Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Emasculating American Boys

We have a growing problem in America. A problem that I believe will become a potential catastrophe unless current trends are reversed.

The problem that I am referring to is the emasculating of American boys. You might be asking what I mean by that, and my answer is simply this: American dads are too disengaged in the raising of their children, in this particular instance, their sons, leaving their wives to teach boys how to become men.

It is my humble opinion, that women can't really teach their sons to be men, especially if they spend a lot of time, as many women do, attempting to neuter their sons, or worse, make girls out of them.

Don't get me wrong. Boys have lots to learn from women, but only dad can teach them how to treat a woman properly. Only a dad (a good dad) can teach a boy (mostly by example) how to treat a lady. A woman can't really teach a boy how to be a gentleman... he will have to be taught these things by a man (or a book and lots of episodes of Star Trek, in my case).

Maybe this isn't happening everywhere, but I see what I see. When I go to pick up my 7 year old daughter from school, I see swarms of moms (I'm joined by a scattering of dads) chasing after their boys and re-zipping their jackets, and putting their hats on their heads, telling them not to run, telling them to be quiet, not to push, not to shove, admonishing them about fighting, etc... On the surface, most of you reading this will say: "So? whats wrong with those things?" Well, usually, nothing is wrong with those things. The problem is that when taken to extremes in "minivan-mom America", we wind up with grown men that depend too much on their mothers (and later, wives), men that don't know how to be fathers to their sons, men that are passive, men that don't know how to head a family, men that won't/can't fight. In short, we raise our boys to become Alan Alda. Don't get me wrong here, I think Alan Alda is a brilliant actor... I particularly enjoyed him in "Same Time, Next Year" which remains one of my favorite movies.

Let me ask you something: How many of you know any men that have NEVER been in a fistfight? I know several, and it makes me ill.

Now, I know what you are thinking: "Did he fire five rounds or six?" (No, you probably aren't really thinking that, but big points for getting the movie reference). What you might be thinking is: "Do you have to have fights to be a man?" The answer is no... but only a qualified no. You needn't be a brawler to be a man. You needn't be a loud, pushy, or swaggering oaf to be a man. However, a man SHOULD be able to fight... how else will he protect his family when forced to? A man should be assertive. Not pushy, but assertive. A man should be strong.

When I train new agents these days, I always ask: "Who here has never been punched in the face... hard?" You'd be surprised at the number. When we finally get around to giving them a good whack to the head/face, you'd be amazed at how many curl up and quit.

If current trends keep up, one of these days, these girly-men will be the only ones left.

We'll be in big trouble then.

So, what is the answer? There are two, and here they are:

Men: Raise your sons. Teach them to be strong, teach them to tell the truth, teach them that courage and bravado aren't the same thing. Teach them to stand up for those that are weaker than they are. Teach them that fighting isn't wrong when you are fighting for the right reasons, teach them that women must be treated with respect and that they must treat other men with respect or you will get none in return. Teach them to be committed. Show them these things, by your own example, and we won't have to worry about having Marvin Milktoast in the White House... or running the Army. Most importantly dads... YOU HAVE TO BE PRESENT IN YOUR SON'S LIFE!

Ladies: Here is what you can do: I know that so many women are the primary caregivers for our children, but you MUST make an effort to make sure that your boys are allowed to be boys. We aren't as far from our hunter/gatherer forebears as we'd like to believe, and boys still need to be rough in order to be tough and strong later in life. Don't coddle it out of them... it will serve them poorly later in life.


marissa said...

Great post, I am the single mom of a little boy who is a boys boys and I agree with you there are things I can't teach him. I am lucky I have Jman who has taken him on wholeheartedly and is doing a great job. That being said I know that I could easily coddle him into a mama's boy.

By the way before the dye job I was a blonde if you check back a few posts I have a few pics of my as a blonde

BETTY said...

Sorry that post is mine I don't know why the name is different

vasilisa said...

That's why it's so important that kids have both parents. I love my son to pieces. And I'm fully aware that I have strong "mothering" tendencies. It's hard for me to think of him even doing such basic boy things as playing hockey. That's why he need his dad. Cause dad can do it. He can show him.

I think sometimes women forget that they are not raising boys, they are raising men. And as much as I wouldn't want to be married to a girly man (I'm old fashioned a bit), I wouldn't want my son to be one either.

PS: Though, on the upside, even though I'm a girl, I have been in fistfights. Sometimes you have no choice. And if my son never stands up for himself, or for someone who needs his protection, then I'm really doing my job wrong.

Leslie said...

I agree. Children need both parents because mothering and fathering are different. Fathers are important to the development of their sons and their daughters, too. There are way too many girls that behave agressively and become sexually active way too early to make up for the lack of positive attention they should be getting from a father. Dads are important all around.

The Thinking Black Man said...


A fathers presence, a quality fathers presence, is absolutely paramount to boys en route to manhood.

This bothers my heart sometimes because there are so many males [I refuse to call them men] that get a girl/woman pregnant and then just leaves her and his child like they mean nothing. Or in some cases the courts make these losers pay $45 a month in child support and these guys go and boast about "Yeah, I take care of my kids!" Give me a break!

Boys need to be rough and tumble and they need to have their time getting dirty. They also need their time to learn how to be under control and respectful. They need to learn that a handshake should ALWAYS be firm and that you ALWAYS look a person in their eyes! They need to know that they can still get in trouble even when they tell the truth, and a man must always tell the truth. Further still, they need their dads with them to guide them through it all, and they need to see their dads treating their moms with love, tenderness and an overwhelming respect.

