Culture, Science & Faith

Masculinity: Being a Man in a 'Pajama Boy' Age

Our culture has dumbed down and feminized men for decades.

Michael Swartz · Jan. 6, 2017

One of the enduring symbols of the Obama years may be that of the “pajama boy.” In an effort to get younger people to sign up for health insurance, in December 2013 Organizing for Action tweeted out the now-infamous photo of a young hipster with the caption, “Wear pajamas. Drink hot chocolate. Talk about getting health insurance.” Whether it was a present-day indication or a sign of things to come, college-age men are now told about “toxic masculinity” and warned that “the ‘three most destructive’ words a boy can hear growing up are ‘be a man.’” In terms of biology, boys have little choice but to become men, but their behavior as such is influenced by their culture and role models.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, we were told that it was time for the first female president to break the “glass ceiling” men had created. Hillary Clinton was even set up with a heel suitable for a WWE event: an opponent in Donald Trump who made headlines from decade-old remarks about his prowess in grabbing women he desired as sexual objects — remarks that were kept on ice by the Leftmedia until they could be released to devastating effect as an October surprise.

Intentionally or not, Trump has fit himself into one of the primary stereotypes Hollywood has created for male characters — that of the boorish, bigoted cad with little redeeming social value. He’s an even less sympathetic version of Archie Bunker. When leftist Norman Lear created spinoff shows from the popular “All in the Family,” he also created similar male characters like Walter Findlay (husband of “Maude”) and George Jefferson. “Seinfeld” had a different take on this with Frank Costanza, George’s dad.

From that style of behavior, we go to another Hollywood favorite: the incompetent dad who screws everything up, leaving the female lead to solve the problems. (Think Ray Barone of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Homer Simpson or “Family Guy” Peter Griffin.) Another variation of this: the complete loser. (Think Al Bundy of the ‘80s sitcom “Married With Children.”)

A second media creation about how to “be a man” comes from the hardcore rappers who endlessly work out rhymes that call women some equivalent of the b-word or another that rhymes with “so.” (Some raunchy female artists do this, too, and then richly complain about objectification of women.) Over the years that mentality has led to millions of children born to unwed mothers who have no father in their life — meanwhile, the “baby daddy” may have several other children by multiple women. It’s the virility of being “macho” but without the virtues of decency, maturity or responsibility.

With these portrayals of fatherhood, it’s obvious our mass media celebrates an era of “girl power” that leaves younger boys as afterthoughts bereft of good role models. They can’t even pretend to be a good male Disney character anymore — the media giant hardly crafts such male role models any more.

To be an acceptable man in our culture is to have those elements as a beta male, allowing yourself to get in touch with your feelings. Being a strong male — not necessarily the John Wayne caricature, but simply a man with the mental and physical strength to be a provider, husband, family leader and thoughtful Patriot — is now frowned upon, to the lament of those who recall a time when men weren’t so “vulnerable.”

Good male role models are a requirement, though, for a boy to have the best chance at leading a happy, fulfilling life. Yes, boys can have a strong single mother and succeed — and millions have done so despite the odds being against them. But in our worldly base of knowledge that shakes its fist at tradition and insists that an enlightened few know better, we’ve devolved to living like the pajama boy.

Changing that requires much more than a new president. It requires looking past those emasculating “experts” who would tell our boys how to be men and finding good role models and mentors who do it the right way every day. Fortunately, such role models are still out there — if we would only look for them.

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