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#1 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 12:08 PM

A "How To" Handbook for Living In An Increasingly Effeminized American Culture

I enjoy writing. I've enjoyed writing for years and write quite often, so I'm looking for outlets for this. I have a number of ideas for different books, but I'm leaning towards a cultural commentary guidebook sort of thing (aimed more at my age group, so 20-30 somethings). The book idea I've been working on over the last 6 months or so would be humorous cultural commentary on how American culture has become feminized. I've looked for this book, but I can't find the one that I think should be written. I'm also not aiming for the Christian bookstores. I would much prefer to write something that would be found in Borders rather than only finding select readers within the local Christian subculture.

Chapters on the effeminized culture would include chapters on Film, Sports, Technology, Manners, Politics, History, Economics, Schools, Religion, Christianity, Church, College, The Military, News Media, Television, Bookstores, Relationships, Marriage, Family, and the American Identity. Each chapter would look at examples of how that particular subject is becoming effeminized, a couple funny stories about this, and then solutions and suggestions for how not to follow along with it.

I realize that this is a potentially offensive subject for some. But there are things I wouldn't be writing - I am not blaming women for this. There is no reason to argue that the feminization of our culture is women's fault. I am not saying that the feminine is bad, nor am I equating things I don't like simply as "feminine." What is bad is an overly feminine culture, just like an overly masculine culture would be bad (look at the Middle East, or early towns in the American west).

So, questions,

- does anyone have any reasons for me to write or not write this book?

- does anyone think that criticizing or making fun of the feminization of our culture is, for any reason, wrong?

Edited by J.A.A. Purves, 06 September 2012 - 03:32 PM.


#2 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 12:45 PM

e2c,

I'm moving the discussion you were starting in Christian's thread to this one.

You said - "I also think there is a big, big difference between what is commonly meant by "effeminate" and what you're suggesting re. "feminine" traits."

The English Dictionary defines "Effeminate" for (a man or boy) as possessing what are traditionally considered feminine traits.

Yes, perhaps every man and women has a collection of both masculine and feminine traits. And speaking in another generalization, men have more masculine traits, and women have more feminine traits. There is nothing wrong with this. Thus, a man with more feminine traits is often called "effeminate."

e2c said - "And - sadly - it has hurt and continues to hurt a lot of boys. I can look at members of my immediate family (bookish, studious) and see how those kinds of unfair judgments and taunts harmed them when they were young. It hurts me to think about it."

I was one of those bookish, studious boys in school, and I was teased and taunted by what could be said were the "unfair judgments" of other boys on the playground. More than that, I got my ass kicked in school fights a couple times. This is how boys naturally do things. And it was good for me. Were my "feelings hurt"? Of course! I also learned how to fight. I met one of my best friends in elementary school by fighting him (we were friends 5 minutes afterwards). Boys naturally develop a comradrie and fellowship together by means not considered "nice" or "sensitive" in our culture. Even if I was reduced to tears a couple times as a little kid, hanging out with other guys toughened me up - I needed it. If my parents had sheltered me from all that, I never would have developed the friendships that I did in school.

e2c - But I honestly don't think it's fair to be saying what you said in your earlier post. For one, it is a stereotype (in my book, at least), and it's not a very reliable indicator of whether someone is gay or not - which is (imo) what you were alluding to, but ??? (Because I really don't know for sure.)

What I said in my earlier post was that many poets were & are more effeminate than most other men. Think Ferdinand the Bull personality wise. These are the more bookish, less athletic guys of more delicate sensibilities. You seem not to like this idea, but it's just a comparison. The same goes for comparing types of poetry. Without doing a couple hours research to see which poets wrote mostly about love or about how nice nature was to look at, I'm making a generalization. If I'm trying to recommend reading poetry to another guy, I have to exert myself to find poets that wouldn't seem feminine to him. Stereotypes and generalizations are not absolutely & always true, but they are often true, which is why they're useful. And no, I was not and am not alluding to anything about being gay.

