The mainstream media has been full of stories about toxic masculinity recently, especially the hand-wringing, moralising, finger-pointing style, such as this effort by Lee Suckling in the New Zealand Herald. Leaving aside that the whole issue of toxic masculinity is mostly overblown, there are some things that men really ought to do better for the sake of universally reducing suffering in the world.
Also leaving aside the fact that the media never mentions toxic femininity, which is an equally large problem, the solution presented to fixing this problem of toxic masculinity is to dump responsibility for it entirely on men. Suckling laments that “We are forced to like blue not pink; trucks not Barbies; rugby not netball; muscles, strength, and brute force not intellectualism, thoughts, and feelings,” but blames men exclusively for all of this.
The human species is not a machine, but in many psychological ways it behaves exactly like a machine, especially in regards to conditioning. Behaviour is more or less likely to happen in the future if it was rewarded or punished, respectively, in the present. This has been known for a century and has been codified into what’s known as the Law of Effect.
In other words, changing the behaviour of men requires that they are rewarded sufficiently for the desired new behaviour. This means that they have to be treated correctly for it – and not just by other men.
One crucial detail that Suckling completely overlooks in blaming Kiwi men for everything is that women are equally as complicit as men, if not more so, when it comes to enforcing the standards of toxic masculinity. Proving this is a simple matter of observing which male behaviour gets rewarded with access to sexual resources.
It isn’t the men who are into “intellectualism, thoughts, and feelings” that get the chicks. Although it might be true that high-class women are attracted to those things, and although it might be true that men who are into these things get the cream of the women, there are so few of these women that the behaviour of males is not significantly altered.
For every woman turned on by intellectualism, thoughts, and feelings, there are fifty who are turned on by crass, vulgar displays of wealth and physical power. Driving a big, loud car, verbally abusing or bullying someone or punching another man in the face are the sort of behaviours that make the majority of women see a man as alpha, dominant and worth breeding with.
The Law of Effect explains another oft-observed phenomenon: that men tend to repeat the behaviours that first got them laid for the rest of their lives. So if they lose their virginity at age 17 by getting drunk and acting boorishly around some girl who has nothing but crude primate instincts to guide her mating decisions, then they will often act the boor while trying to get laid for the rest of their lives.
If this is to change, more women have to realise that intellectualism, thoughts and feelings are better predictors of long-term happiness and start rewarding men on that basis. This is necessary because men will respond to this a million times more strongly than they will to getting lectured by homosexuals in the mainstream media.
Cynics might say that it’s not destined to happen. It may be that powers beyond our influence have decided that New Zealand is to be a military outpost of a certain world order, and so our population must be encouraged to be aggressive and abusive in case such qualities are needed to win some future war.
That might not even be a bad thing. Suckling uses the European male as an example of how to be correctly masculine, but neglects to point out that the femininity of the European male has led directly to that continent’s streets and inner cities being conquered by males of foreign cultures.
As ever, the correct approach lies in finding the correct balance between masculine and feminine, but if young Kiwi men are to stop killing themselves at the highest rate in the world, Kiwi women are going to have to help make the change.