the woman, no matter the difference in what each party stands to lose in a marriage contract.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

It seems to me that one of the most defining characteristics of many ageing men is the desire to pursue a quiet life.

Maybe the best strategy for menkind is to start taking up fishing again, and let the other gender(s) “have it all”.

After a while, the new masters might find that it isn’t as much fun as they thought it would be.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Sounds like a plan, except that our new masters would just ban fishing. I do approve of the ‘atlas shrugged’ approach though… Let them do what they want, and studiously refuse to give a monkey’s, while living your own life as you wish.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

The trouble is, in my experience, the authorities are steadily diminishing the avenues open, to the conduct of an ordinary life

Sam Piantadosi
Sam Piantadosi
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Men have become whingey and whiny.

Time they stepped up, grew up and became men. And that’s not hiding away in a man cave or going to the pub or footy.

Be good, be decent, be nice.

Be slow to anger and quick to help, look after your children, wife, parents, friends, read lots and expand your horizons, set an example for your children and leave the world a better place than you entered it.

It’s not rocket science.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Piantadosi

“be nice” You’ve no idea how bad that advice that is.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Piantadosi

Many already do. the ‘crisis’ is manufactured by toxic feminists and middle class public schoolboys steeped in wokedom. ‘Toxic masculinity’ is a made up myth, the ‘rising’ suicide rate amongst men isnt recent and goes back to at least the middle of the 19th century with the first work on this being done by a french psychiatrist in about 1899. Life, as it always has been, is hard and it only ends one way. the main difference now is the gynocentric education and employment system which sees a ‘gender gap’ that doesnt exist and uses it to promote a vile anti-male narrative that is fact-free; but then, hey ho, a lack of facts never stopped any other fascist bunch either.

Sean Arthur Joyce
Sean Arthur Joyce
3 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

Exactly. Feminism went from being a useful and needed social movement to equalize rights between the genders, including the right to vote, to becoming toxic and socially destructive as it is today. Yet not once do we ever read about “toxic femininity.” Which only proves that, again contrary to feminist dogma, women are just as apt to abuse their power as men.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

It was never needed. Its logical implications lead to what you see today. Toxic feminity might be a real thing, see ‘single mothers’. The majority of them of them are responsible for their predicament, in that they chose bad boys deliberately, becuase it turned them on, and then by clever sleight of hand manage with the help of Mr Bloodworth to make it about ‘irresponsible men’. Hello dears, meet my good friend contraception, and even abortion. I’m assuming htere aren’t practising Catholics among the fornicators of modern Britain.

IQ +100 disclaimer: Yes, I know a widow too, yes I know a woman who was abandoned by her husband of 25 years for another woman, yes a woman whose husband dissappeared without a trace, etc, etc.

Neil John
Neil John
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

“I’m assuming htere aren’t practising Catholics among the fornicators of modern Britain.” You’d be mistaken then, with some doing lots of ‘practicing’.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Piantadosi

You got that out of a Christmas cracker

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Piantadosi

I agree with most of this, but best to say “some men”.

Labelling a gender as a whole” seldom cuts the mustard

Some of us aren’t so bad ….

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Piantadosi

Agreed, except that I still think we should go to the pub and the footy – although not until they stop “taking a knee” of course.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

So what if, for the sake of representation, equality, and repairation for historical injustices, all white males are driven from their occupations and replaced with women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+. But it’s okay, because there is universal basic income. And because there is universal basic income, wages for gainful employment are reduced to a small pittance after taxes.

In this scenario then, might it not be a common sight to see well fed old white men sitting on porches drinking lemonade and watching women, LGTBQ+ and BIPOC working [in] the fields [of endeavor]?

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

I’d be really okay with that, for the record.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

We would no longer have indoor plumbing and electricity, but OK.

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Heh. You know, I can get behind that idea.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
3 years ago

I write as a 70 year old woman and a 1970s feminist but also as a mother and grandmother of boys. It would do both sexes good to stop thinking about themselves and think about what they are able to give to others, including love. My son is a good provider, a wonderful father, a creative talent, a loving partner. As far as I’m concerned he is a great example of what it is to be a good man. And I hope and pray my grandsons will follow in his footsteps. The only thing that troubles me about men, is their inability to see women simply as people. When we women are young and attractive we get treated far too well and given the benefit of the doubt simply because of our looks. When we are old, we become invisible. The number of times I have been jostled aside by groups of young suits, who simply didn’t register that I was even there. That is both frightening and depressing. It would be so wonderful to be seen as an individual – both for men and for women.

Richard Kenward
Richard Kenward
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Excellent post and I agree wholeheartedly about the two sexes seeing what they can do for each other. My marriage has been built on love, respect and a desire to help each other. This has turned us into a winning partnership where we each do the things we’re best at. This dovetailing has worked well for us and I’m as in love with my wife today as when we first met.
Things change along the way and you have to adapt your roles too. That’s why I now cook the meals because I work from home and my wife is a nurse on long 12 hour shifts. I must say I love cooking for one simple reason, assuming I’ve cooked well, it gives her pleasure.
I enjoyed your post thank you.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Are you suggesting men too do not become invisible as they get older? In fact, a young man with no prospects seems also to be invisible.

Lloyd Marsden
Lloyd Marsden
3 years ago

Of course she isn’t, stop sniffing for outrage!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Lloyd Marsden

“The only thing that troubles me about men, is their inability to see women simply as people. When we women are young and attractive we get treated far too well and given the benefit of the doubt simply because of our looks. When we are old, we become invisible”.

