Faith & Culture

The Emasculation of Men In Our Society

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What do many television shows, movies (mostly comedies), and reality TV have in common? Almost all of them have a male lead role portrayed as childish, stupid, and horny. After my latest blog post on “5 Reasons Why Christian Men Are Not Pursuing Women”, several men expressed some of the struggles they face and shared how they felt which has lead me to follow up with this post. The more I speak to men, the more I see how this frustration is an issue that many of them share in common:

Think of shows like “The Big Bang Theory”, “Modern Family”, and “King of Queens”; even superheroes that used to be sophisticated, intelligent, and hopeless romantics, are now being portrayed in a different light.  Chris Pratt’s character “Peter” in “Guardians Of The Galaxy” and Chris Pine’s “Kirk” in “Star Trek” are the heroic protagonists, who also happened to be childish, stupid and horny. If you take a look at almost all reality TV, you will notice that they always cast at least one guy with these attributes.

Another irony you will find is that all of these shows and movies typically have a sophisticated, intelligent, woman that has to continuously  “fix” the man or knock him down a peg or two if he shows any signs of strength or confidence. If a show or a movie portrayed the woman with those negative attributes, there would be an uproar and endless accusations that the writers, producers, and networks are sexist.

When we as men are being told from almost every media outlet that we are stupid and our brains aren’t located in our heads, we start to believe it. It’s becoming more difficult for a man to embrace their opinions and to embrace any sort of a leadership abilities whether at home or at work.

This serious problem is leading to many negative outcomes. When men are being forced to shut their mouths and believe that they are just immature boys, they end up getting stuck in their teenage years. A huge percentage of millennial males are uninterested in the idea of getting married. A lot of this lack of motivation comes from associating marriage to being controlled. When men say things such as “A happy wife is a happy life”, they are really saying “We are too dumb to understand women so we will just shut up, be submissive, and do whatever they want so that we can keep them happy and our lives aren’t miserable”. These men don’t see marriage as a place of respect and compromise from both ends.

Emasculating men in our society has lead men to stay boys. Our society applauds a guy that sleeps around with girls without any sort of commitment or sacrifice and despises a guy with any sort of expectations from his wife or that wants to be a leader leading a home.

Don’t believe me? Let’s compare two big shows, Hugh Hefner’s “Girl Next Door” and Kody Brown’s “Sister Wives”

Hugh Hefner, the Playboy founder is celebrated by many in our society and is viewed as a powerful man. After all, he is able to get as many girls as he wants into his bedroom while making a lot of money doing it. On the other hand, Kody Brown, a Mormon that is married to four women, is despised and looked at as a sexist pig.

While I find polygamy  to be extremely disturbing, I think it’s a tragedy that we praise the player who uses women as objects and despise the man whose religious beliefs gives him the option to have multiple wives. After all, both of them are sleeping with bunch of women. The main difference is that one is in long-term committed marriages (Brown) while the other is using them until he gets bored (Hefner).

The way our society has praised and criticized men for the wrong reasons, has lead the way for many men, like Hugh Hefner, to stay teenage boys; unable to commit and unable to treat women the way they should be treated.

There are legitimate reasons why men have been portrayed in a negative light including women legitimately feeling used and unsafe by men. The solution, however, is not to bring men down as some sort of revenge. We are called to call men to rise up rather than embrace lies and spread them to a whole society.

Even within the church, I have seen so much emasculation that has not only discouraged me, but also scared me, of the idea of marriage. For some reason, it is acceptable in a small group setting for a wife to tell her husband “You are just a bad cook” or “honey, you can’t function one day without me” in front of people for a good laugh but imagine a husband telling the same words to his wife in front of others. Why have we accepted a double-standard? Have we forgotten that one of the core longings for a man is to feel respected?

It seems that the church has accepted the notion that men have clear roles in marriage but women have none; that men are guilty until proven innocent but women are innocent until proven guilty. 

My all-time favorite show is “Friends”; when I recently watched it, I was disturbed by how, for so many years, I thought Joey, the guy who is childish, dumb, and horny, is hilarious. One of the main recurring jokes throughout the seasons is that Joey sleeps with many women but never remembers their names or calls them back. This is not funny. It is wrong and it sends a message to women that they have every right to look down on men and treat them as children, idiots, and horny beings.

What can we all do about it?

  • We need to encourage boys to grow up and become men: sophisticated, intelligent, and romantic.
  • We need to recognize mens’ leadership skills, opinions, and the need to feel respected.
  • We need to stop praising or even laughing with boys that sleep around, objectify women, and refuse to commit.
  • We need to stop the double-standard adopted in our society were it’s okay to casually mock and criticize men.

If you are a man, do you relate to any points mentioned? If you are a woman, what’s your thoughts? Comment Below!

Johnny Youssef

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12 Comments
  • Sean Apr 10,2016 at 2:50 pm

    Great article, Johnny. Very true. I’m glad you have spoken up about this.

