Toxic Masculinity?

It is no secret that segments of our society want to neuter men.  Beginning with an attack on boys who play with toy guns, continuing with the “participation trophy” mantra which decries completion and makes everyone equal winners/losers, to the now intentional de-gendering dynamic in public schools that insists we cannot “assign” gender to boys simply because of biological science. Isn’t it funny how “science” has God like status in other areas (such as evolution) but when it comes to determining scientifically one’s gender, “science” goes out the window. But now we have joining the liberal chorus of social engineering, major companies.

The Proctor & Gamble company has created quite a stir with their advertising campaign where their men’s brand, Gillette, is denouncing “toxic masculinity”.  On the surface, it is an attack on males who are bad actors, who abuse, bully, intimidate, and run “rough shod” over people.  It is designed to say that we cannot do business as normal.  Men can no longer use their toxic masculinity to carry out these bad societal traits.  But do not be fooled into thinking that this attack is only on “toxic” masculinity. The real target is masculinity as differentiated from femininity. Today’s far left liberals do not believe in either category.

Ostensibly, what they desire to do is take masculine traits like strength, leadership, protective “warrior” instincts, and competitiveness, and denounce them because a small minority of men use some of these traits abusively.  They take these traits, which are positive traits woven into men from creation, and cast them as “toxic traits” in and of themselves.  In other words, any “aggressive trait” is wrong; all should be passive. Male “leadership” is wrong; all should be neutral.  Competitiveness is wrong; all should be willingly deferential. Assertiveness is wrong; all should be submissive.  As a matter of fact, being male, it seems, is wrong.  Men need to really be women.  And if they were, we would not have these problems.

This is the same tactic used for instance is the biblical discipline of spanking children.  To the liberal biblically uniformed mind, all corporeal discipline is “child abuse”.  Have there been bad acting parents who have abused their children?  Absolutely!  But we don’t throw the “baby out with the bathwater”.  The tactic here is to take the worst iteration of a thing and superimpose that iteration upon every iteration of that thing.  Has male headship been abused by some?  You had better believe it.  But that does not point to the illegitimacy of male headship any more than corrupt politicians’ points to the need to outlaw all politicians, or bad police officers pointing to the need to do away with all police officers. You see, if we used “Gillette logic” in every area of life we’d have a dysfunctional, anarchical society.

But liberal thinkers do not want this.  What they want is to do away with all masculine traits in men because some bad actors sully the definition of masculinity. What is the definition of masculinity?  David, in Psalm 18 gives us a pretty good idea. The Psalm is written in praise to God who is “my rock and my fortress” both profound terms of strength (v. 1, 2). It speaks of how God has delivered David from his enemies because of his trust in God and his righteous adherence to God’s truth. But in the midst of the Psalm, he begins addressing this strength in terms of how God has made David and how David’s strength reflects God’s.  In vv. 31, 32 he says, “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God – the God who equipped me with strength”.  Now, one might say, “yes, but there are all kinds of strength”.  Well, David, in context, begins to identify the kind strength about which he is talking:

  • In v. 33 he says, “He made my feet like the feet of a deer”; i.e. swift and sure
  • In v. 34 he says, “He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze”

There can be no question that David is speaking here of physical prowess. David was a warrior king, reflecting the fact that “the Lord is a man of war” (Ex. 15:3). Israel was glad he is. And God has created men to be “men of war”.  God has created men with physical capabilities beyond that of women.  Again, to deny this is to deny both observable and provable science.  But then God gives men the sufficient dose of “testosterone” to be able to employ that physical prowess in the right way at the right time.  I thank God that this liberal nonsense had not taken hold in our society before and during two world wars. Thanks in large part to traditional manhood, America was able be the difference maker between victory and defeat in two world wars. I’m sure strength, aggression, and competitiveness were not seen as being “toxic” in those days.  Let’s hope we never have to fight a third world war (for numerous reasons). But one reason is that they don’t give out participation trophies in world wars.  There are winners and losers in real life.

But physical prowess is not the definition of masculinity in total.  David goes on the say “you have given me the shield of your salvation” (v. 35a).  Physical salvation for Israel was always a picture of spiritual salvation.  A real man is a spiritual man.  This is what “tempers the testosterone” so to speak.  Jesus was a real man.  He was not afraid to go “toe to toe” with his enemies spiritually, intellectually, or even physically (see his two cleansing of the Temple episodes). But his strength and physical aggression was never sinful or inappropriate.  It was guided by spiritual timber.

But David adds one dimension to his masculinity that shows real masculinity to be fully orbed.  He says in the last half of v. 35, “your gentleness made me great”.  God imputed to David a biblical gentleness that completed his masculinity.  It was not David’s “warrior status” that made him great. It was not even the fact that God had made him alive spiritually that made him great.  What ultimately made David great is that all those masculine traits were moderated by God’s gentleness.  Strength for strength’s sake is not a masculine trait.  Aggression for aggression’s sake is not a masculine trait.  Leadership for leadership’s sake is not a masculine trait. But all the traits of masculinity tempered by the spirit and monitored by God’s gentleness produce biblical masculinity.  That was David.  That was Jesus.

Don’t be fooled by the world, “Gillette”, or the Devil into believing that masculinity is toxic.  Yes, masculinity can be abused.  But I can think of no greater abuse than to convince a boy that he is not to be masculine as the Bible would define it.



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