Within the past couple of weeks, the internet, social media, and conversations are divisive on the whole concept of Toxic Masculinity. It appears this initially came out from the American Psychological Association’s recent publication: APA Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men. To develop awareness, the APA provides A Closer Look at the APA Psychological Practice with Men and Boys.
Recently, an approximate 2-minute video ad from Gillette has garnered consternation and support.
The ad, focusing on their long time slogan, asks: Is this the best a man can get? The ad features incidents of bullying, sexual harassment, and what scholars are calling Toxic Masculinity. (Continue reading below the reblog and video posts).
Here are some interesting articles regarding the response to Gillette’s recent, and controversial ad. This is in regards to our social construct and understanding of masculinity and it’s place in modern society. To read more, click on the hyperlinks for these interesting conversation starters.
From the staff at Joshua Outpost and their article – What Makes a Man
What do all of these stories have in common? They point to an important cultural conversation taking place both outside and inside the church: Is manhood under siege? What does a real man look like? What do we do about the growing cultural dynamic of protracted boyhood? Who will teach our boys to be men? In teaching boys to be men, how do we avoid narrow cultural stereotypes? What does the Bible say about gender distinction? What does it teach about a man being a man? How different are men from women?
These are ongoing debates whose conclusions will shape the lives of thousands of boys who are in the process of becoming men. The “manhood” conversation is something no serious Christian can avoid.
Scott Keith at the Jagged Word writes up his views on Toxic Masculinity
So, what does it mean to be masculine? Well, there is probably not much agreement on the answer to this question these days. But in days gone by, it seems there was a kind of universal sense of what it meant. Then, descriptors like strong, brave, wise, capable, self-guided, entrepreneurial, self-sufficient, gracious, kind, and good would have summed it up nicely. Men like this protected people.
Hunter Drew at the Family Alpha writes up how the real toxicity of masculinity is repressed masculinity
Oppressed masculinity becomes repressed masculinity which turns to depressed masculinity.
All that rhyming simply means when you’re told to bottle up all of that biological programming, it makes you a sad individual and kills a piece of who you are as a man.
Constantly suppressing your natural instinct gets you to the point where you feel like you’re breathing through a straw; yeah, you’re still around, but are you really living?
Allie Stuckey on Making men masculine again
Christian Masculinity and Righteous Men
What the APA, our present culture and society, and what some professionals within the behavioral health field, may not understand what true masculinity is. While they are able to define masculinity in a more secular understanding; Christians have a more appropriate and authentic source that helps us understand and define what it truly means to be a man. For a lack of better phraseology, we may refer to this as Godly or Divine masculinity.
The characteristics of a Christian Man are:
- Living a focused life
- Understanding the true battle
- Ability to stand one’s ground
- Derive identity from God
- Seeking Holiness and Righteousness
- Become a blessing to their families
- Ability to accept and endure hardship
- Accept responsibility and accountability
- Deepen faith and relationship with God
These characteristics are manifested in the many men of scripture. From Adam on down through our modern times. This does not mean we are perfect in any way shape or form. However, it means that as a post-modern Christian society, we have lost touch with true masculinity and heritage. We’ve traded holiness and righteousness for secular pleasures and idealism.
In his book – Men of Valor The Powerful Impact of a Righteous Man – Robert L. Millet provides this insight regarding the character of Gideon:
Valor represents bravery and strength of character, boldness, and fortitude – all qualities that prepare a person to act responsibly in times of need, of challenge, or danger.
Millet then calls for men to rise up:
If ever there was a time, if ever there was a season, if ever there was a cause that cried out for men of purpose and men of purity to step forward and draw upon the powers of heaven, it is today.
Notice the characteristics of true and genuine masculinity rests upon the idea of being valiant, of purpose, and of a clean heart and mindset.
Millet further explains that, as men, we have a calling (for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is the Melchizedek Priesthood Authority) to fulfill. This calling is for us to:
- Daily take up our cross and follow our Heavenly Father
- Deny ourselves of any and all ungodliness
- Occupy our minds with uplifting thoughts
- Meditate upon the truth, being honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8).
- Avoiding places and influences (including people) that may degrade or dilute our character
- Make a difference in the lives of one another
- Creating a space for peace, harmony, and good-will
The reason for this call to action is because this is not just a social issue, it is a spiritual war and us men are called to battle. What we are battling is the confusion, the pollution of present beliefs and perceptions of what real masculinity is about. This includes battling the long entrenched traditional toxic masculinity concept of social understanding.
Millet is not alone, neither is Ackerman. Richard Exley wrote his book – Man of Valor Every Man’s Quest for a Life of Honor, Conviction, and Character.
Exley focuses on the following concepts:
- Spiritual Passions
- Sexual Purity
- Godly Compassion
These further define, and enrich, our understanding of true Godly masculinity from a Christian perspective. The principles tie in the scriptures, modern understanding and insight, and how we want to shift our perception over to a more rational belief about what a true man is.
Summary of thought
As a Christian, we go much further than secular society. We already understand and know what defines a true and righteous man in relationship to God. This, better enlightenment, brings us to understand how we are able to examine our own self and see where we are within the scope of scriptural revelation as to whether we are valiant, righteous, and courageous.
In fact, as Christian men, we possess the wisdom and knowledge to help other men become the best they may become through the spiritual disciplines and scriptural mandates. As the Apostle Paul iterated in one of his letters – let us put off the old man and walk in the newness of Life that is granted to us through Jesus Christ by no longer becoming slaves to our previous attitudes, beliefs, and worldviews.
Meaning, let us shed the toxic ideology of what masculinity is and come to understand how authentic and genuine masculinity is revealed through God.
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