  • Peter Kiiskila Apr 2,2016 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Johnny, I love that you are ripping out the underpinnings of our society’s negative views towards masculinity. As the culture continues in the trend of making men either looking stupid or never growing up, we will continue to see guys never develop into the honorable man that God created them to be. Frankly, the majority are being mentored or “fathered” by pop-culture and not by mature seasoned men of character. We need more men of character to be showing the way and leading the next generation in the path to walk in their true identity as sons, fathers and kings. As we walk in true servant leadership as Jesus displayed, women will be able to trust and follow a man’s humble service when she knows and feels the protection, comfort and edification of a man.

    Johnny, I believe you are touching on some vary important messages that men and women need to be aware of as we passively accept these messages as truth. Please continue bringing the good stuff, bro!

  • Rommy Apr 2,2016 at 10:58 am

    Very insightful article and true in it’s perception. My belief is that the main problem with men today, especially those who claim to belong to Jesus Christ lies in the fact that they, and we as women, have allowed the world to define what a man is supposed to be. Which you point out in the aqrticle. But, with that being said, that is a downfall for many in the body of Christ. We are allowing the world (by way of t.v. shows, magazines, talk shows, etc., etc.; mainly the media) to depict what is acceptable and or not acceptable and we are not holding to what God’s word says about His expectations of a man. We have gotten so out of sync with God’s requirements and standards that we play with the world and it’s descriptions as if we can interchange and mix them as we please; to more or less pick and choose. The key is getting back to the Father’s heart and being the “Men” and “Women” HE has called us to be. To be a light in the midst of the darkness instead of allowing that darkness to overcome us and snuff our light out! The world and society is not going to change and we need to be careful not to let it change us. We are living in a day and time where compromise will tell on us before long and when we stand before our Father we will not like what it say’s about us! 🙂

  • Kayla Apr 1,2016 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Johnny. I think this is such a difficult topic to grasp. Especially since society tells us that respect must be earned. Men perceive respect as being loved and affirmed. Then you have many men in our culture who do not act worthy of respect. Then the bible tells us to love God and to love others. That these are the two most important commandments. So how do we love our brothers in Christ who do not hold a character that is worthy of respect? Or do we just love in the best way possible (with humility), hoping that they will grow up and change?

    • Johnny Youssef Apr 1,2016 at 2:21 pm

      If we treat men as “guilty until proven innocent”….They were act as guilty if they are not given the space to be treated with respect. So I say, love and call men higher. If a man is being a “pig” and refusing to change, it’s definitely wise to distant yourself. There are two levels of respect: You can respect someone as a human and then there is the earned respect towards someone as they show positive attributes. The first is required, the second isn’t.

  • Jedidiah Hartley Apr 1,2016 at 11:21 am

    This is ridiculous. There is plenty of representation of men in pop-culture as intelligent, tough, macho. Also, there is nothing wrong with some tv shows exploring characters who are a little bit different than what you conceder to be “a man”

    • Jedidiah Hartley Apr 1,2016 at 12:24 pm

      Consider*

    • Johnny Youssef Apr 1,2016 at 2:06 pm

      I never said a man needs to be “tough” or “macho”…that’s what your are interpreting because you have difficulty accepting some valid issues in our culture. If you think a man that always wants to sleep with women as objects and is unable to make wise decision a “man”, we have very different definitions of true manhood.

  • Simon Picazo Apr 1,2016 at 8:46 am

    C.S. Lewis speaks of a couple of key things in his book (quoted below) speaks of a couple of key things that are inextricably linked: a proper understanding of God as the source of all beauty, and the necessity of men to work with their hands to make a living.

    “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

    ― C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

    • Johnny Youssef Apr 1,2016 at 2:06 pm

      I love this quote! never heard it before. Thank you!

  • Lauren Mar 31,2016 at 10:24 pm

    Excellent post. It aggravates me greatly when I hear or see women demean men. Respect is an integral virtue of the Christian life-we are all created in God’s image and worthy of respect. The reality that this occurs in the church, in the small group, and in the Bible study makes me very concerned. One of my dear friends was publically criticized and humiliated by a woman in his church small group. He had since left the group and was out of fellowship with the church (he lives in a foreign country with few solid churches). This one story displays how dangerous and detrimental even one act of disrespect towards a man can be.

    I have caught myself saying things like “boys will be boys” or “well, he is a guy”…etc. I have to watch my words, be vigilant, and remember to edify the men around me.

    I’ve often heard that you can determine how a young woman will treat her future husband by how she treats the men in her life (fathers, brothers, pastors, friends…etc). It is very true. I’ve watched many friends endure difficult father-daughter relationships with grace and respect. They now are married to godly men and I see the beautiful respect they have for their husbands. I pray that I will continue to respect all people, including the guys, and be even more prepared to actively encourage and inspire my future husband.

    Thank you for writing!

    • Johnny Youssef Apr 1,2016 at 1:46 am

      Thank you Lauren! I agree with you and appreciate your thoughts!

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