I think that is exactly what was being said. If had not been the intention to suggest that this was an exclusively male problem the statement would have been included. Otherwise it would have been written:

“The only thing that troubles me about old people, is their inability to see members of the opposite sex simply as people. When we are young and attractive we get treated far too well and given the benefit of the doubt simply because of our looks. When we are old, we become invisible”

Tobias Olds
Tobias Olds
3 years ago
Reply to  Lloyd Marsden

I agree with you. But I think it’s is a worthwhile point that a lot of young men do feel invisible in a way, as we’re generally perceived as less sexually interesting.

I’m not saying that’s fundamentally injust. I suspect it’s inavoidable to an extent.
It’s just would be nice if people could be honest about that and give better direction to young men.

Lloyd Marsden
Lloyd Marsden
3 years ago
Reply to  Tobias Olds

Thanks Tobias, you make a good and valid point, one I that I think sadly extends to a lot of young people (regardless of gender) in the country.

I think I was just being grumpy at the continued insistence that those who comment from a certain viewpoint are therefore condemning all other viewpoints – it’s a discussion not an argument after all.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Tobias Olds

Amen, Ethniciodo is experiencing what 75-85% of men experience as a matter of course. For most men it doesn’t occur to us that this is at all unusual, becuase it isn’t, never has been and never will be.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

Not in the same way. Good looks in men is a bonus, but not main ‘asset’ (unless you’re gay). Women care far more about status, wealth, power and charisma, than men value those things in women. In the case of women’s wealth/status, it rarely factors into attraction at all

Muscleguy
Muscleguy
3 years ago

Being overweight with bad breath and bad attitudes is not attractive, no. But we’re not all like that, just turned 55 and I can see my 6-pack. i’m not invisible either. I keep a friendly open mien and people greet and talk to me, imagine that!

Women look at me too, I’m separated but not back in the game just yet but have no particular worries about doing so other than having to fend off younger women in search of a baby father. i see so many older men with much younger women.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

There is much to commend in what you say, not least in the importance of thinking about what you can do for the benefit of others.

And, while noting what you say about older women ‘becoming invisible’, I would develop the point made by Ethniciodo Rodenydo, below.

That is, that men in general – especially contrasted with the advantageous position of women in general when they are young and attractive – are ‘invisible’ throughout their lives. Save only, that is, the small percentage who are exceptionally favoured by natural charm or command of resources. There’s a lot of literature on this subject, if the point isn’t obvious from everyday observation of human relations.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

The only thing that troubles me about men, is their inability to see women simply as people.
Does this apply to your son as well, or is he far more the rule than you might think? If you want to see folks as individuals, assigning the worst of characteristics to an entire group is a curious strategy.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Thanks Alex – Hosias is being solipsistic. Women are just as capable as judging men as objects/means to an end,, it just so happens that they tend to judge on different criteria, nothing so base and vulgar as mere physical beauty.

Wulvis Perveravsson
Wulvis Perveravsson
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

I have a couple of friends whose mothers surely believe the same of them. If only they knew about the sordid affairs they’ve been having behind the scenes.

Wulvis Perveravsson
Wulvis Perveravsson
3 years ago

…the point being; outward appearances can be deceiving, even to those who believe they know the person concerned inside out.

Becky Brooke
Becky Brooke
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Well said

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

An excellent essay Mr Bloodworth, thank you.

Now get down to Eton, where a major scandal is brewing, and the cancer of wokedom is spreading even faster than the C-19 Panic.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago

Indeed, there is a crisis for mascalinity in the West. But there is also a crisis for females. The vast social project started by the post modern Left has been waging war against all aspects of masculinity including physical strength, risk taking and bravery. They have also been waging war against femininity and motherhood as obstacles to females dominating every aspect of business, academic, legal and political life and, of course the Media.
Their project effectively aims to neuter humanity.
In the West, we are all destined to become sexless, neutered ‘lesser haired bipeds’ deprived of complementarity, mutual attraction and any form of joy.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Yes, if people are being made to question their identity and sexuality, they are in no position to question the status quo. The very essence of masculinity is to be independent and resourceful which is anathema to our effete leaders.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

I think stressing the self sacrifice made by men in the past is all to the good as a balance to the feminist claim that men (all of them) had the life of Reilly while women made all the sacrifices. But as a recipe for the future?

I think the best advice to men is: relax, it’s cool, nothing wrong with being a man, you don’t have to prove yourself all the time, whether by macho posturing or exaggerated chivalry. Be yourself in the most positive way you can and drop the angst. And stop letting everybody: feminists, women, self help gurus – tell you how you should be.

Sam Piantadosi
Sam Piantadosi
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

If I may suggest, we should listen to what people say, if it works, use it, if it doesn’t, don’t.

If we stopped letting everybody tell you how you should be we wouldn’t learn anything.

If we let everybody tell us how we should be we lose ourselves.

There’s a happy medium. Unfortunately we as a society have lost nuance.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Piantadosi

That’s true of course. You have to understand the motivation of the person doing the telling, and whether they really wish us good or ill.

Clearly the peddlers of toxic masculinity and the rest wish us nothing but ill, regardless of what they say. It’s usually not that hard to tell – nasty people usually can’t keep their nastiness out of the words they use.

