Are you watching videos of the protests in and in front of the state capitals demanding and end to stay-at-home orders and business closures? Do you see the pictures of people, mostly men and two of them the leaders of our Executive Branch, pictures of men not wearing masks? Do you hear their chants and sense their entitlement and shake your head? Maybe I should title this blog post “Childish Masculinity During a Pandemic.”
But, unfortunately, these scenes, these selfish, nonsensical actions are totally embedded products of traditional or toxic masculinity. TM demands that adult men engage in hyper-individuality modeled after movie western heroes. Collectivity, working together, asking for or even offering help is a sign of weakness. There are exceptions, sure. Team sports and the military depend on collective action and camaraderie. But highlight reels and Bronze Stars celebrate individual achievements, not cooperation.
They know, though, don’t they, that they are wrong and acting against our true nature. The fact that these protesters have to get kitted up in their body armour and semi-autos tells me they know that they are play acting, outside of authentic humanity. The fact that they have to get together in the 100s to demand individual choice, shows me that they still crave community and togetherness, they just can’t admit it and join the broad consensus. Those poisoned by toxic masculinity would rather risk all our collective health for showy displays of hollow manhood.
So, brothers and sisters, I salute those of you who have the Deep Strength of patience, collective concern, and broad empathy. I stand with you men who are truly protecting your families by staying home as much as possible. Heros wear masks and wash their hands. Thank you.