Actor Michael Ian Black seems to believe that American boys are “broken.” Frankly, that may be true. But Black is of the opinion that so-called “toxic masculinity” is the problem.
“Too many boys are trapped in the same suffocating, outdated model of masculinity, where manhood is measured in strength, where there is no way to be vulnerable without being emasculated, where manliness is about having power over others,” Black writes at the New York Times. “They are trapped, and they don’t even have the language to talk about how they feel about being trapped, because the language that exists to discuss the full range of human emotion is still viewed as sensitive and feminine.”
You know, it’s funny. As someone who has written and studied a great deal on the topic of masculinity, I have yet to find anyone who thinks boys shouldn’t talk about their feelings.
Further, the idea that males lack the language to talk about their feelings is farcical.
Black continues: “Men feel isolated, confused and conflicted about their natures. Many feel that the very qualities that used to define them — their strength, aggression and competitiveness — are no longer wanted or needed; many others never felt strong or aggressive or competitive to begin with. We don’t know how to be, and we’re terrified.”
Here, Black is correct.
Many do feel that way, but they feel that way because people like Black keep hammering it into them. Strength will never be unwanted or unneeded. And men never defined themselves only by those things, either.
As RedState‘s Sarah Lee notes:
They are routinely hammered for “mansplaining” or “manspreading” or enjoying hunting with firearms or appreciating a beautiful woman. You are correct that they are shamed for much of what makes them men. But what you fail to understand is they are shamed by the very ideas you promote. And then told that those shameful things are the only things that define them. You, and most every other progressive, fail to see past the masculinity. And that, sir, is not a problem with them. It is a problem with the small-minded culture of progressivism.
She is, of course, correct. Men are belittled, dehumanized, told to sit down and shut up, so yeah, a lot of them are angry and lost about it.
But are they broken? Perhaps — because society is telling them there is something damaged about them which they have no control over. School shootings were far rarer when men were expected to act like men: brave, sacrificial protectors.
It wasn’t until the 1990s when mass shootings began to explode in number. By then, we’d had years of indoctrination over how men must embrace their feminine side; that their masculine instincts were evil. The media was complicit in pushing that narrative, one fully embraced by the American left.
That left a lot of boys confused. They didn’t really think they had a feminine side — and scientifically, they don’t. They’re boys. They liked playing with toy guns and watching movies with lots of explosions — and learning to be heroes in defense of their family, friends, and the weak.
For decades now, boys have been blasted with mixed signals that have left many feeling lost and confused. If boys are broken, it’s because of the Left’s narrative of ignoring real masculinity for whatever they want to call their perverted version of masculinity. Femininity will never feel right.
Now, I don’t think this had anything to do with Parkland necessarily. I think Nikolas Cruz is a sick, demented puppy who should have been in a facility long before he could buy that gun and commit that atrocity.
But Cruz isn’t the only boy out there, and Black’s suggestion is dead wrong. Boys are being broken by people like Black.