Others have commented on this article by Terrence Moore, “Wimps and Barbarians: The Sons of Murphy Brown,” denoting the current state of manhood in our society. I would say it generally applies to Generations X and Y, and to a certain extent, Boomers.
According to Moore, men of today are classified as either wimps or barbarians. They are either men who have taken all the strong characteristics of maleness to the extreme, turning aggressiveness into anger, appreciation for the beauty of women into lust and so on. Or they have completely turned themselves into feminized versions of manhood in order to receive acceptance from women, so woefully summed up in the term “metrosexual.” I agree with him and look for the cause in the complete abdication of many fathers in the raising of their sons to the popular culture. A century ago, boys learned to be men by observing their fathers, working alongside them on the farm, hunting, fishing, doing work around the home. Now they learn it from their peers, who are no more knowledgeable about life or how to be a man than themselves, and from MTV, music, movies, TV, and video games.
Moore doesn’t address the corollary point, which is that women too have been culturally assimilated. For the most part they have been masculinized, that is given traits not inherent to their sex, and they have either given up on the men of their generation or descended into the same depths as they. Femininity is despised or redefined to mean something radical.
The sad reality is that many single women, even solidly Catholic ones, aren’t really looking for manly men. Either they go for the unstable, uncouth, wild party guys (“bad boys”) or they like vulnerable, dependent, unassertive guys who are malleable. I know I’m not perfect, but I look at myself sometimes and see myself as a solitary figure. I’m not going to boast about being manly, but I know I don’t belong to either the wimps or barbarians, yet most guys I meet aren’t like me. And I know women certainly aren’t breaking down my door. (Of course, there may be other reasons for that.)
Nonetheless, my point is that the sexes have become confused and neither one is happy. They instinctively recognize that there’s something wrong, yet they can’t put their fingers on it and were you to point it out, they would rebel at the countercultural thought. And I think this all goes a long way to explaining the divorce rate. Most people want what marriage should be, but the roles are confused and they become disillusioned and begin to wander away from their spouse and that’s that.
Men, be true fathers to your sons. Women, be true mothers to your daughters. Maybe we can save the next generation.