Corporate Media’s Feigned Concern For The Crisis Of Masculinity Obscures Much Darker Motives


Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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Christine Emba, an opinion columnist at the Washington Post, published a rambling social assessment of masculinity in modern America. Shockingly, she conceded conservatives are right — there is in fact a crisis of masculinity that only the right is addressing. But her anti-woke admirers miss that she is less concerned with men being unwell than she is with maladjusted men undermining the “common good” of a liberal utopia.

To her credit, Emba makes some valid points that, despite being wholly uncontroversial among normal Americans, seem brave when uttered among other progressive elites. (RELATED: The Left’s War On Masculinity Is Destroying Western Civilization)

She acknowledges that men do face serious challenges in modern society, and that few, if any, institutional, educational or cultural resources are devoted to helping overcome them. She concedes that feminist narratives demonize men, who rightfully feel alienated when their problems are dismissed “as whining from a patriarchy that they don’t feel part of.” Biologically driven male traits are not inherently “toxic,” but are overly “stifled” rather than productively “harnessed.”

Prominent social scientist Richard Hanania — not quite a conservative, but a moderate against wokeness — declared the piece a sign that “woke is in retreat.” However, he seems to have fallen for Emba’s bait and switch.

Emba’s distress over rudderless men is mostly a function of how their condition affects women. She wants men to embrace a masculinity that suits the needs of (liberal) women — “that women I know find attractive but often can’t seem to find at all.” While she admits that masculinity should be “neither neutral nor interchangeable with femininity,” her primary concern is that men will fall into conservative commentators’ pit of “resentment and radicalization.”  

What conservatives offer is “dire news for social equality” and diminishes the pool of suitable partners for women. She laments that in the “mainstream reluctance” to address men’s issues, they fall under the spell of undesirables like Jordan Peterson, Andrew Tate and Bronze Age Pervert. Emba prefers to look for a “new model for masculinity” that is both “appealing to young men and socially beneficial.” Conservative toxicity, she argues, inhibits the necessary evolution of the masculine ideal. 

It does not matter that she had some good things to say about masculine influencers on the right. Emba praises their “empathy,” “point-by-point advice” and use of “particular” male traits — strength, competitiveness, sex drive —  as an “aspirational” tool. Yet she does this merely to establish the credibility she needs to then reject their prescriptions wholesale. 

For Emba, “the right-wing vision of masculinity runs off the rails” when it embraces these traits too forcefully. Although hyper-vigilant for transgressions, she remains ambivalent about where exactly the threshold lies: “Much of the content in the online men’s space is misogyny masquerading as being simply pro-male, advocating a return to a strict hierarchy in which a particular kind of man deserves to rule over everyone else. Decent advice becomes an on-ramp to darker viewpoints: You can get from Tate urging his followers to work hard to his announcing that women are property within seconds.”

With this critique comes the built in assumption that male-female relations — both individually and at the societal level — are a zero-sum game of power politics. If men again embrace some of the biologically driven traits that have been stifled, it will necessarily result in misogyny. If men embrace their assertiveness, it means women will necessarily be relegated to “submissive” roles, accepting that “male dominance is the natural order of things.”

This is integral to the modern feminist worldview. Femininity must embrace the productive elements of masculinity in the name of female advancement while simultaneously dictating the bounds of acceptable masculinity. Emba sees nothing to learn from gender relations of the past, despite women being increasingly unhappy since the 1970s even as the gains from the feminist movement multiplied. (RELATED: Apparently We Needed A Study To Tell Us That When Men Don’t Work They Get Pathetic)

Just because women embrace traditional feminine virtue doesn’t mean they succumb to a social role less than men. All it means is accepting that men and women are different — inherently through biology, which then shapes the process of socialization — and that those roles complement each other naturally. Would anyone really say that a 1970s housewife raising, feeding, and nurturing four children had a “lesser” social role in providing for the family than her husband? The idea that feminine traits are inherently “less than” because they lead to certain social roles is a feminist invention, and is itself, quite misogynistic.

There is obvious truth in Emba’s diagnosis, but her prescription is much more nefarious. In fact, she does not seem to have any idea what her “pro-social” masculinity would even look like in practice. And she totally ignores the the reality that a societal embrace of traditional masculinity would likely require a societal embrace of femininity as well.

What this disingenuous screed effectively turns into is a self-indulgent hit piece on both conservative and traditional notions of masculinity. Though her op-ed is rambling, her intentions are clear enough. Emba wants men to be manly, but not manly enough to threaten the bounds of progressive feminist dogma. She wants to have her cake and eat it too.