Choosing the Constraints That Make Boys Men


Further affirming what many of us have long thought about its ideological agenda, the American Psychological Association (APA) has apparently decided that traditional masculinity is a mental disease.  David French has it right:

Carlson has triggered a critical debate on the right, but then — just in time to remind us that well-meaning people from all sides of the political spectrum can propose solutions worse than the disease — along comes the American Psychological Association with its first-ever “Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men.” 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.”

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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. …

It is interesting that in a world that otherwise teaches boys and girls to “be yourself,” that rule often applies to everyone but the “traditional” male who has traditional male impulses and characteristics. Then, they’re a problem. Then, they’re often deemed toxic. Combine this reality with a new economy that doesn’t naturally favor physical strength and physical courage to the same extent, and it’s easy to see how men struggle.

French is dead on when he emphasizes the personal fulfillment men get when they do the sorts of things — when they can do the sorts of things — that were traditionally expected of them, when they can provide for their families, protect their children, overcome obstacles.  Can the attitude be taken to far or be misapplied?  Absolutely, but the same is true of any attitude.

One point French doesn’t emphasize, though, is that the APA statement is bunk.  To see why, consider that among the supposed harms of traditional masculinity, according to the organization, is that it “constrain[s men’s] behavior.”  Well, what is it that the APA is hoping to do?  The unspoken bridge is that the group wants to constrain and free men (and everybody else) in accord to its guiding, radical beliefs.

In the competing vision, that David French offers, the often-challenging constraints we place on boys is what guide them toward becoming fully men.  It is constraint to a greater self-fulfillment founded on men’s nature.  The radical view is much more in the line of “slavery is freedom” as a permanent state of being.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Nature? I remember an article about 10 years ago where Hasbro was attempting to make gender neutral “action figures”. They left boys and girls alone with them. The girls played “house” with them. The boys built catapults and shot the figures across the room. Last night I watched as much as I could stand of a movie. In it a 32 year old female “colonel” walks up to a 6’5″ “bad guy”. Gives him a right to the jaw and knocks him out cold. Not a lot of “heavy weights” could do that.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Today I had a look at Facebook, up popped a picture of a 10 year old “drag kid” in a dress and makeup, pictured with his nude and tattooed “drag queen” father. The father appears to have been “neutered”. The boy is reported to sing and “dance suggestively” in gay bars. Where are we going? Why isn’t the drag queen father under arrest? If I posted the picture here, would I be sharing “child porn”?