Just to be clear, I do not believe that writing or reading poetry means that a guy is effeminate.

e2c - [parenthetical observation: also fwiw, I came across a citation earlier, from a late 1890s article in the Spectator, stating that men who play lawn tennis (our modern tennis, that is) were "soft'; not masculine. Tell it to any one of the guys who are at the top of the tournament rankings! They'd either laugh at the absurdity or - possibly - rearrange the face of the speaker, I'm thinking.

This is kind of thing is useless to me. Compared to a poet, a tennis player is probably more masculine. Compared to an NFL player, a tennis player is probably more feminine. Compared to tennis players in the 1890s, tennis players in the 2010s are probably more feminine. I'm not interested in making these kinds of comparisons. I am interested in comparing and considering why our culture is growing more effeminate over time.

I saw you were criticizing John Eldredge and Mark Driscoll back in Christian's "Fiction for Men" thread. Just so you know, there are a number of guys who don't like Eldredge because he's too romantic. He romanticizes everything making life sound like a great, large romance. I do, however, like some of his points. Although if you're looking to read a book that more objectively discusses the facts about the effeminized church I'd suggest David Murrow's Why Men Hate Going To Church, where he discusses the growing gender gap in church attendance records and interviews men on why they've left the church. Driscoll is another story - the thing about Driscoll is that while he sometimes offends women, he really appeals to a lot more men. The question to ask is why this this.

e2c - Do you think it's a conspiracy?!

No, I think it's a problem.

Edited by Persiflage, 05 September 2012 - 01:48 PM.


#3 M. Leary

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 10:49 PM

I genuinely wonder where this idea that men have become more effeminate comes from. I hear that really often, along with an oft repeated list of evidences: men cook a lot now, manpurses, women work a lot of jobs men used to work, men are more interested in fashion, etc... I am not sure this actually adds up to much. For every example of how effeminate men are these days, there is a counter example in MMA, Man vs. Food, Family Guy, the massive amounts of cash pumped into male college sports, DADT, and on and on. I guess I am a bit bothered by the idea that the repeal of Mad Men-era chauvinism has become synonymous with this fable that men are now increasingly effiminate as a cultural trend.

Take the recent episode of How I Met Your Mother in which Barney tangents off into a musical in celebration of the suit. That was actually a pretty insightful celebration of what it means to be a male who understands this great historical craft of the suit without any subtext of sexual irony. It is possible to conceive of male interests in something like fashion or cooking as an interest in craft and technique rather than symptomatic some insidious gender subtext. If anything, I would prefer to read the bulk of gen-X and maybe older millenial male interest in fashion, cooking, and other stereotyped female interests as a resurgence in an interest in craft and labor.

I know a lot of Christian authors hit pretty hard on the effimanization of contemporary men as the fallout of the rise in absent father figures. But then how do you explain the intensely male nature of rap or even hardcore, which is a refuge for these demographics?

Edited by M. Leary, 15 May 2010 - 11:09 PM.


#4 Anders

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 01:24 AM

[/i]This is kind of thing is useless to me. Compared to a poet, a tennis player is probably more masculine. Compared to an NFL player, a tennis player is probably more feminine. Compared to tennis players in the 1890s, tennis players in the 2010s are probably more feminine. I'm not interested in making these kinds of comparisons. I am interested in comparing and considering why our culture is growing more effeminate over time.


What about masculinity are you wanting to celebrate? I actually question whether we should hold a NFL player (for every Drew Brees, who I find pretty admirable, there seem to be two or three guys charged with rape or dogfighting -- and I say this as a football fan) as more healthy masculine model than say someone like Roger Federer, who fitness-wise could probably wipe the floor with most people: skill, strength, and stamina (he's also seems to have a stable marriage to his long-time girlfriend). I also question whether 1890s tennis players were more masculine. Doubt it. Bjorn Borg had one of the lowest resting heart rates of any athlete in the 20th century, and McEnroe had a notorious temper.

Basically, you say this is useless, but what are you basing your conclusion that our culture is growing more effeminate? I'm pretty much on the side of M.Leary and others who say that some of the things you are using as examples could be interpreted in other ways. I think you need to work harder on proving your point. It seems to me that anecdote isn't enough, or it will be easy to dismiss your argument

Edited by Anders, 16 May 2010 - 01:25 AM.


