IN 2018, Kathy Gyngell wrote in TCW: ‘It’s time to call off the war on men and dispatch the hideous and despicable theory of toxic masculinity back to where it belongs.’
Almost three years later and the war on manhood still rages, yet men themselves now seem to be leading the charge.
During a recent stint at a UK university, I was told that as a male I should attend a workshop about masculinities and gender equality. The workshop was to be delivered by a male facilitator from the The GoodLad Initiative – now rebranded as Beyond Equality.
The Beyond Equality website delivers the familiar tirade towards men, asserting that we live ‘in a society that doesn’t hold men accountable’, with ‘the normalisation of aggression, inequality, coercion and control by men’.
Most alarmingly, Beyond Equality operates in dozens of schools – with the explicit mission of ‘rethinking masculinities’.
Beyond Equality is far from a lone voice in attacking and attempting to remould masculinity. The author of Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined, J. J. Bola, was recently interviewed by the Left-wing columnist Owen Jones.
Bola justifies his desire to redefine masculinity by making reference to the ‘incel’ community, claiming that this is a product of ‘toxic male entitlement’.
‘Incel’ is a portmanteau of the words involuntary and celibate, and is used to characterise males who express extreme misogyny in response to their inability to gain female attention.
Even if we accept the purity of their intentions, do those seeking to alter masculinity for the benefit of women actually consider what women want from men? Why are J. J. Bola and the folks at Beyond Equality so sure that their version of masculinity will create morally upstanding men who are desired by women?
However much these progressive men may wish to redefine masculinity, many women seem to favour men who embody more traditional masculine stereotypes. One study indicated that women deemed ‘heroic risk-takers’ to be more attractive, compared to men who were unwilling to take risks.
Furthermore, males with more traditional views on relationships between the sexes – known as ‘benevolent sexists’ – were rated as more attractive by women, compared to men deemed to be less sexist.
More anecdotally, but rather amusingly, confessions of liberal women concerned about their attraction towards Trump-supporting men have surfaced in recent years.
If involuntarily celibate men are indeed more inclined towards misogyny, then reforming men into more progressive – yet less attractive – potential partners is unlikely to improve relations between the sexes.
Beyond Equality and J. J. Bola both cite male violence towards women as evidence of the need to ‘rethink masculinity’. However, male violence towards women already puts the perpetrator far beyond the pale in the Western world.
Moreover, our societies already venerate a form of masculinity where men sacrifice their own safety for the protection of women. To use the evil acts of a minority of males to condemn men and pursue a radical social agenda is quite shameful.
The fact that many of the most vociferous proponents of reconceptualising masculinity are male seems rather telling. I question the extent to which those seeking to chastise men, manliness, and masculinity are genuinely concerned for the women they claim to be helping.
Instead, I believe that some men wish to create a new hierarchy of male virtues, in order to favour the more effeminate, ‘liberal’ man.
Our schools and universities are already filled with enough cultural Leftist propaganda, without the self-appointed male feminists telling our young how to become men.