My friend Adina shared an article about the decline of masculinity in men. Masculinity has traditionally involved men acting according to a specific gender role. One of the components of men’s traditional roles is chivalry. Chivalry means that the man is very informed about character and morality, and he acts on these convictions.
Here’s an article about the decline in male chivalry from The College Fix. (H/T Adina)
Today, boys and men are taught to shun chivalry and their natural inclination to protect and cherish women.
While oppression of women in America was the status quo for centuries, now traditional masculine qualities are under fire. Today, men are the ones in trouble.
What changed? I believe we can begin to trace the emerging “end of men” with the introduction of the welfare system, which incentivized women to forego marriage. As a result, 40 percent of children now grow up without fathers in the home as opposed to 10 percent in the 1960s.
With the disappearance of dads, little boys lost their male role models. Because of this, boys do not shed their childish ways. Without fathers, they are more likely to be sexually promiscuous, serve jail time, and use drugs, studies show. All these negative activities affect men’s emotional behaviors, which in turn ends up hurting women.
And specifically regarding the mentoring natural of traditional masculinity:
Today, men cannot voice constructive criticism without being accused of sexism or “mansplaining.” With the denial of rights — the right to be a father, the right to be chivalrous, the right to cherish women, the right to be a masculine man, the right to speak freely and defend oneself — comes the removal of responsibility. It makes sense that we see the trend of irresponsibility among men accelerate. Without responsibility, men have no purpose for which to strive.
The welfare state really upsets me. It seems to me that those programs are there to make a good husband unnecessary, since the state takes the place of the man as provider. Before, men who earned a lot were sought after by women. But now, women can easily delay marriage to high-earning men, and instead spend their 20s going after men who aren’t interested in or capable of marriage. The welfare state is there to make avoiding responsible men “work out”. But the responsible men are actually paying for these programs, but without getting any of the respect they deserve. There isn’t anything in society that is telling women that men who do traditional roles like providing and mentoring are better than a hot bad boy and a welfare check. We have a 42% out-of-wedlock birth rate right now, and a $20 trillion national debt. We’re not doing a good job of teaching women which men they should be choosing. We’re not doing a good job of teaching women how to be in a relationship with a man without giving him premarital sex. Men are keeping silent while women make important life choices without any practical guidance. And the reason why is because men have become frightened about treating women like moral agents, subject to the same concerns about morality and responsibility that men are. It is essential that men be encouraged to bring up practical concerns, moral concerns, and step-by-step planning out of life goals with women. It helps women to focus less on feelings and how they are perceived, so they can make decisions that are likely to produce the outcomes that they want.
Here’s an interesting article in the Federalist that makes a point I’ve often made about eradication gender roles. If you get rid of the idea men ought to perform certain roles in society, and then don’t give them any respect for fulfilling those roles, then don’t be surprised when they reject the expectations of society.
Well, our brave new world of gender equality—in which we scoff at gender differences and men and women are encouraged to act the same—often proves harmful to women and girls. While the modern feminist movement won women tremendous freedoms educationally, professionally, personally, and sexually, it often leaves women feeling anything but empowered.
The reality is these freedoms have too often come at the expense of all values and traditions. We’ve in effect thrown the helpful social mores out with the old-fashioned bathwater. But it’s the modern feminist movement, which ushered away any hint of traditional chivalry and gendered expectations, that’s in part to blame. Certainly few want to return to an age when gender roles were excessively rigid, but feminists have gone to extremes and encouraged a culture that undermines healthy gender relationships. Men who hold doors are now viewed as part of the patriarchal society. And girls are expected to just “be one of the guys.”
But gender roles helped men and women and in times past allowed the sexes to better navigate the sometimes-rough waters of romance, courtship, marriage, and sex. Feminists view the chivalry and social mores of previous generations as anachronistic. But the reality is these traditional customs of giving up a seat for a woman on a train, or accompanying a woman in public, weren’t all rooted in sexism. They were social structures to help make men more respectful of women and to curb this kind of inappropriate behavior.
It might not have been perfect, but it had a purpose. Today’s dismissal of gender differences instead creates confusion, disappointment, and often more opportunity for harassment.
It seems to me that this article explains why men are so disappointing these days with respect to rising up to the roles of protector, provider, moral leader and spiritual leader.
If you tell women that there is nothing that men aspire to that is different than what women aspire to, then they lose the ability to evaluate men as protectors, providers, moral leaders and spiritual leaders. If men have no special roles, then the only way to distinguish a good one from a bad one is by appearance, peer-approval and tingles (feelings). Once men understand that this is how they are being evaluated, that’s where they put their effort.
I can tell you that in my experience, women who are influenced by feminism do not welcome men who focus on and excel at these male responsibilities. My new duties, as I understand them from the culture, are to be fun-loving, thrill-providing, and non-judgmental. No definite moral or spiritual opinions are allowed. That’s the job of the public schools – to teach us right and wrong and our secular religion. And protecting and providing? That’s the job of the police and the army, and the government social programs. Men don’t like it when they don’t have respect for fulfilling roles that are their responsibility. We do better when we are respected for being able to do something that others cannot do, and when we are not micro-managed by others while doing it.
Regarding chivalry, I think it’s only safe to do now with women who explicitly reject feminism. Being chivalrous to a feminist doesn’t earn her respect, so don’t bother. They’ll just get you in trouble, which can ruin your ability to be be chivalrous to the minority of women who respect you for doing that.