J H
J H
3 years ago

Interesting piece. While I’m a woman, I don’t recognise this description of the male existence for the men in my life — family and friends. This line in particular seemed outdated: avoid the “pouting sirens” who are “fighting for your attention on every street corner”. Where does Innes-Smith live, on a set of ‘Guys & Dolls’? Considering that we often hear about men’s mental health crisis because of the pressure not to admit depression, anxiety, etc, it doesn’t appear that we’re at a stage where all the guys do is sit around and talk about their feelings while the women run the world. It seems the book also ignores that the online world as well as the real world is still often a dangerous and threatening place for women. That said, masculinity and femininity are wonderful parts of a being a human. Perhaps the most toxic part of this discussion is the idea that men or women have to be a certain prescribed way based on anyone’s definition but their own.

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago
Reply to  J H

“Where does Innes-Smith live, on a set of ‘Guys & Dolls’?”

Social media is drowning in trout-pouts and thick, painted-on eyebrows. This culture of female vapidity surely hasn’t gone unnoticed by you?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Patrick White

It was different when ? If anything it’s the boys who’ve got more primped imo.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  J H

Re – “pouting sirens” I really thought I must be living in the wrong place.

One of the many ironies in the endless gender saga, is that while women, and feminists in particular, are telling men that they should be more like women – it is women who seem to be having a mental health crisis.

In so far as men are following a similar trend, but to a lesser degree, it is at a time when traditional masculinity is in decline.

I realise that traditional gender roles were a bit limiting – but I do wonder if people were happier when they had clear roles and knew what was expected of them.

Just a thought.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

“I do wonder if people were happier when they had clear roles and knew what was expected of them.” Yes, surely we now know this.

Women claim more mental health problems, like feeling ‘sad’ and stuff, which they probably are becuase of how they are living (childless, nihilistic, unmarried). Men live badly today also, but are the ones who actually go and hang themselves, often without having talked about it to anyone beforehand. It’s like the old comparison between male/female domestic abuse rates, and the feminists always reply “Yeah but how many men actually DIE from domestic abuse”. OK, fair point – but then how many men actually DIE from suicide vs women? Consider also that women ‘attempt’ suicide more than men.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

I find myself in two minds. To be honest, I think I would have found the rigidity of roles we had in the past a bit stultifying. There’s much I like about the present, including dads spending more time with their kids.

At the same time it doesn’t always seem to have made people happier – and there are other downsides, such as two wages no longer being optional, but being almost essential if you want to buy a house.

In many western countries birth rates are falling in spite of women expressing the desire to have children. And can any society be called successful if it fails even to reproduce itself.

Perhaps it’s not nostalgia for the past – but the sense that there was a better path we could have taken into the future. Perhaps one that placed less emphasis on work as the measure of equality.

Tobias Olds
Tobias Olds
3 years ago
Reply to  J H

How would you delineate masculinity and femininity out of interest.

Personally I think they can function as complements where men and women are different, but it’s those very differences that can spark attraction, and they’re similar enough to be able to come together and live together happily and erotically.

My working understanding of masculinity was that of dominance, not in the sense he controls the women, but leads her. And vice versa women have the autonomy to follow men.

Feel free to disagree and point out where I’m wrong.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Tobias Olds

A man who doesn’t lead his wife earns her contempt, even if this is only mild.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  J H

JH – it is a little dated, as nowaday the pouting is all done on social media. But good grief, it is real.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Covid-19 denial is rampant in the manosphere, where face masks are viewed as synonymous with emasculation and enfeeblement.
What does this have to do with anything? First, no one is in “denial” over the existence of covid; there are simply those who choose to not live in perpetual fear and panic. Second, no one views masks in the manner described; some folks just don’t think they’re the magic bullet and they don’t like govt mandates about them. But otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln found the play to be most entertaining.

Lloyd Marsden
Lloyd Marsden
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Sadly I’m not so sure that’s true. There are seemingly plenty of people (albeit largely in the US) that don’t believe covid is real and that masks are for ‘wimps’. No sensible person, granted.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Lloyd Marsden

in the US, it’s the Karenwaffe demanding compliance from all. That’s not how life and freedom work. If a store wishes to require masks, then I have a choice – comply and patronize the business or go elsewhere. It doesn’t help that we’re told to wear masks by the same people who shut down schools, and whose actions have led to numerous other foreseeable consequences.

Lloyd Marsden
Lloyd Marsden
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I think it’s clear that there are those who see mask wearing as a personal freedom issue and others who view wearing masks as somehow emasculating – the latter point is the one being addressed in this article

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Lloyd Marsden

It’s both. The idea that a person’s face is so dangerous to behold, while flattering, is so unfathomably stupid I’ve decided to just laugh when asked to cover up. You’d think we all have exploding leprous pustules on our faces that could go off at any moment and infect a while supermarket isle.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Taking a precaution to protect yourself an others isn’t living in “perpetual fear and panic”. I don’t think anyone believes they’re a magic bullet. I’ve yet to meet anyone who ‘likes’ wearing one.
Mrs Lincoln couldn’t understand why they had to make such a fuss when only a tiny percentage of the audience died.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Believing covid is the new black death is precisely living in fear and panic, and there is nothing magical about masks in the first place. If one makes you feel better, have at it, and if a store requires one, I will either comply or go elsewhere.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The new black death? Are you deluded?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

Look up ‘rhetoric’ and ‘sarcasm’ dear. This is why women need to be banned from the internet. 😉

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

No-one is saying it’s the new black death. Are you a drama queen?

