Depending where you look, and who you listen to, the current state of manliness seems pretty bleak. Are authentically masculine men still a thing? Has manliness changed? In a recent video, Dave DiNuzzo of TrueManhood Catholic Men’s Ministry and Drew Taylor of To The Heights and Catholic-Link.org sat down to discuss.
What is Manliness?
Manliness is incredibly confused in our culture. If you do a quick search on what defines manliness, there are perhaps glimmers of hope in the definitions given, but they are lacking. The definitions tend to label ambiguous attributes, but they don’t get to the heart of the matter.
To truly understand manliness, we need to know and acknowledge that there are such things as men. Parts of our modern culture struggle with this concept, but yes, there are men. The male gender. There are baby males, young/adolescent males, and older males of varying ages. Maleness is not a feeling, or a choice, but rather a genetic and biological reality. How a male chooses to live is an entirely different story.
A male ‘lives out’ or is ‘manly’ when he does what a man should do. When a male fails to do these things, he is living and acting as a boy does, and therefore the opposite of masculinity is childishness. So what are these things that a male should do? The things he should be doing are called virtue. Virtues are verbs, action words, requiring a concrete choice. When a male wills (or chooses) the good, to be wise, to be moderate, to be courageous, then he’s a man. If he doesn’t, and fails at living as he should, he’s merely a boy.[The best and most clear example of true manhood is Jesus Christ. Every action He chose was virtuous. Jesus is virtue itself. As an encouragement, I recommend that you dive into each and every action of Jesus in the Gospels and label the corresponding virtue. You will quickly see that each and every action of Jesus shows us clearly how we should act and interact throughout our entire life.]
Where the males go, so goes the culture. We have a plethora of grown males who are failing to live as men, simply living as boys. When grown boys are in charge, when they are determining what goes, and when they are concerned only about themselves, we end up in mass chaos, which is very clear in our culture.
What’s the Problem with Manliness?
The problem is evident to me: we have the majority of males walking around not knowing who they are or what they were created for! We are hemorrhaging as a culture and the answer in the mainstream seems to be “do whatever you want”, “be whoever or whatever you want”, “masculinity is toxic”, and so on. These ideas are dangerous and perpetuate the problem.
A great way to describe this is with a term called “cultural manliness”, which is the lie that the more power, money, sex, and stuff that a male consumes, the more manly he is. In my opinion, this sums up the current state of masculinity. Males have failed to realize that our power isn’t intended to be used for personal gain, but should be wielded for the betterment of others. We’ve forgotten that the love of money is the root of all evil; consumerism is addictive and becomes idolatrous. We try to either lessen God, or work to turn ourselves into a god. And we’ve completed distorted the value, beauty, and meaning of sex.
There’s no wonder why terms like “manliness” and “masculinity” have become so off-putting for people when they hear them because these incorrect, counterfeit, and empty traits are what flood their minds. We can’t let the lie win! We must reclaim authentic masculinity, or as I like to say, TrueManhood!
Another huge issue regarding masculinity is the lack of fathers, fatherhood, and positive male role models. The collective culture has dropped the proverbial ball over the last 60 years and we’re all paying for it. The only way out is for authentic masculinity to be taught, learned, exemplified, and lived out.
What Can a Man Do About It?
Get started by praying, fasting, and making sacrifices. Start living virtue. Stop your vicious behaviors. Find an accountability partner and begin to meet together. Reach out and get help and encouragement. You will be judged on your life. You will be required to give an account of your choices. Make sure they’re truly manly!
For more on this topic, check out TrueManhood.com, and specifically, you can download the FREE PDF “TrueManhood’s Quick Guide to Virtue.” Dave has lots of blog posts, resources, videos, and more – just search “virtue”. Be sure to follow him on socials, subscribe to the TrueManhood newsletter, and pray for him!