#5 M. Leary

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 07:29 AM

than say someone like Roger Federer, who fitness-wise could probably wipe the floor with most people: skill, strength, and stamina (he's also seems to have a stable marriage to his long-time girlfriend). I also question whether 1890s tennis players were more masculine. Doubt it. Bjorn Borg had one of the lowest resting heart rates of any athlete in the 20th century, and McEnroe had a notorious temper.


And David Foster Wallace comes instantly to mind. On of our greatest recent "poets," but an accomplished tennis player as well. He talks at length in Infinite Jest about his love for tennis, while obviously fully in command of the nuances and stereotypes of each gender. Also, Agassi, a classic modern male athlete, wore a wig on the court to maintain the appearance of his virile mullet.

#6 Ryan H.

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 08:16 AM

I genuinely wonder where this idea that men have become more effeminate comes from. I hear that really often, along with an oft repeated list of evidences: men cook a lot now, manpurses, women work a lot of jobs men used to work, men are more interested in fashion, etc... I am not sure this actually adds up to much. For every example of how effeminate men are these days, there is a counter example in MMA, Man vs. Food, Family Guy, the massive amounts of cash pumped into male college sports, DADT, and on and on. I guess I am a bit bothered by the idea that the repeal of Mad Men-era chauvinism has become synonymous with this fable that men are now increasingly effiminate as a cultural trend.

Me too.

Edited by Ryan H., 16 May 2010 - 08:17 AM.


#7 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:30 AM

I think "in your woman's point of view" comes across as somewhat belittling.

It seems as if you feel that women and men are so radically different that they cannot possibly understand each other - and I completely disagree with that. We're all human; it's not like men come from a Planet of the Guys, or that women come from the Planet of Pink Frills.

Are you referring that Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus book? I haven't read it yet.

First of all, I suppose it’s impossible to discuss this at all, without first setting up and agreeing on actual gender differences. Biological differences are a given, but what has been attacked more recently is whether there are any psychological or social gender differences at all. Most will admit that there are. It’s patently obvious that men and women think differently - and therefore, have different character traits and values. The English Dictionary seems to assume so. Modern day marketing companies also seem to think so.What are the differences? Don’t you have to go into stereotypes and generalizations in order to discuss this? If you had to list masculine traits and feminine traits, what would they be?

I think the question a number of people are worried about is how does an overemphasis, on one set of traits over the other, harm society?

Oh and no, I don't see AA (or poets or tennis players for that matter) as proof of feminization.

Edited by Persiflage, 05 September 2012 - 01:50 PM.


#8 Darren H

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:54 AM

I'm not really sure how to respond to this book idea, Persiflage. I guess my biggest worry is your description of it as a "guidebook" and a "humorous cultural commentary," which, worst case scenario, would be a Jeff Foxworthy-like list of "Your [church, manners, politics, etc.] might be feminine if . . ." jokes. This is an incredibly complex topic you're taking on, one that scholars have been dealing with for decades, and I have a real aversion to books that oversimplify issues that have far-reaching social, political, economic, and theological implications. If your book would allow stereotypically "masculine" men to justify their unhealthy "masculine" behavior, then I'm begging you not to write it. There's an entire economy of products and media already devoted to making men feel good about being assholes. We don't need any more.

I was part of a feminist reading group (I know, how fey, right?) about a decade ago when Susan Faludi's Stiffed came out. Assuming you're serious about your book idea, I'd encourage you to read it. It's thick and wide-ranging, and Faludi is both a scholar and a pretty fantastic journalist. There's a great chapter in which she describes her time sitting in with an evangelical men's small-group Bible study and getting to know the men in it. She's genuinely curious about "The Betrayal of the American Man" (the book's subtitle) and writes with an honest sympathy.