Pete the Other
Pete the Other
3 years ago

Nobody actually says that but the authorities’ response suggests that’s what they are thinking. Whatever happened to putting up some posters saying “coughs & sneezes spread diseases” and being done with it?

tdlaflamme
tdlaflamme
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete the Other

Its about numbers. Data. Then science.
With 7 billion of us breathing about now, and governments’ main responsibilities to protect citizens… not sure how else we’d expect to offset the diseases’ spread?

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I agree. The ones who claim the world is scaremongering are the ones who are exactly doing that. Can’t cope with being asked to look out for their fellow citizens. I hate wearing a mask because I do get breathing issues. Have never not worn one in relevant circumstances because I am not so shallow as to constantly think of myself. Get a grip.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

I refuse completely to wear a mask, I usually am the only one without a mask in the places where they are used and it is kind of oppressive as one thinks there is great disapproval in the people who look away as you approach – and so it would be much easier to just put it on, But I will not as I do not believe in it, I call it project fear, and I do not like fear being used to control people.

But then I am a toxic male I suppose. For some reason I set out as a young man on a hard road and just kept doing it in harder and harder ways because I refused to be bothered by discomfort, pain, fear, and so on. I just had to be harder than the other men I guess. I spent decades living rough, I just had to always be tougher than the harshness. I do not think it toxic though. I think it is male, to be hard.

I work in construction now, I am mid 60s, and the men are tough. Most extremely tough and hard and I find them normal. I get along with soft men, but I do not think I can really respect them as men, although I can for their accomplishments.

And to go on I also find women to be hard to have as close friends. I have had a wife for ever, but women are just so different to men mentally they are not really main friends so much. Partners, group friends, yes, but a woman best friend? I do not see it, our interests and brains are too different. Mars and Venus, it is how it is.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Oh but they do Kevin, they really do think they are magic. I have never seen so many enthusiastically slap these things on their faces, and I work in a place where we wear them all day (cleanroom lab). Thankfully people are wearing them less and less these days.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Masks for covid are really just talismans. Reading of the wild adventurers of Victorian and Edwardian, and later, explorers in outlandish places the locals would often go to them if sick for help, and it would be necessary to give a dose of something and they would go away happily. Purgatives were the favorites of the Burtons, Flemming, Thesiger, for this and they would carry many doses. This is what the government is masking you for, so you will feel they are doing something, and to keep project fear alive (for the great reset is my guess).

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Who lives in perpetual fear and panic? I’ve not come across any of these people thankfully. You seem to know a lot of them. I can now understand why you are so paranoid. Chill. You obviously can’t cope with difficult times. Shame. There’s no need to panic.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
3 years ago

I cannot remember if it was this publication or another which had a senior policeman in some tough London district describing the promotion channels for men and women in, I presume, the Met. He wrote that women PCs were keen to get out onto the front line until the first time that some angry group of citizens gathered around and all sense of control was lost. After this she would prefer to stay in the station and write reports. Not a popular description these days, I would agree, but I do wonder if it isn’t an accurate one and at some level one that may the result in a begrudging admiration for a beefy colleague next to you in times of trouble. Mind you, I do like the fishing analogy of Mr. Barton below if all else fails.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Melvin

Most of “West’s” armed forces have experimented with ‘women in the front line” etc. All have been an abject failure, for the reasons you suggest. Even now there is ‘trouble’ within the submarine fleet, for all too obvious reasons.

There was some apocryphal evidence from the former USSR that women could serve in the the front line, perhaps this is where this ridiculous notion sprang from?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Yes, the USSR was always accurately reporting actual results and definitely not propoganda to make the Party’s decisions look good.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Never in human history has there been such a pestilential hell hole as the USSR. It makes Adolph & Co look like Noddy.

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

To be a man to many people is to be just wrong and suspect.
Their are a lot of misandry now going on that is acceptable because it’s only men.
Case in point, there was a campaign recently about getting women going to the gym, getting healthy, body positivity etc and the campaign’s tag line was…..
We kick balls
Nothing to do with helping women just putting down men because we are, insert slur here.
A women can be as large as she wants it’s empowering ,and she’s sassy and fighting the evil stereotypes created by men however when a man is large he is a fat, lazy slob.
We don’t have equality any more it’s now very obvious it’s revenge for stuff we did not do to people who they are not.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

My granddad, a proper working class male who fought in the war and worked all his life in a factory, had a wonderful response to the modern world. Whenever some shrieking feminazi would appear on the telly he’d just mutter “daft cow” have another sip of his pint and change channels. No angst or self doubt required: he was his own man and chose to ignore it.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Excellent. I’d like to think he also had the sense to have the ‘Yes dear’ plus a further sip response to any domestic equivalents ðƾ˜‰

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

I hear reports about incels, and of the attack on “toxic masculinity”, and it seems I’m living in a bubble of old-fashioned gender normativity. My life is heavily populated by women. I’m a dad to two young women (18 & 20), a husband to a middle-aged woman, brother-in-law to about a dozen women, four of whom I’m quite close to, uncle to lots of women, and a close friend to around six mature, unique others to whom I’m not related. None of them has ever accused me of being toxic, harmful, bad or regressive.

There are no power struggles between my wife and I. We like and admire and are considerate of each other. She leads on what she’s competent doing, and I lead on what I’m competent doing.

