Toxic Masculinity

So I’m going to give a little bit of time for some people to get on, because I want … I’d really love to see some, hear some feedback, so I’m going to give a little bit of time before I start tonight. Something that I wanted to discuss tonight.

Hey, Patricia and Todd. Hey, guys! Kelly? How are you doing?

So I’m going to give a little more time, let some more people get on, because I really … Becky! How you doing, Beck?

I really want peoples’ feed … I want to know what you think about this topic that I want to talk about tonight. I know this week is supposed to be on faith, and I guess, I think it is. It applies to faith a little bit. And I titled it Toxic Masculinity for a reason.

Oh, let me silence the computer. So I had a thought today, and I’ve really been trying to, when I get these nudges … and for me, and here’s part of where the faith part comes in. When I get these nudges, I know what, and some of these thoughts that pop in. I’m not that smart. Let’s just call a spade a spade.

When I get these thoughts, it’s, in my opinion, from above. And they’re God-inspired thoughts. So that’s me. Maybe not you. But that’s okay. But that’s me.

One of the things that I was thinking today, and it popped into my head, was this whole, on this whole toxic masculinity piece. Because I’ve had some people say, “Oh, you’re just trying to espouse and push this toxic masculinity, this piece of manning up and this thing that we finally got rid of.”

In fact, so there’s one. BuzzFeed today, I don’t know if anybody of you watch or know what BuzzFeed is. But it’s this on, I think it’s the Internet somewhere.

Anyway, these guys were talking about how they got their testosterone tested. All of their testosterone was clinically low. Their levels were clinically low. Which means there’s going to be an issue, most likely. And they were happy. They were excited.

Because they were, in their words, getting rid of their toxic masculinity, because their testosterone was low. And my thought that came to my head was, “You guys are idiots.” Plain and simple.

Because testosterone is more than masculinity. Testosterone is a hormone. It is something that controls so many, and influences so many functions in our … in a man’s body, in a woman’s body. It’s there for a reason. It plays an important piece.

For them to say that because their testosterone was low, they were getting rid of some of their toxic masculinity … For those of you who know or are familiar with Bill Engvall, I wanted to just reach out and go, “Here’s your sign.” Absolute lunacy.

That being said, there’s a lot of people that talk about this idea of manliness being toxic. So I got to thinking, “What does that really mean?” I really don’t think there’s an issue with toxic masculinity. I don’t think it has to do with masculinity. That’s what I’m going to say.

Because here’s the deal. You can have toxic men and, just as well, toxic females. You can have toxic femininity. You can toxic masculinity. You can have who’s just an A number one idiot. And here’s the thing. Idiocracy knows no cultural, race or sexual boundaries. I mean, it’s it’s one thing that doesn’t discriminate, is stupidity, and being an idiot. It just doesn’t.

That’s the thing that I look at. It’s one of my, “Okay. What really is the problem?” Because Einstein says, “If you truly can’t explain something in the simplest terms, you really don’t understand it.” Well, so what, where is the problem, then? Where is the problem?

What is the issue with men that, number one, I wrote the book for, and what I’m trying to work on, and trying to help? I think, when we look at it, it’s not so much a masculinity problem as it is a maturity problem. And I think, so let’s look at the word “maturity.”

Well, the word “maturity” means “growth.” It means someone has, is continuing to grow or to move forward. I think that’s part of the problem is, at some point in time, for some men, they have either chosen not to grasp onto what was modeled for them. Or it was never modeled for him. They missed an opportunity early on for that growth piece, that maturity piece.

We talked, I’ve talked before about emotions, emotions, and how some people say men shouldn’t be emotional. That’s a bunch of crap. A true man, and here’s the difference, a true man is in control of his emotions and displays them properly. No doubt, with this whole masculinity piece, a mature man knows his strength and how he gives his strength to others.

Now, okay, so we talk about this. One person has said, or more than one person, lots of people said: “You’re just looking to overpower this man strength thing as looking to overpower.” No, this has nothing to do with overpowering. Because the true manliness piece is not how much, how quickly, how strongly you can overpower someone else.

The true manliness is having that power and that control over yourself. Over what’s here. Over what’s here. That strength or that meekness, which is strength under control, is the piece that’s important. I think, a lot of times, it’s the piece that’s missing in this maturity process for some men.

For some guys, it’s not every single area. For some of us … I struggle with a short fuse at times. There’s men that struggle, in their marriage, there’s men that … but they kick butt as a dad. There’s men that struggle in business. But as a father and a husband, you couldn’t ask for someone that’s more loving and caring and doting on their family.

When I look at this maturity piece, it’s growth. That really is maturity. You look up in Webster’s, and to mature is to grow into or out of something. With this piece on the maturity versus masculinity, it’s whether or not we as men are looking to continue to grow, as we go through life.

Are we continuing to look at ways to improve, to grow in what it means to be good at our job, good at our business? Looking for ways to be better in either of those, to be better as a husband. How to treat our wife better.

