The Hysteria Over ‘Man Up’ – Why it Matters
There’s been a reawakening of blue-tick Twitterati outrage and middle-class ostentatious hysteria after MP and next UK prime minister Jeremy Hunt told his rival in the race to get to number 10, Boris Johnson, to ‘man up’.
‘Why is this so bad?’ You may ask.
“Man Up,” you may say and as the video below outlines, “is just a ‘tough love’ term used between men to show honour, bravery and strength in the face of fear, weakness and softness.”
Well perhaps it once was, but it is no longer thus in certain circles – especially the circles of mainstream media.
Masculinity itself has been the target of various attacks in recent years, from being the source of the oppressive and ugly ‘patriarchy’, to the specter behind the male suicide crisis, and even as a ‘fragile’ entity in and of itself.
But where do these sustained attacks all stem from?
As regular viewers/readers of Recovering Man will know, I (Richard) was once exactly the wounded, resentful, anxiety-ridden, addicted progressive-minded beta male that once espoused these ideas of ‘masculinity’ itself being evil.
You can view my story below:
While my own experience may be on the more extreme end of damaged men who seek revenge on life by attempting to destroy any notion that there’s an inherent value, competence and meaning to being a strong, independent man, I believe the circus around ‘Man Up’ goes a little deeper.
Sure, there’s underlying resentment in such a movement, there are those who cannot sexually compete with alpha-males and thus become a feminist ‘ally’, there are those with resentment towards their fathers which they externalize as resentment to the patriarchy itself, as well as those young and rebellious souls who just want to, well, rebel.
However, there is a further dimension to this, and that is that men themselves have failed.
The anti-masculinity crowd see only this failure and emphasize this to be the be and end-all of masculinity itself.
Yet the reality is that we as a society have become complacent and weak.
Everything is at our fingertips in this day and age, the world that strong men created has enabled modern men to live as eternal boys, living hedonistic lifestyles and not fulfilling the role of the stoic wise father, but instead behaving in reckless, and sometimes abusive, ways towards families and society.
Such a situation has rendered men lost.
Men are no longer the prized providers and are instead drowning in a world of things to buy, all to render life ever easier, with easy ‘tinder sex’ and porn aplenty, with a chronic lack of discipline.
This weakened masculinity doesn’t just affect women, but boys as well, and in this quagmire men are now growing up without any clear idea of what a man or masculinity really is.
Therefore, we have created a vacuum of masculinity which allows those with a score to settle to pathologize it.
Perhaps the saddest part of all this is that in our age of comfort, ‘things to buy and a lack of responsibility, mental health and suicide are booming.
While this can clearly be traced back to the dissolution of clear and simple masculine purpose, when men had to grow, strive and discipline themselves to face the challenges of life, society now looks at masculinity itself (despite it falling apart) as the reason for the mental health and suicide crisis amongst men.
It was my direct experience that as I began to face the brutality of life’s challenges and implement core purpose, my mental health issues and addictions weakened.
This allowed me to tap into my core masculine energy, which was healing.
From such a place, men begin to have easier and smoother interactions with the feminine, as well as with other men.
Yet this is ignored in the current debate, as it shows there’s an inherent value to masculinity – that masculinity isn’t an evil oppressive system with one purpose; to control.
Ina actuality, humans have based their cultures on the interplay of the masculine and feminine since time immemorial.
We have the ancient Chinese Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine), the Abrahamic Father and Mother Nature of the major religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) and so forth underpinning our very concept of being.
The below points out some of the traditional variants of the masculine and feminine dynamic:
Despite this ancient dynamic, expressed in the human form and extrapolated throughout the universe, such definitions have become simply too simplistic and ‘bigoted’ for our contemporary era with a misguided sense of equality at its root.
In our present mindset, to state general differences between men and women is just sexist.
Thus, masculinity itself must be debased, while femininity celebrated.
In turn, this leads to the feminine view of masculinity as violent, unthinking and depression-inducing and the usage of phrases such as man-up as just perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
So what are men to do?
Well, in every moment of chaos, the Japanese say, comes opportunity.
In this whirlwind of changing times and ‘deconstructing’ gender, men have an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of their biological, cultural and political reality, all while furthering their knowledge of their deepest spiritual reality too.
This is why Recovering Man exists. To offer men an introduction to that path and to help them become leaders, followers and individual actors embodying wisdom, courage and strength in an increasingly stormy and unpredictable world.