With my daughters I have authority because I care about them, like them, am emotionally fluent, dependable, learned and useful. I shouted at one of them in real, red-faced anger once, and I think it did us both good.

Touch wood, but so far everybody seems quite happy in their genders and roles, as do most people in my broader circle, including people who are gay.

I don’t think we’re abnormal, so I wonder if there is something of a moral panic going on in the backlash to wokeness, wokeness being largely some psychodramas going on in some campuses, and on Twitter?

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
3 years ago

‘…wokeness being largely some psychodramas going on in some campuses, and on Twitter?’

You think? I’m afraid you haven’t been paying attention. Try some Douglas Murray interviews or his book, The Madness of Crowds, to see what deep trouble the Anglosphere is in.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Adams

We would all be in deep trouble, living in a neo-Marxist dictatorship, if we believed everything Douglas Murray told us.

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

What has he got wrong?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Adams

He’s not consistently wrong. But he can be reliably called upon to act the provocateur and stir up division. It sells more books that way.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Adams

To be as alarmed as Murray and others would have us be, you’d need to read only him and the others, and spend too much time on the internet and social media, stoking the concern, to the point where this virtual milieu of threat, calumny and deterioration becomes more real than the ebb and flow of the actual real world.

To illustrate this, yesterday I raised the topic of Wokeness/Critical Theory/Social Justice with my wife and a daughter. They didn’t know what I was talking about and I had trouble finding any common reference points they could recognise. Casting about for examples, I mentioned the hullabaloo at Evergreen College some while back in Washington state. My wife looked puzzled, then chuckled. “Sounds like fun,” she said.

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
3 years ago

Complacency is part of the problem.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

Two professors were forced to resign from positions they loved; some faculty were held hostage and prevented from going to the restroom, others were chased by baseball bat wielding students. I guess it’s fun when it happens to others.

Sam Piantadosi
Sam Piantadosi
3 years ago

Hear hear Jaunty

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago

I found this article difficult to read after the snide and gratuitous reference to Jordan Peterson.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Vilde Chaye

I was surprised he took 7 paragraphs to get there. About 4 sentences in, I thought that Innes-Smith was channelling his inner Peterson. There’s obviously a market for it.

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
3 years ago

I see the author was ‘longlisted for the Orwell Prize’. Faint (self) praise indeed. Cadwalladr actually won it, and just sniff the reek that comes off HER ‘journalism’.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Adams

As Douglas Murray pointed out here (or was it in The Spectator?) Codswallopr (sic) should return her prize. In truth, all these prizes are pretty much meaningless these days and simply handed out to those who tick the most boxes. (I am amazed that James, as a white, straight man was even long-listed).

That said, I’m currently reading ‘Milkman’ by Anna Burns, a recent Booker winner, and it is brilliant. Perhaps by accident they handed the prize to someone who ticks a number of the boxes (female, Celtic, anti-English) yet wrote a great book.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Starting life in the Ardoyne, as Anna Burns did, is really starting at ground zero!
Which makes her achievement all the more remarkable.

Somerset born, “Codswallop” (great name, thank you) should take note.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

I am very glad about the High Court’s ruling on puberty blockers. This was all getting out of hand: crackpot ideology trying to prevail over kids’ welfare.

Stephen Tye
Stephen Tye
3 years ago

I do the heavy lifting, fix stuff, and provide for my family. Occasionally I also clean and cook. By choice.

My wife cleans the house, cooks my meals, occasionally helps me with the decorating etc. By choice.

We both enjoy what we do and laugh a lot.

Am I a toxic male, or just someone comfortable with being me.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Tye

Can you hang doors? And are you close by?

Stephen Tye
Stephen Tye
3 years ago

Haha – yes I can. A right barsteward of a job, but I’ve done a few.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

Fact: eating an entire man in one sitting will cause you to die. That’s just how toxic masculinity is!

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

Isn’t the idea just to be a better person not just a better man. It’s a problem when one man defines how other men should be. The whole idea of defining masculinity seems unimportant. Aren’t they just saying that anything they say is good is masculine. I’ve never understood what bodybuilding has to do with being a man, just seems like another excuse to be self absorbed and vain. Many men seem to think it’s important to be tough because it looks good, no, it’s to support yourself and other people. I agree that men should try to be wise, competent and virtuous, but that’s just common sense.

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago

I’ve never understood what bodybuilding has to do with being a man, just seems like another excuse to be self absorbed and vain.

There is an obvious joke to be made here. 😉

Seriously, men seem to feel the most manly when they run around doing stuff. I’ve never really seen the appeal myself, but it does seem to be what evolution has honed us for.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
3 years ago

Thank you Peter. You are allowed to be whoever you want to be. If that turns to rubbish, then a good rethink needs to take place.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

This recalls something once said about Malcolm Muggeridge: that he was against everything he had grown tired of doing himself.

Or St Augustine, for that matter.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

We shouldn’t mistake that for hypocrisy though. Every human reaches the point when they realise that the things they once believed in and agitated in youth for are hollow, and that ‘wisdom’ is not a ‘construct’ but a realisation of the unavoidable exigencies of various courses of behaviour, as they play out in social life. Even relgious people realise that ‘God’ doesn’t send somebody to hell. They do it all by themselves.

