A Texas girl’s take on “toxic masculinity”

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Photo by Patrick Vitale

The concept of toxic masculinity is making a lot of headlines these days. College campuses, along with the rest of the world, are becoming more deeply impacted by it as time goes on. 

Male chivalry and aggression have come under fire as its manifestations, while women are encouraged to be more and more “assertive” and to demand to be treated exactly the same as men.

Well, I’m a college-going woman in the market for a husband, and here’s a woman-on-the- street perspective on masculinity, toxic or otherwise:

I do not want to throw a better punch than my husband. If I can beat him in a sparring match where I fought clean, I ain’t marrying him.

I do not want to come home from the grocery store and park my flaming red Dodge Hellcat next to a Prius. And so help me, I do not want to be the one going to work while my husband drives to the grocery store.

When something goes “bump” in the night, I do not want to be the one sweeping the house with a shotgun while my husband hides behind the bed with the kids.

I do not want to marry Peter Pan. I do not want to marry a soy boy. I do not want to pick up my husband from his parents’ house on my wedding day.

Now, let me clarify something. This has nothing to do with whether I punch well or not (literally or metaphorically). I know that I do. It has nothing to do with whether I can handle a gun or not. I know that I can. The point is, I should not have to. 

The woman is the home’s last line of defense. When she goes into action, you know that things are desperate. And yes, if the enemies of freedom invade America and civilization as we know it crashes and burns, I will be with the rest of the women in my neighborhood doing everything I can to help, with a gun in one hand and bandages in the other, and I will teach the sons of bachelors who dared to threaten my family that there is nothing in the world more terrifying than a Texas girl fighting for her husband and children.

However, I don’t have to be able to shoot or punch or argue to be a strong woman. A strong woman can stay at home to raise her children. She doesn’t need to be a man or to compete against men. She can be soft-spoken and gentle and nurturing. She doesn’t need to be “assertive.” 

Women who try to be men are insecure in their femininity and try, in often detrimental ways, to make up for it. I’m not immune to that temptation myself, and to the degree that I yield to it, I demonstrate my own insecurity. 

There is, however, another aspect to that temptation, a defensive one. When none of the men in a woman’s life step up to be men and provide the protection and security that empower her to fulfill her God-given role as a wife and mother, she learns not to rely on them. When men don’t act as men, women learn that, if they want to get anywhere in the world, they have to do everything for themselves. 

I am lucky to have a long heritage of godly male leadership in my family. I’m looking for a husband to carry on that tradition.

A man does not have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to meet these criteria. A man does not have to be Frank Castle to meet these criteria. In fact, I don’t particularly want to marry either one. I’d be far happier with an ordinary guy who has a good nine-to-five job. But if, God forbid, we end up in a fire-fight and I can’t trust him to have my back, why on earth did I marry him in the first place?

I’m not asking for a superhero or an uber-macho tough guy. I’m asking for a man. A man who will hold the door open for me and take me to church. A man who will teach my sons to play catch on the weekends, and while he’s at it, teach them to be real men and to treat their sisters and their sisters’ friends with respect. A man who will stand up for what’s right, and teach my children to do the same. A man who will have my back in life, even if we never end up in a fight together. A man who throws good punches so I don’t have to. 

If that’s toxic masculinity, I’m all for it.

All of you Peter Pans out there, listen up. If you want to marry me, man up.

To the real men out there: Don’t stop looking. We’re waiting for you.

4 COMMENTS

  1. god shame a woman that acts assertive
    traditional values, don’t be acting that subversive
    I am the man, market supply and demand
    stick to the plan, stand back in your place in the fam
    never marry a man that can’t throw a punch
    and only hit your woman when you wanna go for lunch
    work is for the man, women pick up the ham
    god help me if my car is worth 40 grand
    and if I’m in the kitchen aiming down the sights of a shotgun
    I’ll be embarrassed to tell the truth when the cops come
    and lord let no man be Peter Pan, keep your man, my desires are no deeper than a ceiling fan
    the only tone at home is soft and gentle
    drive my kids to the dentals, only tradition on my mental
    he throws punches so I don’t have to
    stand up and be strong? let me ask you
    a nice guy, nice try he might cry without being asked to
    Peter Pan can’t be my man if he don’t man up
    I must be shorter when we both stand up

    but here’s my answer
    of course a woman can do what a man did
    your message, it’s hard to understand it
    I think women can be strong, I don’t take their strength for granted
    but also have the pride to rep her man, he gets reprimanded
    the standards you set can be improperly handled
    and while your goal honorable, the message scrambled
    I believe myself to be more like Peter Pan
    I like art and cooking, and I read and rap
    so I guess I don’t deserve a woman
    I won’t “man up” and I won’t hurt a woman
    I believe you’re meant for a certain kind of man
    but I’ll have to pass because I can’t give you what you expect
    but I wish you love and intend no disrespect

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