It appears that there is a growing imbalance in the validation of our biological gender differences. It is great that girls are no longer stigmatized for being athletic and for their emerging assertiveness. In addition, for the most part, women have gained the right to compete in the workplace based on merit. On the other hand, boys have not yet found their way in appreciating their masculinity. The consequences are manifest in the data that I have frequently blogged that demonstrate how we are losing our boys. It seems that boys and many men are either mired in gender role confusion or have adopted the toxic masculinity culture instead of embracing the best of their masculinity.
On point is a recent article in the Washington Post on the armed vigilante groups which have appeared at cities where Black Lives Matter protests are happening. The article attempts to explain the non-political part of the motivation of many of the men who are joining these groups. Interviews of group members reveal that one of the reason these men are traveling considerable distances to appear at the protest marches wearing armor and brandishing long guns is their desire to protect property. For them, the need to express their masculine energy to protect has been subverted to vigilantism. The question is what is so lacking in their everyday personal lives that they need to protect property that is normally protected by local law enforcement? Has the pandemic, the gender neutrality agenda and the perceived feminization of manhood led some men to act out in hyper masculine fashion? Certainly the loss of control over one’s environment engendered by the loss of income and the inability to have any influence on the outcome of the pandemic has resulted in a diminishing of personal power. The loss of power can lead to anger and an attempt to regain masculinity by protective behavior that has no direct connection to their personal lives.
I would suggest that a more productive way to manage the perceived loss of power that men are experiencing is to engage in men’s work. It is not difficult to find a men’s group in person or virtually in most areas of our country. Being in the company of men in a non-shaming environment where they can share their life’s journey is empowering and helps men live the best of masculinity.