#9 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:55 AM

I genuinely wonder where this idea that men have become more effeminate comes from. I hear that really often, along with an oft repeated list of evidences: men cook a lot now, manpurses, women work a lot of jobs men used to work, men are more interested in fashion, etc... I am not sure this actually adds up to much. For every example of how effeminate men are these days, there is a counter example in MMA, Man vs. Food, Family Guy, the massive amounts of cash pumped into male college sports, DADT, and on and on. I guess I am a bit bothered by the idea that the repeal of Mad Men-era chauvinism has become synonymous with this fable that men are now increasingly effiminate as a cultural trend ... I know a lot of Christian authors hit pretty hard on the effimanization of contemporary men as the fallout of the rise in absent father figures. But then how do you explain the intensely male nature of rap or even hardcore, which is a refuge for these demographics?


Where is it coming from? It's actually completely from something other than women being given equal treatment in the workplace, or how many guys are interested in fashion. I'm particularly interested in -

Film, Sports, Technology, Manners, Politics, History, Economics, Schools, Religion, Christianity, Church, College, The Military, News Media, Television, Bookstores, Relationships, Marriage, Family, and the American Identity

A few of these examples -

Film - for example, try to find replacements for the "man’s man" actors of just a couple decades ago (Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford) among the next generation of Hollywood male leads in their 20s who all seem to be "in touch with their feminine side" these days. - In fact, just start listing every male actor in his 20s and decide how many of them could even be called masculine at all. Do the same for every Hollywood actor in his 30s, and you finally might find a couple exceptions that prove the new rule. Then look at the roles that guys like De Niro and Gibson were playing in their 20s.

Sports - over the last six months or so, what happened when you tried to turn on ESPN (or your local sports radio station) to find out the score or to find out the latest news on your sports team? - "Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods, Tiger Wood, Tiger Woods - who slept with whom? How many women did he sleep with? Is his wife going to leave or stay with him? Is he going to apologize to her? Is he going to apologize to us? Blah. Blah. Blah." - wait, I didn’t mean to turn on a soap opera or gossip channel, I want actual sports news - too bad, ESPN and other sportscasters have been obsessed over this sort of thing and these sorts of stories for years now.

Technology - I’m mostly speaking from experience among all my friends who are all mostly 20-somethings. MySpace and Facebook were bad enough - how many of my friends constantly check their myspace or facebook to see what everyone’s minute-by-minute updates are? "John had Cinnamon-Toast-Crunch this morning. It made him feel good inside." "Mary just saw a cute guy in the grocery store. She’s disappointed he didn’t talk to her." "Bill just changed his relationship status to single." "Sue just changed her relationship status to being in one." I have friends who spend hours a day on these sites. This is not masculine activity. Do you know how many messages a day some guys text over their cell phones? And now we have Twitter - solely based on providing an even more streamlined version of the worst of Facebook. As many guys have accounts as girls. What would your grandfathers call guys who were obsessed over sharing their minute-by-minute feelings with the world?

Church - (while there is a minority of exceptions) statistics show that the women-to-men gender gap in church attendance records has been repeatedly widening over the last 3-4 decades. Much more women go to church then men. Many more wives go to church than their husbands. It didn't always used to be like this, so, something happened to cause it. Sin has always been the problem, but it's not like men sin more than women, or that the men who went to church more decades ago sinned less than the men who are avoiding church today. This is a problem. Then you've got the majority of ministries in most given churches dominated by or focused on women. The worship song lyrics are getting more and more focused on a Christians' intimate loving relationship with Jesus - with increasingly romantic imagery about laying in Jesus' arms, holding his hand, kissing his face, and some other lyrics that most men would consider erotic. The Evangelism message has basically turned from "the good news" to "do you have a loving relationship with Jesus"? Put in terms that most guys will simply reject without even thinking about it. Throughout the American church, focus on relationships, traditional values, comfort, nurturing, "sharing" your feelings, and other good basic feminine values has become over-emphasized to the extreme. And we wonder why a lot of guys (with a real interest in God and Christianity) simply dismiss church as a ladies' club.

The fact that some people take masculine traits to the extreme (you explained how they "take refuge" in rap music for instance) is not good. The Sports world for instance, particularly the NFL, is also a sort of refuge for guys away from the rest of the culture. But, even the Sports world is changing.