Those types of things, that maturity piece, is extremely important. I think, when you look at faith, and I talk in my book how I was “injured” by the church. That someone was not as mature in their faith as they should have been. Some would call that toxic masculinity.

I mean, I would really love to see and hear what you guys think on this. And I don’t know if I’m getting live feed, live questions or live comments or not. Let me see if I can get to where I want to see … okay. Maybe my Internet’s just not going to let me see them. I’m seeing some, but not … I think they’re old ones.

Let’s see. All right, Kelly. I see that one, though, that you’ve been having trouble with comments, so I might be getting them live. I don’t know how old that was or how long ago you said that, but … Anyway, that’s what I had to say tonight.

I just think, I think that we need to look closely at what that piece is. And as men, look at our maturation process. Are we looking to grow and mature in all these areas of our life? Are we willing to take constructive criticism? Are we willing to know it from other friends and other people, our wives, maybe our kids?

I tell you what. Kids are the best ones to get constructive criticism for. Because they’re not going to lie. They’re going to tell you exactly what it is. Andrew says, “I deal with toxic masculinity every day, working in the law. It’s pretty to spot and can wreak havoc on families who then have to piece together lives again.” Yeah, man, I can’t agree more.

That’s the thing. A strong man … I talk about this in the Fatherhood chapter, but it applies to everything. A man who is strong, has strength, has presence, has that peace about him, has power. You have an immense power to build up and to strengthen. Or to tear down and to weaken, then destroy.

I think it’s, that’s again, that maturity process of, to know when and where, and how to use that power that as men we’re given. Again, this is nothing against women. I’ve already said that you guys can be just as toxic as we can sometimes, right? So, hey, we all deal with the same things.

And it has nothing to do with the [inaudible 00:11:02], and we’re not trying to say that there aren’t strong women. I think I addressed that the other day, and talked about how I’m married to one. I think it’s the best thing in the world. Because she keeps me on my toes, and we challenge each other, and she challenges me to better than what I was yesterday.

Andrew, yeah, that is so true with what you do in the legal system. I can’t even imagine what you see on a daily basis, man. Quite honestly, here’s to you for manning up and taking care of people that can’t take care of themselves.

So what do you guys think? What’s your thoughts on toxic masculinity? I already told you one. I think it’s not so much a masculinity problem as it is a maturity problem. Masculine can be a great thing. Again, it’s like a tool. So here’s the deal. I’m going to say out there, because I can and it’s my page.

For me it’s like a firearm. A firearm is a tool. But it’s going to do what the operator tells it to. Money. Money is a tool. Money can be used for good or it can be used for bad. Strength. Strength is a tool. It can be used for good, it can be used for bad.

That’s my personal view. Not everybody agrees with me, and that’s okay. So Greg Gates, agreed, 100%, brother. I know you and I like the way you think.

“To me it’s an ego problem.” Oh, yes, Patricia and Todd. It’s an ego problem. Your ego is not your amigo. I mean, that’s one of my biggest things that I know to be true.

Kelly Davis: “I think it is too much alpha male showing his bad leadership.” Yeah. I think that leadership piece, that alpha male … Alpha male can be good. Alpha male can be valuable in certain situations. When there are weak that need to be protected, then a strong conscientious alpha male can be an incredible tool to have. It can be an incredible presence to be there.

I think yes, that alpha male taken too far again, taken to the point of, past the point of strength that builds up and protects, but tears down, weakens and destroys? That’s where you end up in an issue.

Somebody taking this, with this alpha male bit, “It’s all about them or me as the alpha male. It’s not about those under my watch,” I think is where the problem starts. I talk about with my boys how they are … there’s three options. Some of you have probably heard this folklore.

My boys could either be a wolf, a sheep or a sheep dog. If you ask them, and I challenge anybody that knows my boys, ask them. “What are you? Are you a wolf, a sheep or a sheep dog?” If they don’t say sheep dog, and they can’t describe what that means, then I think, then I have an issue.

My boys are sheep dogs, plain and simple. Wolves are out there, and they look to prey on things weaker, and they look to pray in a pack on things that are weaker. Sheep follow the crowd. Sheep are those that are swayed easily. Sheep dogs protect the weak. They protect those that are swayed easily and say, “Hey. Might not be the best idea. Might want to look at this.”

They look. They are on the watch for wolves sneaking into the flock. And I think that mentality of an alpha male is a powerful piece. But when it comes to the point where that alpha male is more of a wolf? Now they are a predator. That’s not a good thing. We weren’t designed to be predators. I know that for a fact. No, not a fact. That’s a really big opinion. I guess it’s not a fact.

Andrew said, “There are a lot of conflicting messages out there, especially in the social media age about what a man should be, and should be doing, and how to act without strong male influence to guide.” Andrew, you’re exactly right, and this is really why I wanted to do this.

Part of the project piece, I was just Man Up. Then the project piece came in with, “Okay, it’s not just my kids.” The only way to really influence them to show that men, it’s okay to be a man … to have those strong convictions and values, and be strong in your, in what you want and you think, without being toxic? The best way to do that is to show young men to be what that looks like, with proper modeling.