A simply excellent post by you, as always My Brother!

BTW - I loved Alda in "Paper Lion" and "Canadian Bacon". Re-runs of the last episode of M*A*S*H still get me right here...

WordsRock said...

This is an interesting post. I agree that men need to be fathers, there is no substitute in a child's life.

But... and I have a first hand experience... it is not impossible for a child raised primarily by women to be a decent and righteous Manly Man. Women also know and can teach what makes a good man.

Gunfighter said...


I agree with you in the main.

I was raised by two women, and I turned out fine (I think).

Fortunately, I was influenced heavily by negative example so I learned a lot about what I should be from seeing what I shouldn't be.

I was lucky, I had a role model, but I think that might be the subject of another post.

Yes, a real man can be raised by women... but it takes an exceptional woman... and you, my friend, are certainly that.

PunditMom said...

But what about the boys who have two parents in the home and still don't know how to treat women?

And what are we supposed to do with the first-grade boys who can't seem to be taught that it's not OK to hit or push the girls? What kind of men will they become?

Rough and tumble with other boys is one thing -- but what do we do about the boys whose aggression can't be managed, even with a dad around?

The Thinking Black Man said...

(Nice name by the way)

I don't think GUNFIGHTER was saying, or even emplying, that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a woman to raise a good and righteous man.

The point he was making, and one that I agree with 100%, is that a positive and quality father [or father figure] in a boys life is invaluable. It provides a component that ALL boys need to reach a level of positive manhood that cannot be reached by a woman alone.

Let me explain-
Single mothers raise good and decent men all the time. That is a fact - Gunfighter himself is proof of that. Mothers can teach their boys to be honest and respectful and educated and God fearing and all those wonderful things. These boys become men and they can keep these qualities and they are decent and strong. NO doubt about that.

Let me digress for a second...
Have you ever baked cookies from scratch? If the answer is yes, then you know have usually have to add like a quarter teaspoon of salt. If you don't add that salt, you will still get cookies in the end - but they will be small, hard and puffy like hard little biscuits. The salt is vital for a chemical reaction between the baking soda, baking powder, flour and sugar and egg proteins. With salt you get soft, flat, chewy cookies.

A decent Father [or father figure] is kinda' like that salt when it comes to boys. The time spent sitting on a fathers lap while being read to; The show of a Man's strength and gentleness to a boy; Seeing a father show love, respect and a willingness to sacrifce for a boys mother - these are things that a father can bring to a boy. A mother, no matter how wonderful cannot create these images and these feelings by herself. It is not the same.

A boy getting a wry nod of approval from his father for knowing the difference between an Allen wrench and a socket wrench while dad was working on the car is not the same when it comes from a mother. It is a connection between the young man and the old. It is these snapshots, these events, these lessons and thousands of others like them that allow a father to polish his sons into men.

So, God Bless the single moms! And God bless the good men they have raised! I mean that from the heart. But more men need to step up and fill the voids in some of these boys lives.

Anali said...

Great post! I don't know how I missed this before. I agree that fathers are important raising sons, but it doesn't stop there. Father's are important raising daugthers too! Father's are important! I cannot imagine not having my father in my life.

Gunfighter said...

Pundit Mom,

Everything you said was valid, and I wish I had concrete answers for them. I don't.

Having an involved dad, or two fully involved parents offers no true guarantee... some things just can't be controlled.

The point of my post is that we must all do as much as we can. As a society, we can, and certainly must do better than we are now.

Elizabeth said...

This is a good post because it's a thinking post and I certainly appreciate that.

The first time I read this I had a very long, wordy (can you imagine) comment and then I deleted it because it was reactionary. Now I have another wordy comment although I hope it's not so reactionary.

I like Punditmom's questions and I respect that those are tough questions not easily answered.

One thing I think you have to realize is that most men don't deal with young children. This has always been the case. Seven year old children are not on the male agenda. You are an anomaly in picking up your daughter.

Also, women have been telling their boy children to zip their jackets and tie their shoes and stop running for a very long time. Because you are an anomaly, you see it first hand.

Dads usually enter their children's lives, in earnest, at around 10. Maybe when your daughter is a pre-teen you'll see more dads around.

As far as I can tell, you're preaching to the choir. You have a female readership, Thinking Black Man seems to be the only male commenter. Why do you think that is?

Let's face it, you're a 'tough guy softie' and that's what most men need to be. You have to be tough but you have to be soft. It's a balance most men can't seem to come to terms with but that is what is needed for men to be good fathers. If you talk to most people who have been close to their father you'll probably hear the same description over and over again - 'he was a tough guy with a soft heart.'

Gunfighter said...


I think that most of my readers are women because my first contact with other bloggers was with Suzanne... and then many of her readers, and so on.

A great many (even most)of my friends are women.

Anonymous said...

Hey my name is Kyla and I am 19 yrs. old and I think this post is AMAZING! I COMPLETELY AGREE! We are taking ssoo much away from young men these days and it makes me sick. My boyfriend is an amazing man and he is ALL man. The right amount of tough and soft. I don't want to soften him up anymore he is enough and in the way God intended him to be. If he didn't want to get out there and get dirty and blow things up Id' be worried. Give the boys their pop guns back...give them their sling-shots..give them their cowboy hats and indian feathers. LET BOYS BE BOYS AND MEN BE MEN!!

Johnathan said...

Gunfighter, i have to say this article is the best, most articulate argument against the steady emasculation of males that i have evr read. I didn't understand that this was a problem until i had a son myself and saw what total wimps a lot of his peers were shaping up to be. Excellent work.