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Is Masculinity Toxic?

In recent weeks various news stories have brought the topic of masculinity into the forefront of the national discussion in America.  The phrase "toxic masculinity" is being used to identify a number of ills that our society may or may not actually be suffering from.  But manhood, gentility, and masculinity is at the heart of our values at The Gents Place, so we wanted to share our own thoughts on the matter.

What is masculinity?

You'll find masculinity in most dictionaries defined as, "qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of men."  You might smile a bit when you read that definition, because it contains so many assumptions of an era that seems bygone, but an era that we wish to bring back in various ways at The Gents Place.  What is it that is "characteristic of men"?  When we think about this question, we don't look to new ideas and inventions of the last few years for answers, but what tradition and culture have handed down for centuries, even millennia.

Men do many things, but they have been in various cultures and religions worldwide been defined as protectors, providers, and presiders.  They fulfill these roles not just because they have natural attributes that allow them to do so, but because any society needs clearly defined roles and responsibilities of all its members, male and female, child and elder, to actually function productively, not just for a few weeks, but for ages.  It's not a matter of superiority or inferiority, but rather of complementarity: helping, strengthening, and filling in each other's weaknesses so that as a family, as a community, as a nation, we are stronger.

Why does it matter?

Masculinity matters because men have a role of leadership in society.  Not just society in the United States, but worldwide, and not just recently, but for a very long time.  That role is not a license for tyranny, but a burden of responsibility, a challenge to be taken up by each new generation.  As we've always said here at The Gents Place, when you look your best, you feel your best, and men who look and feel their best change the world.  We always hope to serve as an accelerator and maintainer of masculinity and proper gentlemanly virtues.

What is actually toxic?

Unfortunately, public discourse in America is toxic in various ways that are not immediately fixable.  But that too, is a challenge to be accepted by men.  This means not getting drawn into endless online debates, or being calm in the face of a mob, no matter what your age.  Toxicity can be combated by calm leadership and the serenity of knowing you are doing what you are supposed to do, what has been done by men before you for generations.  Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.  That's the response we choose here at The Gents Place, and we know that many of our members quietly do as well, and those actions will have a long term positive effect on our communities, and hopefully, the nation as well.

What are your thoughts?  Share in the comments below and we'll upgrade your service for free at your next visit to one of our clubs, from a 3-course to a 5-course or from a 5-course to a 7-course.  A great haircut does many things, one of which is keeping you your manly and masculine best.

Ben Davis

About Ben Davis

A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.

Agree. Men play important roles not only in society but in the family. We are already such a fatherless society but nothing is more important in the role of father to be a servant leader and raise up the next generation to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. As goes with the family, so goes society at large.

Hey Taylor,

Thank you so much for your comment! We have added a complimentary 5 Course Refresher to your visit on March 16th. See you soon!

I absolutely could not agree any more. More and more statistics show that the world is actually becoming a safer place to live in. People are living longer and by and large, crime is actually decreasing. With the modern prevalence of media that is fueled by views and meddling with peoples’ emotions, it is easy to see why people want to lash out at anything and everything.

Ultimately, I think everyone needs to live by the “Golden Rule” and see where life takes them. I am a big believer in the mantra that good things happen to good people and that people need to make their own luck.

The attack on all things masculine approaches the fundamental flaws demonstrated by nearly all facets of our current 140 character, social media driven simplistic public discourse. The complexity and nuance necessary to discuss almost any modern topic is lost on the vast majority of media outlets and public commentary.
The roles of the sexes as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each has a long history that is generally ignored by those taking fashionable positions. The central issue, in my mind, revolves around the difficulty of defining when either set of preferences, masculine or feminine, is taken too far. The masculine attributes of hierarchy, aggression, or competition are easily singled out and subjected to criticism. The feminine attributes in too large a dose are just as destructive but more difficult to define.
There is no shortage of ‘toxic masculinity’ in the world, ISIS for example. The virtues of masculinity; courage, honor, integrity and sacrifice are important through time. If we systematically denigrate the adaptive and historically important attributes of the masculine, when we need those virtues individually or as a society, we will fail miserably.

Hey Woody!

Thanks so much for your comment! We have added a complimentary upgrade to your account to be used at your next visit.

Great Article!
I would go even as far to include that masculinity is evolving from just protector, provider to an even more extensive skill set everything from staying at home with kids to cooking dinner and doing laundry. Set a positive example for the next generation shine the light. These old idealistic definitions are just a base for future generations to build upon, and if men fail to build upon and focus on tearing down the positive masculinity examples that are so far and few between then as a society we will fall into an endless loop.

Gallantry. Chivalry. Husbandry. Nobility. Humility. Generosity. Bravery. Honorability. Sobriety.
Reliability. Loyalty. These are just a taste of some of the manly virtues. Few men emulate all
of them all of the time, but most men emulate at least some of them some of the time. Even the
worst criminals among men may still have a strong sense of honor and loyalty.

Within every man, there is a knight waiting to be born or already errant. Be proud of this heritage,
gentlemen! The daughters of Morgana make mock you, but you must show them through your deeds
and your demeanor that you know otherwise.

We totally agree, Steven! Thank you so much for your comment. What Club do you normally visit? We would love to add a complimentary upgrade to be used at your next visit.

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