Talking to guys in college, the army, and the church has led me to these ideas - I admit I'm just for the first time actually sitting down to start writing them out.

Edited by Persiflage, 05 September 2012 - 01:58 PM.


#10 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:02 AM

What about masculinity are you wanting to celebrate? I actually question whether we should hold a NFL player (for every Drew Brees, who I find pretty admirable, there seem to be two or three guys charged with rape or dogfighting -- and I say this as a football fan) as more healthy masculine model than say someone like Roger Federer, who fitness-wise could probably wipe the floor with most people: skill, strength, and stamina (he's also seems to have a stable marriage to his long-time girlfriend) ... but what are you basing your conclusion that our culture is growing more effeminate? I'm pretty much on the side of M.Leary and others who say that some of the things you are using as examples could be interpreted in other ways. I think you need to work harder on proving your point. It seems to me that anecdote isn't enough, or it will be easy to dismiss your argument.

I have no interest in celebrating masculinity - what we need is a balance. Agreed - Roger Federer is a better role model than many NFL players. I'm basing my conclusion on a lot of things which we're starting to get into.

Edited by Persiflage, 05 September 2012 - 01:59 PM.


#11 Darren H

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:55 AM

I'd like to tack "no offense" on to the beginning of this statement, but you've obviously put a good deal of thought into this book, so there's no way I can say this without offending you: If the list above is representative of the types of analysis your book will offer, please don't write it. You're offering up one straw man after another. If you can't find masculine young actors or "real" sports highlights or manly men in church, then you're deliberately choosing to not see them. I'm not suggesting at all that this isn't a topic worth exploring, but based on the evidence provided in this thread, I don't think you're ready to give it the seriousness of thought it requires.

#12 M. Leary

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 12:07 PM

If you can't find masculine young actors or "real" sports highlights or manly men in church, then you're deliberately choosing to not see them.


Let us consider the historical Jesus:
Posted Image

#13 Darren H

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 12:28 PM

I sure wish I could find a YouTube clip of that old SNL skit with Gilda Rander, where she's a teenager in her bedroom trying to decide who is the sexiest movie Jesus.

#14 Overstreet

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:02 PM

I'd like to tack "no offense" on to the beginning of this statement, but you've obviously put a good deal of thought into this book, so there's no way I can say this without offending you: If the list above is representative of the types of analysis your book will offer, please don't write it. You're offering up one straw man after another. If you can't find masculine young actors or "real" sports highlights or manly men in church, then you're deliberately choosing to not see them. I'm not suggesting at all that this isn't a topic worth exploring, but based on the evidence provided in this thread, I don't think you're ready to give it the seriousness of thought it requires.


What Darren said.

#15 Overstreet

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:53 PM

I should probably say a little more:

Film, Sports, Technology, Manners, Politics, History, Economics, Schools, Religion, Christianity, Church, College, The Military, News Media, Television, Bookstores, Relationships, Marriage, Family, and the American Identity

A few of these examples -

Film - for example, try to find replacements for the "man’s man" actors of just a couple decades ago (Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford) among the next generation of Hollywood male leads in their 20s who all seem to be "in touch with their feminine side" these days. - In fact, just start listing every male actor in his 20s and decide how many of them could even be called masculine at all. Do the same for every Hollywood actor in his 30s, and you finally might find a couple exceptions that prove the new rule. Then look at the roles that guys like De Niro and Gibson were playing in their 20s.


I don't understand your point at all. I don't think these were "man's man" actors.

And I don't think the counterexamples you're holding up manifest that they're "in touch with their feminine side" so much as they demonstrate that they're more mature than the immature picture of the "tough guy" presented by the early-Eastwood, Gibson, and Willis characters.

It seems you're equating "masculine" with "vioent," "brash," and maybe even "egomaniacal." When I think about the dangerous examples set by characters that Eastwood, Willis, and sometimes even Ford set with their archetypal gunslinger roles, I'm drawn more to the words "immature," "adolescent," or even "childish" ... and yes, "egomaniacal"... more than "masculine."