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
3 years ago

Why the Covid paragraph, totally unnecessary . However since you mentioned it : if I don’t like wearing a mask this makes me a covid denying toxic male? How utterly condescending. I don’t like wearing a symbol of oppression because it is just that, as well as understanding the science. In other words I do so because I have an MSM free brain , I can read history books, I can read medical science and I can interpret statistics.

Oh and just to add this little nugget : the wearing of masks is resulting in an increase of respiratory issues (fibres in the lungs) and bacterial infection and has practically zero affect on the spread of any respiratory virus. Looks like the mask wearers are slowly killng themselves, well done, pat yourself on the back.

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

A symbol of oppression?

You poor delicate snowflake.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

I didn’t know the mask-wearing rule was for people who ‘liked’ it. Now you tell me.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I didn’t know a government could command everyone to cover their faces all the time and everywhere public, except maybe Saudi Arabia, and even then…

Lloyd Marsden
Lloyd Marsden
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

The covid paragraph makes sense to me – it’s a topical reference making a broader point about a certain type of toxic SELF PROCLAIMED masculinity:

These self-proclaimed alpha males rage against society’s feminisation of “soys” and “betas”. Covid-19 denial is rampant in the manosphere, where face masks are viewed as synonymous with emasculation and enfeeblement.

It sounds like you don’t use the masculinity argument to define your own anti-mask stance so you may be the one making an out of context and unnecessary point about covid.

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago

Reasonable enough. I roll my eyes at self-proclaimed manhood-experts. But we do need some kind of positive vision of masculinity. Telling men they are inherently awful leads to them either becoming self-hating or embracing their awfulness. And either one makes them extremely annoying.

Possibly we should aim not so much at restoring the strong, emotionless Man, as restoring the laid-back, easy-going Dude? Not sweating the small stuff is very manly. And it’s hard to radicalise a Dude, on account of most radical action requiring hard work.

Brigitte Lechner
Brigitte Lechner
3 years ago

I can empathise. I have a son and a grandson and also underwent much soul-searching when my gender norms changed in the 70s. As a result I ditched the pouting thing. Toxic masculinity is short-form for a male gender box. Abiding by its norms ensures that men as a class feel tremendously entitled to have it their way and can use gaslighting or brute force to get there. Of course, nobody can determine how malehood should be outside the gender box. This is wat this article has more or less said. Men can all stop whinging and get on with being whatever they want to be but preferably not entitled onanists; it doesn’t go down well with women who have escaped their box.. Check out ‘Men At Work’: great group.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

Deep fulfilment in his moral universe is derived from putting oneself at the service of others. And getting married. Erm, yes – it actually is to a large extent.

“The author is extremely keen on men getting hitched; younger readers are encouraged to settle down as soon as possible (he even marshals the claim, which worked to frighten me at least, that middle age begins at 35!).” Erm yes – this is also true, even biologists woud admit this.

“Like other moralists Innes-Smith is keen to let you know that “recreational copulation soon loses its appeal”. True, why is this a moralistic observation?

“Covid-19 denial is rampant in the manosphere, where face masks are viewed as synonymous with emasculation and enfeeblement.” True on both counts, because as they ARE a symbol of emasculation and weakness as mandated these days.

“I ought to confess that I spent most of my own youth railing against this broad-shouldered, unyielding masculinity.” Ugh, of course you did. Not filling me with confidence in your revieiw here.

“But other paths will ” and really ought to ” feature self-criticism,openness, adaptability and gender fluidity. Some may even have sparkly outfits and fluffy unicorns.” As this is not satire, I think this needs no further comment.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Thank you Aaron. Saved me some time.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
3 years ago

I wonder did the author read Iron John, considering what he gleaned was a return to patriarchal power. The book begins with a story of Iron John, living in a great hole in the bush. He is captured and put in a cage. He stands for masculinity. A young prince wants to go near him, but mother won’t allow this. He searches for years for the key to let Iron John out. He finds that key under his mother’s pillow where all her dreams of what her son should be have taken place. He escapes his mother’s hold over him through letting Masculinity out of its cage and becomes a man capable of loving a women after many trials and tribulations. Much of the book relates to the male worship of the female and trying to balance that so that harmonious relationships can be restored. Bly’s ‘The Sibling Society’ is another great read from the past, asking the question, ‘Where are all the adults?’ I don’t have time to explain as being 57 years of age I have to do my exercises so that I am strong enough to keep up my hobbies of sailing and cycling, look half decent for my lady and to not give in to my various injuries from contact sports etc.
PS. I did yoga yesterday with my mixed gender group and can’t wait to get back into the bush to experience my masculinity at its finest.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

Good on you, Karl – thanks for that. I felt that exactly too about Iron John – nothing about “reasserting patriarchal authority”, although I haven’t read it since c. 1993, so thanks for confirming that. At the time I was very “new age” and much more comfortable around women, but yet I found the book life-affirming as a man, and not at all as it is portrayed here. Incidentally, I have no idea why it being “utterly devoid of irony” is any kind of criticism (and I’m not sure if it was, from memory) – does everything about masculinity have to be ironic? Or perhaps it’s just that everything must now be “ironic” in our post-modern world to be profound, as Derrida, Foucault et al would no doubt incant in chorus? Keep on with the good work – sounds like you’re getting it right. Dan

Clay Bertram
Clay Bertram
3 years ago

“He urges readers to cycle to work in a downpour. He warns against giving children access to computer games that provide “instant fun” and are thus “addling young men’s minds”. But where is the virtue in contracting pneumonia?”

Contracting pneumonia?

