Imagine if you were undertaking a concerted effort to undermine the role of the father. How would you do it?
Would you go on an all out frontal attack, metaphorical guns blazing? Like the low-consciousness keyboard warriors and Twitter activists who lose nuance (and credibility) in being ‘like totally outraged’ and ‘I can’t even (crying emoji)’?
Or would you do it by stealth so that people everywhere, men in particular, didn’t see it coming until it was too late.
Would you start to poke fun at fathers? Would you portray them in the media and in children’s programming as hapless buffoons (Daddy pig in Peppa Pig, Homer Simpson).
Which approach would be the most effective in making sure that fathers were seen as being surplus to requirements – even a negative influence on children growing up?
Or would you try a different like of attack? A third way?
The Feminization of Fatherhood
“Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?”
Bonny Tyler ‘Holding Out for a Hero’
That is certainly the first (and probably the last) time that I quote a BonnieTyler power ballad on this blog. However her question stands on its own:
Where have all the men gone?
“What kind of a question is that? Look around you, there are men everywhere!”
I know, but everywhere I look I see the role of men in the family being undermined. Years of cultural conditioning made me blind to this. Seeing this truth was my ‘Red Pill’ moment.
My culture wants me to be more like a woman.
My culture sees men and fathers as a threat.
My culture wants me to be a victim.
I appreciate that to qualify these statements I will need to provide some evidence to support my position. Which is difficult. Why? Because the gradual undermining and feminization is stealthy and subtle.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t try. If you think this post is anecdotal, that’s because it is. Though I challenge you to prove me wrong.
From Victory to Victimhood
My father lived through the second World War. Men a few years older than him fought and died on foreign soil and sand hundreds, even thousands of miles from home.
Those that survived returned victorious, riding on a wave of euphoria and relief.
Fast forward 70 odd years and men are in crisis. A crisis of identity, of physical, emotional and spiritual health.
This is compounded by cheap unhealthy foods, limitless availability of pornographic material and 24/7 entertainment. We live in an ‘all-you-can-eat’ society:
All you can eat restaurants.
All you can eat porn.
All you can eat entertainment.
And for the most part, we gorge ourselves, sating our hunger at the feeding trough of Western Civilisation. The result? Obesity, hormone imbalances and infertility and loneliness.
But remember, none of this is your fault right? You are completely passive in all your choices. Instead you’re a victim.
Addicted to food. Addicted to porn. Addicted to computer games.
Why is the addict label convenient? Because if you have an addiction, you can blame diminished responsibility. You don’t have a lack of discipline, YOU HAVE AN ILLNESS.
Or do you?
If anyone is to blame for the creeping but intentional feminization of the father, it’s us.
We let this happen.
We were too busy hunched over our laptops watching porn in the dark, eating cheetos while we waited for the Xbox to load up.
And while we were distracting ourselves, culture shifted.
Fathers are the Problem, Never the Solution
Here are some popular myths about men:
All wars are the responsibility of men.
Males are inherently violent.
Testosterone is evil
And here are some statements that can get you fired from any job:
The wage gap is a myth.
Rape culture is a myth.
The patriarchy is a myth
Sadly I’m unable to go into the merits (or otherwise) of these statements in this post. However if you want to know how society views fathers, follow the news for a week or watch a few modern TV shows and count the number of positive role models that are also fathers are portrayed.
What if you weren’t mentally strong enough to discern your way through either set of statements. You would swallow both sets whole. Here’s my hypothesis: all six have elements of truth and falsehood.
But here’s what I do know: Fathers are not the problem. We are the solution.
When was the last time you met someone with a strong father who was a mess? Strong, fit fathers have strong, fit sons. My father isn’t a tall man, but to me he’s a towering giant, characterised by compassion, determination and mental strength.
His generation would have preferred prison to some of the demeaning images Dads are bombarded with in our time.
Stop Trying to Man up and Be a Woman
Here’s a counter-cultural statement:
Men and women can have different roles and responsibilities within the family.
Disagree? That’s fine. You are free to live your life in any way you wish.
What are the signs that fathers are out? Well you could read Good Men Project and see what role they see fathers fulfilling (Stay at home dad, cry baby, subservient white knight?).
Joking aside (please don’t read GMP – it’s trash), you could open your eyes, harness your confirmation bias and see the hidden signs within the fabric of your culture.
This image was shocking to a lot of people. Many were outraged. For me, it doesn’t make me feel angry or under threat.
But it does allow me to get my idea out – that a man’s identity in the family is being eroded to the point where most don’t even know what a Dad’s job is anymore.
This photoshoot was probably meant as a joke or a bit of fun by some expectant fathers. Harmless fun.
But it sends out messages that you may find altogether more harmful such as:
“Men cannot share in the experience of raising children unless they mimic their female partners.”
“Behaving effeminately is ‘mega-lolz’ – masculine Dads are out – we only want neck bearded, baby sling wearing, craft beer drinking, chubsters. Because they don’t pose a threat to anyone and will raise ‘nice’ boys and girls.”
“Forget strength, or the masculine prowess that has protected the human race for a couple of million years. We want men to hide their genitals and pretend to be female.”
Don’t Be Outraged, Be The Difference
When you see images like this or tune into the fact that you are an endanged species as a man, you could feel under threat.
Or you could make a conscious decision to ignore it altogether. Anger and outrage take up considerable amounts of energy. You know what I did after I found the image of those men on my Instagram feed?
I deadlifted 150% of my bodyweight for reps. Why? Because I can.
Because that’s what separates us from the rest. We lift, grunt, sweat and show our sons what it means to be men. We value strength, compassion, discipline and mercy.
We want to have healthy, fit bodies and we eat accordingly. We know that our culture is on borrowed time so we’re ready for what’s coming next – whatever that may be.
When you see your role and value being eroded by society, don’t become a pathetic outraged victim. Store that energy and redirect it to be something more, something better than those around you. That’s what is needed in our time.