These are wish-fulfillment characters for their fans. They're like Greek Gods, celebrating characteristics of force and toughness and attitude.

Such characters speak of a deep insecurity in the men who imagine them and personify them. They want to assert a cool sense of *control* that we cannot claim and do not possess. Thus the smug, cocky personality of so many action heroes. That attitude, which does fuel a lot of attitude in the arenas of sports and the military, is corrosive and dangerous.

When I think of characters who are strong "masculine" role models, I think of the character played by Christian Bale in The New World, who is offered up as an answer to, and a sort of rebuke to, Colin Farrel's character, whose ambition and ego led him to pursue fame and fortune and greatness, only to lose his connection to something far greater ... love, which calls us to sacrifice, which calls us to make ourselves less. I think of Samwise in The Lord of the Rings, whose greatness is in his steadfastness and faithfulness more than his skill with a weapon.


Sports - over the last six months or so, what happened when you tried to turn on ESPN (or your local sports radio station) to find out the score or to find out the latest news on your sports team? - "Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods, Tiger Wood, Tiger Woods - who slept with whom? How many women did he sleep with? Is his wife going to leave or stay with him? Is he going to apologize to her? Is he going to apologize to us? Blah. Blah. Blah." - wait, I didn’t mean to turn on a soap opera or gossip channel, I want actual sports news - too bad, ESPN and other sportscasters have been obsessed over this sort of thing and these sorts of stories for years now.


I'm not sure how this relates to your premise. I think that the distorted view of masculinity in American culture contributes directly to the egomania and the errors that men like Tiger Woods make.

I don't think "femininity" has anything to do with your troubles getting good sports news.

Technology - I’m mostly speaking from experience among all my friends who are all mostly 20-somethings. MySpace and Facebook were bad enough - how many of my friends constantly check their myspace or facebook to see what everyone’s minute-by-minute updates are? "John had Cinnamon-Toast-Crunch this morning. It made him feel good inside." "Mary just saw a cute guy in the grocery store. She’s disappointed he didn’t talk to her." "Bill just changed his relationship status to single." "Sue just changed her relationship status to being in one." "Omg, Omg, Omg, I can’t believe how lovely Main street is at night people!" I have friends who spend hours a day on these sites. While it may be normal (if still unhealthy) activity for a high school girl, it shouldn’t be activity for a man.


I think you're being tremendously unfair and even insulting to women here. So, it's fine if women waste time sending each other trivial, inconsequential talk, but not men?

I think the culture is so busy connecting on trivial matters that human beings are finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate on real conversations. Men and women alike.

Having said that, I enjoy meaningful conversations through online social networking all the time. It's all in how you use it. I've found some wonderful friendships through Facebook.

Based on the actors you mentioned at the beginning, it seems to me you favor images of men who are over-confident, moving in a manner of cool independence... which is damaging to them and to those around them. Intimacy is made to seem uncool... and the addiction of so many to Facebook and other social networking sites speaks of a desperate need for intimacy of one kind or another. It's not the answer, and rarely addresses that need. But men need more humility and intimacy to be healthy, not less.

Church



I agree that church shouldn't be a bunch of programs and clubs based on emotional "sharing." But church is meant to be a place of worship, prayer, bowing down and confessing, participating in the intimacy of communion.

That's the scandal of God's love for us. His love is not merely agape love - a sort of platonic "caring." It is intimate and personal. And this is why the erotic poetry of scripture is a very, very important part of the whole picture.

Why do you think God speaks of the church as his bride?

Consider the parables of Jesus. How do the men who behaved honorably in those stories measure up to your idea of a "man's man"?

If I understand Christ correctly, a "man's man" will serve his wife as Christ served the church. That is: Humble yourself, and take on the form of a servant.

Hardly glamorous, by the world's standard. But it looks a lot more like St. Francis than Mad Max.

Edited by Overstreet, 17 May 2010 - 02:09 PM.


#16 Holy Moly!

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:12 PM

I kind of hope you do write this book, because I am frequently puzzled by the frequency with which your central thesis is invoked by the Driscoll/Eldridge crowd. As a male feminist, I look around and I have no idea what these people are talking about.

