In the 2020s, the media and public perception towards traditional masculinity has been largely presented in negative terms. In fact, a new term has been recently coined, “toxic masculinity”. This term can be basically defined as follows: “The concept of toxic masculinity is used in academic and media discussions of masculinity to refer to certain cultural norms that are associated with harm to society and men themselves. Traditional stereotypes of men as socially dominant, along with related traits such as misogyny and homophobia, can be considered "toxic" due in part to their promotion of violence, including sexual assault and domestic violence. The socialization of boys in patriarchal societies often normalizes violence, such as in the saying "boys will be boys" about bullying and aggression.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxic_masculinity).
OK. However, there are two things I find interesting about this idea of “toxic masculinity”: 1) there appears not to be any similar associated term of “toxic femininity”. Why not? Undoubtably, a portion of women act in ways that are harmful to men, families, and society as well, such as through misandry, general negative and sexist attitudes towards men, verbal abuse, parental alienation towards fathers, etc. 2) Rarely today is the idea of “masculinity” presented in a healthy, positive fashion. Therefore, in my opinion, healthy, positive masculinity is an important thing to define and promote today to support the best, healthiest society possible.
The best definition of healthy masculinity that I am aware of is contained in the and can be taken from the 1995 Proclamation to the World. Accordingly, we learn the following about God given roles for men, along with positive masculinity (including my additional commentary):
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
*Men who seek for, commit to, and sustain marriage as an institution are demonstrating positive masculinity, in accordance with God’s will.
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
*It is important to remember that gender—including being male and demonstrating masculine, manly traits—is not a flaw or an error by God. These traits are God-given on purpose, and play an important complimentary, balancing, supportive role in marriage and family life. It is also important to note that gender differences and masculinity existed in the pre-earth life, and will continue to exist after this life as well into the eternities.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
*God the Father presented the plan of salvation, thus role modeling taking a spiritually appropriate presiding role over all of us, his spirit children. This plan included gender roles/differences, agency, and Jesus Christ providing an atonement to allow us to return to God’s presence. A man’s appropriate form of presiding over his family can be emulated here from the Father’s loving, supportive approach.
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
*Healthy masculinity includes having sex only within marriage, having children in marriage, and nurturing and caring for these children as a father. Again, our Father in Heaven has role modeled the same thing.
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
*Healthy masculinity includes all of these positive attributes listed here, including actively and consistently providing for and protecting their families, as needed.
We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
*Healthy masculinity includes striving to keep the law of chastity, not act abusive, and through fulfilling general family responsibilities.
We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
*Healthy masculinity is an important part of what makes for healthy, thriving families, which act as an important stabilizer for healthy communities and nations.
Masculinity, when shown in healthy ways, is a very positive, healthy force and influence on others, and in society in general. To learn more about healthy masculine (and feminine) traits, see: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/admiring-the-opposite-sex-209/. Please work to see and support masculinity is a positive, good, healthy fashion. Promote the best version of masculinity in yourself or the men in your life, and others will follow suit. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2022-04-23||Randy Gilchrist||Understanding men|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).