Seriously?

It’s hardly alpha-male to cycle in a downpour!

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago

People are still using the word ‘snigger’?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Patrick White

*sniggers* Sure do Patrick!

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

My games report- Not worthy of a comment! Seriously- we need a backlash. I believe real men to be tough fit brave, confident ,self-reliant, ruthless, cool in.a crisis patriotic and Politically Incorrect and
wish I was one!

jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
3 years ago

Common misconceptions of our age: 1. Humans are “either/or” – everyone is on a spectrum from “either” to “or” ; 2. Our life goals are at the ends of our journeys – as we get closer to our goals we focus on new ones further off; 3. We will be the same tomorrow as we are today – we affect everything and everything affects us and we are continually changed by that process; 4. Our current situation is overwhelmingly important – the “direction of travel” is what matters.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

Excellent piece James. Innes-Smith sounds like another disciple of the confused Jordan Peterson narrative that simultaneously wails about men’s victim-hood while telling them to make their beds and stand up straight. The Proud Boys and their ilk lap that nonsense up, trying desperately to prove they’re not ‘betas’ and ‘cucks’ (which it must be hard for an incel to be). It feels like yet another nostalgia trip back to the 1950s, to when movies had ‘real men’ heroes. I don’t get the argument though about women not pairing off with working-class men. The gender ratio is 50:50. Who else do the women find to pair off with ? The bit about ‘pouting sirens’ sounds like misogynist nonsense. Again this speaks to some kind of deluded nostalgia for when good women kept themselves chaste until marriage. I understand the old guys reminiscing to a time when an outside privy and polio made a man of you, but I don’t understand when the youth start doing it.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Given the rate of divorce in the UK, I’d argue both sexes are just f*****g retarded.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

DNA evidence suggests most men don’t reproduce. You’re the one with the ‘confused narrative’ Devoid of contact with reality, to boot. ‘https://tierneylab.blogs.ny

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

It’s not so much an argument, I believe there are stats that show women still marry (or partner) ‘up’, and with women earning better these days, that means a smaller pool of men. Factor in that the dominance of app-driven dating is making the whole scene (in the US in particular) very much more a marketplace, and you end up with a heap of disgruntled young men with few prospects.

One would expect, of course, that there is a corresponding group of disgruntled, prospect-less young women, but part of the mythos these men’s groups cling to seems to be that men are less choosy so these women can at least get sex with men they are interested in, if not actually a life partner. Yes, there is a whole heap of s**t-shaming and misogyny thrown in, mostly born of jealousy, and porn has probably raised a whole heap of false expectations while also keeping the focus very much on sex rather than healthy relationships.

I’m not sure whining about it helps anyone though. IMHO what’s ‘manly’ is to address your problems head-on and overcome them, not blame everyone else.

Nikita Kubanovs
Nikita Kubanovs
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

As somebody whose 21 I can provide my theory for why, many of us have no male role models or figures to aspire to in our daily lives and because of the feminist agenda and most men being clueless on how to communicate with women we have very few successful examples of what it is to be a man. So the only successful examples we have are of those of the 1950-1970s where everything was far more defined, we have no map of what it means to be men today.

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago

No male role models? No men in your life or in the public sphere that are an example to you *at all*? Seems unlikely to me.

we have no map of what it means to be men today.

Nobody gets a map, the world is in constant flux. It’s your job as a human being to figure out how you want to live your life.

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

Nobody gets a map, or an app-there does seem to be an expectation that there is a clear an obvious solution (app?) provided by some other party to problems and a sort of learned helplessness that you might have to figure it out yourself!

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

“No male role models? No men in your life or in the public sphere that are an example to you *at all*? Seems unlikely to me.”
Well, I am sure there are plenty to go around, with all those divorced dads who struggle to get access to their kids no matter how dedicated they are as parents, the 90% female teachers at school, the replacement of positive male figures with female (funny how every man I know can handle their kids well despite there being no male Mary Poppins)

Nobody gets a map, but we do get the constant haranguing in every media as to how
a. any activities males do well at are evidence of “toxic masculinity” whether its sports, gaming, IT.”Šno such guilt trip for women working in nursing, media or teaching
b. vilification of traditional male roles such as being the main breadwinner, soldiering (while simultaneously still being expected to perform those roles)
c. The debasement of male attributes such as being physical, risk taking etc
d. being portrayed as sexual aggressors even for say, approaching a girl (of course, the male is still expected to initiate or pay the dinner bill)

So, if your basic character as a male is deemed toxic, being good at something is evidence of being toxic, and traditional roles done by men is toxic (though you still get to do it)”Š..I was lucky to be born earlier, but I am not surprised young lads are a bit confused

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago
Reply to  Blue Tev

all those divorced dads who struggle to get access to their kids no matter how dedicated they are as parents

While this is tragic where it occurs, it’s hardly a majority situation.

the 90% female teachers at school,

62% in secondary education. Again, not “even” but not exactly the dire picture you paint either. And wider society is full of successful men.

As for the rest – you seem oversensitive to the (t)wittering of other people. Perhaps take a step back and disengage for a while. The world is not lived purely online, and neither are the online mobs representative of anything much in the real world. As a successful software consultant I can’t say I’ve ever felt under attack for my “toxic masculinity”, nor threatened by movements like ‘#metoo’. Perhaps that’s because I’m not a rapist?
Plenty of women “initiate” things these days, and plenty of men still do too. It’s just that it’s not acceptable to apply pressure, use workplace authority to get dates, nor as acceptable to interrupt every woman going about her day to see if you can sleep with her.