The examples you have shared and the ways they appear persuasive to you but make no sense at all to the rest of us suggest that a an attempt at a comprehensive argument might be a useful step towards debunking this myth of feminization once and for all.

#17 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:41 PM

This has got to be a frustrating thread to read for Persiflage. I'm just saying, if I threw down a book idea (nevermind however likely to publish) on a controversial topic, I'd be frustrated to read the responses here.

I saw someone mention straw men earlier. I'm getting hay fever from all the straw men in this thread. I followed e2c's link to Persiflage's blog, expecting to find some heinous complaints about women in general, but I found a rather non-inflammatory discourse on his thesis of effeminization as a social phenomena in the early years of the twentieth century.

Is the theory cohesive enough to argue its point successfully (well, not in this thread, but I'm not sure that's what the original post was going after)? I have no idea--I think M.Leary gave some great counterpoints to the contrary (though I'd suppose you could argue that lack of male parentage could lead to either a overemphasis on masculinity or on femininity).

But the arguments herein are not my point--never read Eldridge, not really worried about the feminization of Western society, yadda yadda--but what is my point is that I think the dialogue could be handled with a little more .... I don't know, grace, I guess. More "Have you thought about this?" and less "Don't write this book"?

Side note: And the Tiger Woods thing is the total feminization of ESPN--its not that Tiger is effeminate, he's not--its the constant gossip 24/7. When the gossip is about the Big Ten taking over the world, cool, but when its about athlete's personal misbehaviors, its more like People or E.T. which generally serve a female demographic.

Now, if I'm ESPN, that is 50% of my potential audience, and probably the key growth audience for me.

My $0.02.

#18 Overstreet

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:55 PM

I don't want to respond gracelessly. If I have, forgive me.

Perhaps I'm misinterpreting Persiflage's premise.

I happen to live in a city where a certain church has a reputation of being a "man's church." It's where men are encouraged to stand up and "be men" - and by that, they mean "Take charge, assert your authority and headship, be the decisionmaker, and treat your lady nicely." I've heard from a lot of women who are fleeing that church in disgust, feeling like Sunday morning is a motivational seminar for men, a Braveheart Pep Rally, not a worship service. The pastor's famous "I can't worship a Jesus I can beat up" quote seems to sum it up nicely.

But the Jesus I worship *was* beat up... and badly... and by refusing to stoop to the world's understanding of manliness, he defined manliness, taking the form of a servant.

Perhaps I'm reacting against a "Christian men should be Braveheart" campaign that I see trending in the church, rather than to Persiflage's premise. If so, I am sorry. I have been writing and speaking frequently recently against the idea of The Christian as Overcoming Hero Who Smacks the World Into Shape, in favor of The Christian as Saint, who meekly and humbly takes up his cross and leads by the example of the grace-loving suffering servant. Because Saints and Heroes are, by their popular Western-mythology definitions, two very different things.

But as I remain puzzled by Persiflage's premise, I am certainly interested in seeing him describe it more thoroughly.

#19 Anders

Anders

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:16 PM

This has got to be a frustrating thread to read for Persiflage. I'm just saying, if I threw down a book idea (nevermind however likely to publish) on a controversial topic, I'd be frustrated to read the responses here.

I saw someone mention straw men earlier. I'm getting hay fever from all the straw men in this thread. I followed e2c's link to Persiflage's blog, expecting to find some heinous complaints about women in general, but I found a rather non-inflammatory discourse on his thesis of effeminization as a social phenomena in the early years of the twentieth century.

Is the theory cohesive enough to argue its point successfully (well, not in this thread, but I'm not sure that's what the original post was going after)? I have no idea--I think M.Leary gave some great counterpoints to the contrary (though I'd suppose you could argue that lack of male parentage could lead to either a overemphasis on masculinity or on femininity).


Well, for the record, my point wasn't that this is controversial or that he shouldn't write the book, but rather I just can't see the evidence for his central theory. I'd like to see some more response to some of the counterpoints, because I think there is a discussion in here waiting to happen.

