Men and women are not the same.

December 13, 2023

Women become. Men are made

Camille Paglia writes:

“A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men. Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all.”

I suspect that this is a controversial statement in today’s political and cultural climate which views the distinction between men and women as a blurred boundary.

However, we cannot argue with Millennia of recorded history, which testifies that girls blossom into womanhood but that a good man is no accident. They are made. Fashioned through discipline, hard work and competition overseen by other men.

My question is this? What sort of man are you? Are you weak and externally soft with the breaking strain of a warm Kitkat or are you as physically strong as you can be, responsible and slightly dangerous?

There are many more characteristics that I could list, but I hope you can already distinguish between the 2 classes of men. One will crumple like the polystyrene cup under the weight of circumstance, the other is ready to wrestle with it.

What is the purpose of a man’s life?

This is where we get to the heart of the issue?

As a man, the purpose of your life is to master yourself and to live sacrificially. (Soli Deo Gloria).

Or put more bluntly. “No excuses, do your damn duty!”

Your chief end in life is not to limp to the age of 65 with the goal of buying a static caravan in a retirement village near Bognor Regis. You should be “screeching up” to your grave and pulling a handbrake turn before tumbling out of the car into it.

Most men understand this at a gut level - we know we’re built for greatness, but it all seems like hard work. So much easier to “obey the government approved message” and consume, be entertained and leave everything to the experts.

The 4 persistent sins of men

In this blog I often talk about overcoming problems and today, I want to identify 4 big ones which destroy men. These are our kryptonite.

In the ideal world, these ‘sins’ will have been trained out of the teenage boy before he leaves home, but the reality is the young man will have made progress on some but not others. In the worst case he will have failed in all 4 areas and will be utterly feral.

I stopped growing

I’m now in my late 40s and I can see a 20 year gap in my life where I stopped consciously growing in any of these areas. It never occurred to me I must kill these sins daily. I used to say to myself, “This is just who I am”. I have been lucky that circumstances in life forced me to grow and I made small unconscious steps.  

In the early days, ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know,' and with age comes wisdom and clarity. The hidden, blind and unknown self eventually comes to the fore, bringing with it pain for all the squandered years.

You are not as self-aware as you think

Some of you may look at the list above, thinking that you have all these 4 besetting sin areas squared away.

Here is something I learned just yesterday. 95% of people think they are self aware. Only 10-15% actually are. This means most of us are deluding ourselves.

Here’s the thing - if men are made, it is not too late. You can fix things.

The rule of thumb is that for every year you have been missing the mark it is going to take about one month to make good the loss. So if you have been an abject failure as a man for 25 years - it’s going to take 2 years of solid graft to get the show on the road again.

The rule of thumb is that for every year you have been missing the mark it is going to take about one month to make good the loss. So if you have been an abject failure as a man for 25 years - it’s going to take 2 years of solid graft to get the show on the road again.

There will be false starts and seasons of failure, but never give up.

I feel blessed I had a tough grandfather and an intellectual father - both men poured into me, but it still wasn’t enough. Despite every advantage, the spirit of the age captured me. Both men were dead by the time I was 21. When I was ready to listen, they were both gone, and I drifted and drifted.

They didn’t fail me, but I failed them. I have no excuse.

Others reading this will have been let down by the males in their family who didn’t set boundaries, who didn’t challenge them, who didn’t offer praise for a job well done and your life will have been poorer for it and maybe you will also have been at sea for too long.

I’m hoping that if you are reading this, you hear the strong call of change over your life.

What happens if we don’t up our game?

I’m going to say another unpopular thing. Not my quote, but it is true:

Patriarchy is inevitable.

Men will always float to the top in many areas of life. Not that women are not capable, but the biological engineering and hormones in men will drive them on.

Many men will risk death for their ego and for a shot at power.

The problem we face now is that too many ‘broken’ men are assuming the roles society demands, and they are not fit to exercise authority in them. C S Lewis would call them “men without chests” (Abolition of Man 1943). Men with no developed moral sense or emotional depth.

Male leadership is in a period of crisis and this means that the ‘inevitable patriarchy’ I refer to will not be benevolent. Tyranny and hard times lie ahead.

Under their rule, the fences will go unmended and chaos is going to waltz through the gaps.

Who pays the price?

When men don’t take sacrificial responsibility, we let the bad guys take over and it is the vulnerable who pay the price. Our women, our daughters and the children.

Every good man must be ready to lay down his life both literally and figuratively for his family and those he cares about. Never was this more true than today. This is not a job for immature boys but for men who are self-controlled, humble, productive and pure.

Where are you on this journey? What are you doing to be better?

Main image by flickr

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