Opinion - A new fashion trend for summer 2017 is The RompHim, a male specific adaptation of clothing worn by women. This follows in the footsteps of other gender specific items like makeup or tights. Claims that The RompHim is somehow a part of a plot orchestrated by the left, to undermine traditional gender roles and attack masculinity are humorous. Of course, the creators of The RompHim made no attempt to do such a thing and assertions they have such an agenda is absurd. Making such accusations opens oneself up to attacks by the left over fragile masculinity or making a mountain out of an anthill.
The ability for those on the left to dismiss claims of emasculation are exactly why things such as makeup for men and The RompHim are so dangerous. It provides a foundation for those on the left to deny the effects of postmodernism on men, by framing the argument around the absurdity of single issues instead of societal trends. It is not as if the manufactures are all involved in some grand scheme to destroy masculinity. In addition, numerous memes and jokes criticize the product in an equal or greater amount than the support shown. So if the creators are not part of a greater conspiracy to men nor receive universal praise, then why claim it has some part in the emasculation of men? Individually, gender neutral items pose no threat to the overall image of men and are unsuccessful. Yet, over a period of years the combined number of feminine products being pushed on men, at a minimum, have the effect of normalizing emasculation.
Most frustrating is that any attempt to correlate this normalization with emasculation is vehemently met by the left, especially radical feminists, with claims of male fragility. Even more so, the left ruthlessly prevents any conversation of men’s issues due to their subscription to the principles of critical theory. Their ideological beliefs of the oppressor vs. the oppressed, prevent them from accepting that cisgendered men suffer from issues like crime, substance abuse, and suicide more than women. Control of the narrative and refusal to compromise outside the terms of critical theory allow the left to teach boys and young men that masculinity is wrong. Progressives alter the term masculinity to mean practices associated with misogyny and sexism, rather than what books and websites dedicated to manhood actually teach.
The effects of emasculation contribute to the undermining of male identity in the United States. This does not mean that men who show emotion and deal with it properly are wrong, the issue lies with society’s assault on manhood from the popular clueless father trope, to radical feminism where society will benefit from the end of men. Under critical theory, the demise of cisgendered males and their roles in society is something to be embraced and celebrated. Yet studies show that families following traditional gender roles ultimately produce the best family environment and are half as likely to be in poverty. The focus of such a claim is to highlight the idiocy of attacking traditional family structures, or gender roles, as something that needs to be brought to an end.
The RompHim a perfect example of why dealing with issues men face, particularly masculinity, is so difficult. On its own, the RompHim has nothing to do with emasculation, until it combines with the other feminine products being shifted towards men. This mirrors how individual trends in the US seem to be separate from emasculation, but combine with a number of other trends to create a significant issue. Progressives prevent conservatives from effectively discussing the single issue (The RompHim) and in turn this stops further discussion of the problem created by the individual trends coming together.
The left has been so successful that most millennials do not believe the absence of the father in a family is an issue. 44% of millennials believe that a child does not need both parents present to be happy. Though the likeliness of mental illness, suicide, propensity towards crime, poor academic performance, and poverty all decrease with the presence of both a mother and father. In addition, 46% of millennials believe the growing diversity of family arrangements is a positive thing. This ignores the fact that children from traditional families avoid unemployment, government assistance, and criminal activity at higher rates compared to other family models.
A lack of knowledge of the traditional family unit helps us understand why confusion exists surrounding the male role within that model. The push for men to embrace being more feminine comes at a time when vast numbers of men are struggling with their own identity. Men fortunate enough to have a father and grandfathers as guides taught men it is their duty to provide and protect his family. In history, we find men such as Teddy Roosevelt, George Marshall, and Chesty Puller are paragons of masculinity. Imagine if the ranks of young men facing a crisis of self were taught about how Teddy Roosevelt overcame similar issues at that age. The struggle men face in coming to an understanding of manhood has always existed, it is just today's society has removed the lessons and tools to overcoming it.
Failure to instill ideas of masculinity in boys has profound effects on young men and the boys developing now. Rather than teach learning styles suitable to both genders, children are taught as though no difference exists. Refusal to acknowledge boys learn differently from girls has led to nearly 20% of boys in grades K-8 being diagnosed with ADHD. Suffering from medication and a system unfair to boys, can it be any surprise that young women are more likely to hold a college degree and be currently enrolled in college? That roughly 10% of working-age men in America, roughly 10 million men, are unemployed?
Janice Crouse writes that young men are asked, “To identify with and to emulate overgrown boy actors like Steve Carell, Luke and Owen Wilson, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell and Seth Rogen.” Removing figures in media that serve as role models for what a father should be harms boys and young men. Commercials, television, and movies fail to provide examples of what the proper role of a father is in the family structure. Rather than showing the father as a figure that both celebrates his own masculinity and treats his spouse as an equal, we are given men who are immature, or are just plain idiotic. If a masculine character does exist, it reinforces the mistruth that masculinity is synonymous for sexism and misogyny.
Critical theory teaches that to behave in a masculine way reinforces the idea of the patriarchy and serves as a form of oppression towards women. Honest conversation about manhood, best found at TheArtofManliness.com, shows it is about self-improvement to better serve society and gender equality. Further, that it is the combination of both masculine and feminine identities that form the most successful family model. To somehow label this as misogynistic or repressive of women fails to grasp what masculinity and traditional gender roles are in the first place. Should a conversation about masculinity actually occur, people would understand that masculinity centers around being a good man.
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