#20 J.A.A. Purves

J.A.A. Purves

    Chestertonian, Rabelaisian, Thomist, Christian

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:01 AM

I'd like to tack "no offense" on to the beginning of this statement, but you've obviously put a good deal of thought into this book, so there's no way I can say this without offending you ...

Everyone,

I appreciate all of your taking the time to think and respond to this. For the last 2-3 years, I’ve learned, been encouraged, and forced to think by the discussions on Arts & Faith, so I respect and value your thoughts and opinions. While this book wouldn’t be meant to be a "Christian" book, if I do write it, I want it to be informed by a Biblical point of view. Your thoughts are encouraging me to keep this in perspective. (Also, I will make an effort to dialogue with your thoughts and questions, but I do only have so much time a day to read, think, and respond - so if you say or ask something on here, it may sometimes take me up to a day or so to get to it.)

Darren H,

- Yes, it’s going to be meant to be fun to read, but you’re right - I don’t want it to be a contentless Foxworthy "____ might be feminine if" sort of thing. I have put thought into this topic over the last 5-6 years, and I understand it is complex - the goal is not to trivially treat this subject or to justify sinful behavior. I do not want to advocate swinging the pendulum too far the other way into an overly masculine dominated culture, instead I want to ask for balance.- I do think I need to do more reading on this - most of the reading I have done has only been focused on the church. So far I’ve read ...

Wild At Heart - by John Eldredge - some good points but a little overly romanticized

The Church Impotent - by Lean J. Podles - focused on the Catholic church specifically but including Protestants too, well documented, but a little too academic to appeal to most readers

Why Men Hate Going to Church - by David Murrow - most balanced of the three, focuses on the facts, statistics, and on interviews with a broad spectrum of churches

Thanks to this thread, I'm now ordering on Amazon and planning so far to read ...

Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man - by Susan Faludi

The Feminization of American Culture - by Ann Douglas

The Feminization of the Church - by Kaye Ashe

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - by Dr. John Gray, Ph.D.

Are Women Human? - by Dorothy Sayers

- No offense taken. The couple examples I gave so far were actually a few easier, shorter ones - to explain how a lot of the guys I've talked to think the feminization of our culture is affecting every aspect of the culture. I'm trying to keep things in short, bite-sized ideas so that I'm not writing long essays on the thread. I think we can find masculine actors in the new Hollywood generation of leading men, and can find masculine men in the church - the problem I'm questioning is that, if you stop to think about it, there are notably less of them.

- I want to take this subject seriously, and I want to put more thought into it before I write very much more. This is why I appreciate your input on the subject, and why I started the thread in the first place.

- Just so you know, while I believe sin is always our main problem, something's changed in our culture that caused a number of serious problems.

- More women are attending church than men - the statistics on this are worse now than they've ever been before in history. (Christianity is also the only major religion that has this problem).
- Far more boys in school are put on ADD medication (and other drugs) than girls. The reasons given for drugging them now were not considered abnormal 50 years ago.
- The number of fatherless children is greater now than it has ever been before in American history (and this time, there's not even really a war to blame for it).
- The number of broken homes is rapidly increasing (and I would argue the fathers are the ones most to blame).
- The dating scene among the younger generation has changed - guys act like girlfriends of the girls they are interested in, guys break up with girls more often because they say the girls weren't meeting their emotional needs, guys go out in groups with girls who are friends as an excuse to go out with them, then have sex with girls and it's considered meaningless because they're just friends.
- The test scores in public and private schools for boys are suddenly far lower than the test scores of girls.
- The percentage of guys going to college is still in decline, many universities are now over 60% female. Girls with higher education is not a problem. Less guys than ever before getting higher education is a big problem.
- There are a whole number of problems in the military now that "feminized ideas" have entered it, I'll go deeper into this later.

These are just off the top of my head, in almost every aspect of our culture, something is happening to men. I'm not blaming women for this. But it's something that needs to be addressed, and addressed simply in a popular public forum that will actually interest the average reader.

Edited by Persiflage, 05 September 2012 - 02:04 PM.