What does it mean to be masculine?
Is a man masculine simply because he was born with testicles? Does being masculine require him to develop and exhibit certain characteristics to prove his mettle? And who possesses the authority to define what these masculine-defining characteristics ought to be?
I grappled with the implications of these questions for months. I used them (and others) to work toward developing a coherent definition within my Christian worldview of what it means to be masculine.
We all have presuppositions that act as lenses through which we analyze the information at our disposal in order to draw conclusions. These presuppositions are what make up one’s worldview. And differing presuppositions will often lead to diverging conclusions, even when the exact same data is being analyzed.
Conservatives, liberals, Christians, agnostics, atheists, et al. all have the same information at their disposal. They draw different conclusions because they ascertain truth within the spheres of their individual, contrasting presuppositions. To work outside of them would be logically inconsistent and imply a need for the entire structure that is their worldview to be demolished and reconstructed from the ground up.
This does happen from time to time, as it did when I disbanded from my agnostic worldview in favor of Christianity, but it’s rare. It usually requires a moment of immense intellectual honesty brought on by great distress.
This perfect storm of conditions that can foment a complete reconstruction of the way one evaluates the world around them describes how most men arrive at accepting the truth of intergender dynamics, commonly described as swallowing the Red Pill. Something significant happens – breakup, divorce, infidelity – that forces them to rethink everything they previously believed about the way men and women relate to each other.
While we may differ on what we believe to be the source of man’s innate masculine nature (evolution, Jesus, etc.), I was surprised to find that there’s near universal consensus among men of what it means to be masculine. Even those with differing worldviews have drawn similar conclusions regarding the characteristics they ascribe to genuine masculinity. Atheist. Christian. Muslim. Orthodox Jew. It doesn’t matter.
In his book, The Way of Men, Jack Donovan describes his discovery of this same universal recognition of what it means to be masculine.
He found that various cultures across human history all had similar ideas regarding the nature of the ideal masculine man. Jack categorizes into four groups the universal characteristics that have defined masculinity through the ages: strength, courage, mastery, and honor.
The Masculine-Feminine Complement
Masculinity and femininity are harmonious. The masculine and feminine are not opposed to each other. They complete each other. Each fills the void the other lacks the capacity to fill.
Man and woman have been intentionally created by the Lord God with distinct biological, psychological, and anatomical profiles that serve to complement each other for the specific purpose of being joined together in marriage. This masculine-feminine complement is a benefit to both the husband and the wife, along with the children that will result from their relationship.
This is consistent with what can be observed through the history of human civilizations.
Societies in which the traditional family thrives are healthy, emotionally balanced, and civil. Men and women find satisfaction and security in their marriages with each other, and their children are raised in an environment that’s ideal for their long-term success.
It’s worth noting that many of the traits we identify as masculine are also intrinsic to femininity (and vice versa). The important difference lies with how they’re expressed by each sex. In other words, the traits that we instinctively recognize as being masculine are not unique to men, but they are unique in the way that men express them.
For instance, men and women both possess the capacity to love, yet they express this in distinct ways that reflect their unique natures. Men love using their minds by imparting truth and wisdom, while women love by sharing compassion and sympathy.
One is not better than the other. Both expressions of love are necessary and each serves an important, distinct purpose. One cannot substitute for the other. This is precisely the reason a single parent can never replicate the ideal environment for child rearing that a married couple envelops their children with.
Men Are Masculine By Design
I created this site because I recognize the design of masculine men on two fronts:
God’s design: God has designed men with the ability to unleash certain expressions of humanity on the world in ways that women cannot.
Man’s design: Men are only able to actualize the full scope of their masculine expression by designing their lives in pursuit of fully developing them.
For example, men were created with the biological blueprint to be physically strong. But the impetus is still on us to train our bodies consistently and nourish them well. God gives us the ingredients needed to release the power of our masculinity. But it’s up to us to put them to use and not let them go to waste.
The name of this site is reflective of this dichotomy.
It’s not enough to simply be born male. Indeed, we needn’t look very far to see evidence of men sabotaging their masculinity or living in defiance of it. Submissive. Unmotivated. Lacking ambition. Emaciated. Sexless. Timid. Pathetic.
Whether these men have testicles or not is irrelevant. They’ve repressed their masculinity to the point that it’s hardly discernible.
The reason I write is to spur men away from this insufferable condition; to be the salve that drops the scales from their eyes so they can harness their masculine energy and pursue greatness.
It’s no surprise so many men are living disparate lives. We grow up without masculine fathers in the home to teach us what it means to be a man. Masculinity is berated by the culture as the cause of all the world’s problems since the beginning of time. There are forces at work seeking to steal the blazing fire of masculinity from within us.
We must remain vigilant. We must gird our loins for battle.
We do this by first understanding what it means to be masculine and then by designing our lives in conformance with this understanding.
Design Your Life to Be Masculine
Men, this posting is your call to arms.
What will follow in the days to come is a series of 12 essays, each of which will equip you to design your life around your masculine nature so that you can unleash it on the world.
Within each posting I will expound upon a specific aspect of the masculinity we’ve been designed to possess as men. Most importantly, I’ll provide a plan of action, a design that will include the steps that must be taken by each of us if we are to continually instill these elements of masculinity into our being until they’re involuntarily wielded for our gain.
These essays will be as much for my benefit as they are for yours. We’ll rekindle our masculine flame together and build each other up as brothers along the way.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
If you’re a man, you were born to be masculine. This is the truth. You may choose to suppress it. I implore you to embrace it.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
– Craig James