So long as you’re not an arsehole, you’re probably fine…

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

No, you’re not fine. I work with Title IX regulations at my college. There has to be a 50.1% preponderance of evidence of sexual assault/harassment for a male student to be expelled from a college (basically an accusation is just about enough evidence to have a male student removed from college). Betsy DeVos was heavily criticized for wanting to bring this percentage up to 75. The administrators at my college aren’t so concerned about false allegations. Even if a male student is innocent, it is considered a learning experience for him.

There is something horribly wrong going on in academia and other cultural institutions.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

Nobody gets a map, but often a guide is necessary to successfully scale the mountain.

Stephen Crossley
Stephen Crossley
3 years ago

Social media encourages young men to approach life “the wrong way round”, namely that if you invent an avatar of yourself with countless Instagram photos of your Arnie-esque body, money and girls will follow. Spoiler alert, this will not work.

Ignore social media and instead focus on becoming good at something. Whether in the business, sporting, academic or other arenas, forward progress breeds confidence which is the most attractive substance known to man (and woman).

A basic level of physical fitness provides all the energy you need and once you decide which (one or more) avenue(s) in which to invest your time and energy you will find plenty of role models to help along the way. Good luck and don’t let the b*stards grind you down.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

I don’t know why you think there’s supposed to be a “map”. And even if there was one, the job of a 21 year old IMO is to tear up any map that somebody else gives you, and make your own decisions. I also wonder what you think the rules were “1950s-1970s” especially given it spans the whole hippy upheaval of the 60s. I don’t know if you represent a wider voice, but if you do it would worry me that’s there’s a generation of young men waiting for somebody else to tell them what to do. It seems a ready-made vacuum for a populist leader, and I guess explains the appeal of someone like Peterson who claims he does indeed have the ‘map’.

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

We are living in a culture of failed feminism. Until we see that clearly, we can’t comment effectively. The claims of the sexual revolution need to be openly acknowledged as overstated and public policy needs to change to one that doesn’t put individualised sexual desire front and center. The issue for todays men is simple, investment in the opposite sex is unprofitable, as long as that condition holds society will degenerate and decline.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I don’t get the argument though about women not pairing off with working-class men.
It’s really not that complicated. Historically, men have mostly married laterally or downward; women have married laterally or upward. Today, colleges are majority female and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you don’t see many instances of the female professional married to a blue-collar male. Not that long ago, there were stories about such women complaining about the lack of financially-compatible male partners. You’re welcome to look that up; it was almost amusing. The irony is that there are plenty of skilled trade jobs that pay quite well, but Ms Attorney or HR Director is not likely to pair up with who sweats or gets dirty at work.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

There’s nothing wrong with that? But you just said that college-educated women won’t marry down – so it kind of is a problem, at the societal level if not an individual one.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

“the confused Jordan Peterson narrative that simultaneously wails about men’s victim-hood”
Jordan Peterson doesn’t wail about men’s victimhood, he does recommend they value themselves, life and being and not to adopt the “I’m a victim cop” out.
Different thing entirely.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

I think he does Both. The thing about Peterson imo is that it’s hard to nail down anything he says. People seem to hear what they want to hear from him. I’ve heard more than one guy quoting his ‘men are more likely to be imprisoned/killed/suicides’ line in a ‘poor us, we’re the real victims here’ way. But yes Peterson also seems to strongly promote personal responsibility. It’s why I described the advice as ‘confused’. You may hear a consistent message, I don’t.

Btw I’m also suspicious about the cultish adulation that he seems to attract. Tastes like Kool-Aid.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

If you’re confused it’s because you’re listening to “one guy quoting” rather than listening or reading what he say’s himself. It’s not obscure or difficult to understand at all.
He is absolutely clear on his abhorrence to the victim narrative and the consequent nihilism or resentment it fosters.
“Consult your resentment. It’s a revelatory emotion, for all its pathology. It’s part of an evil triad: arrogance, deceit, and resentment. Nothing causes more harm than this underworld Trinity. But resentment always means one of two things. Either the resentful person is immature, in which case he or she should shut up, quit whining, and get on with it, or there is tyranny afoot”in which case the person subjugated has a moral obligation to speak up. Why? Because the consequence of remaining silent is worse. Of course, it’s easier in the moment to stay silent and avoid conflict. But in the long term, that’s deadly. When you have something to say, silence is a lie”and tyranny feeds on lies. When should you push back against oppression, despite the danger? When you start nursing secret fantasies of revenge; when your life is being poisoned and your imagination fills with the wish to devour and destroy.”
“‱ Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

I’ve now listened to about an hour total of Peterson on YouTube and yes that piece quoted seems typical.

It sounds to me like one part common sense to about four parts pompous psychobabble. It reminds me very much of Khalil Gibran.

Either that or Sherlock Holmes. All that ‘evil triad, tyranny afoot, underworld trinity’.

He seems well-intentioned but I find it hard to take the guy as seriously as he takes himself, and I don’t like the crazed glint I keep seeing when middle aged men start talking about him. Like I say “cultish” is the word that comes to mind.

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

The gender ratio is 50:50. Who else do the women find to pair off with ?

Yeah, but a lot of women would rather stay single forever than pair up with men they consider beneath them.

Other than that, I agree with everything you said.