And then, so then that means, those of us who are okay with it, those of us who are secure and we’re authentic in who we are as men … modeling for that people, young men other than our kids. Whether it’s inviting one of your son’s friends that has a single mom, who’s one of the unsung heroes out there.

But inviting him to do something with you guys, whether it’s going go-karting, or if hunting is your thing? Those types of activities where you can model what, how a man treats a woman. How a man treats others. How a real man does that. Why, you know, he’s opening the door for other people. He’s putting other people before himself. That’s the project part of this. So I think that’s important with what you just said, and it’s true.

I don’t want guys to have to apologize for owning that they’re a guy. And that there’s qualities about men and about who we are as men that are good, and can help society. There are qualities about women that are good and can help society, and damn it, I’d wish we’d quit competing, and we just quit complimenting … or, we quit competing and we start complimenting each other as men and women. I think we can get to that, that piece. But that’s where that sweet spot is.

Kevin said, “Do you think the name of the book Man Up would be different, now that we’ve listened to your conversations on the book, and learned so much?” No. People ask, “Why did you call it Man Up? You knew it was going to create controversy.”

Yeah, I did, 100% I knew it. That’s why I did it. I did it to create controversy. I did it to get questions asked. To cause people to think a little bit. Because I knew it would irritate some people. And other people, that they’re going to resonate with it, extremely and deeply. Some people may take it … you’re going to have the extreme.

This is no different than the Republican and Democrats. I mean, the one’s going to take it one way, as far as they can, and the other one’s going to take it as far as they can in the other way. And there’s going to be people that take this message and do the same thing. That’s not what this is. This is a message of men finding out who they are authentically as a man, and being okay with that.

Brenda says, “We’re in the generation where many boys are growing up in homes without fathers, my home being one, and I so appreciated a man in my life that stepped up to mentor my son.” Oh, I’m sure I’m missing the rest of it, but … Brenda? Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. That’s where we used to have, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

I talked to an interviewer today with a paper out of New York. One of the things that we talked about was … oh, man, I just had a brain fart. Man, that went bye bye in a hurry. Sometimer’s disease, right? Goodness gracious.

Bob says, “Easier to work with female partner because it allows you to complement each other’s strengths.” I get you, Bob. Sometimes it’s, depending on the men involved … it ends up sometimes being a competition that shouldn’t be there, right? Not that competition is bad, because iron sharpens iron. But I understand what you’re saying 100%.

Chris: “It’s interesting. We are raised and learn what we think a man should be based on our dads, grand dads. We go and start to learn what society says a man should be.” Chris, you’re exactly it. That is so true.

I think, I can’t remember the exact age, but they say that for most kids, their religious affiliation is going to be solidified by the time they’re five or six. Something like that. Some percentage of it. You look at all the experiences that we as young men go through, with relation to fathers, grandfathers, teachers, friends, clergy.

All the potential good and bad interactions that can happen with that, and how it can either … again, the potential of men to either strengthen and build up, and perpetuate, or to knock down, harm and destroy.

We were talking today on this interview about confidence in men. How do we get that confidence? And what can take that confidence today? I think part of it has to do with the confidence piece of those things when we’re younger, that can cause us to lack confidence. And that’s those people speaking into our lives. Those people that take away the pen that’s writing our story, and start using it themselves.

They’re writing our story using our pen. That’s part of this movement, is to take the damn pen back, and write your own story. Don’t let anybody steal your pen, that’s writing your story. Take it back. Work on that maturity piece. If you’re always working on getting and being better, and growing more than you are today, for tomorrow, I can almost guarantee you, nobody’s ever going to call you a toxic male.

Now, is there a potential that you’re going to screw up, and you’re going to do something you shouldn’t? Yes. I can’t remember how many times I already did today. Right? But I think that’s it.

Okay. I’ve rambled on long enough tonight, I think, but I just … I had to get on and talk about this a little bit, about this whole toxic masculinity thing, and how I don’t think it is a masculinity problem.

It’s a maturity problem, and it’s a maturity issue, and it’s not necessarily … I’m all about taking responsibility, personal responsibility for things? There’s some things that were taken out of our hands earlier in lifes, earlier in our lives, but at the same point, we all have that decision to make about what we’re going to do with our life moving forward.

Again, are you going to hold the pen that’s writing your story? Or are you going to give it up to somebody else to use? That decision process has the potential to either turn you into a toxic male, or it has a chance to turn you into a male who’s irresistible. Someone that other people want to be around, other people want to follow, and other people gravitate towards. Then it’s all in the decisions. Then it’s all in that growth and maturity.

So, there you have it. There’s tonight. Sorry, that one was … that was a little longer. I’d told the kids I was going to be back in, and I was going to tuck them in, earlier than this, but … Well, I didn’t.

Anyway, guys, unless there’s any other questions, or people got anything they want to say, or they got anything else for me, I better sign off for tonight, and get doing some things. I’m just going to double check the comments that have been out here.

All right, guys. Have a great night. Hope you’re all doing well, and we’ll talk to you at some other point this week. Later.