Sean Penn made waves with his comments about masculinity and femininity. The pugnacious actor, who once won an Academy Award for his portrayal of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, and who called for the imprisonment of anyone who called Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez a dictator isn’t exactly known for traditional viewpoints. Given his left-wing views, his comments that men who wear skirts have “cowardly genes,” may come as a bit of a surprise.
“I am in the club that believes that men in American culture have become wildly feminized,” Penn said in an interview with the UK publication iNews. Penn said that being fair to women did not require that men become females.
Naturally, Penn faced a huge backlash from the progressive “woke” crowd. Penn certainly isn’t the most savory character, and personally I view him as a loathsome person… but even a broken clock is right twice a day. The scales of American culture are now heavily weighted toward feminization. Such an imbalance, if left uncorrected, will cause lasting damage to our culture.
America’s feminized culture is the topic of Stephen Baskerville’s article, “Real Men Missing,” in the January issue of Chronicles Magazine. Over the years men have refused to step up to the plate and do the hard tasks that are often associated with masculinity. These include holding the line on moral issues such as illicit sexuality, profanity, and dishonesty, and showing true leadership in the family, workplace, and community. “American conservative men are now harvesting the fruits of [their] passivity,” Baskerville writes, as women have stepped in to fill the places of power that they have abdicated out of cowardice or indifference.
The feminization of society has changed all of us in subtle ways. Most immediately, it has rendered us susceptible to mass hysteria over the COVID pandemic that we have experienced over the last two years. Hysteria, any politically incorrect doctor will tell you, is a specifically feminine complaint. But hysteria is not limited to women these days. On the contrary, women seem to be among the most level-headed and skeptical of the overblown virus fear-mongering. My point is, that the reign of feminine characteristics over societal norms has encouraged men to adopt feminine values and to forego masculine ones. (Emphasis added.)
We see this adoption of feminine values most notably today in the men who wear dresses or join the women’s swim team under the guise of transitioning to females. Though it is only in recent years that we are seeing full-blown gender-swapping madness, the breakdown of masculinity Baskerville writes about has been brewing under the surface of American society for many years.
The feminist agenda has long pushed equality for women, encouraging them to leave the home and their husbands and children—both temporarily for work and sometimes permanently via divorce—to climb the corporate ladder, to be bold and brash, not giving an inch to the “evil” men in their lives who—or so the ideology goes—would otherwise push them around. Yet the feminist quest of equality seems to result in inequality for men. The imbalance negatively affects families, churches, schools, communities, and almost every other facet of society.
A fix may not be so easy, however, as those of us who have long recognized this problem can attest. Baskerville admits that it is a tall order to restore masculinity in a feminized society. But he offers a couple of reasonable actions, one of which goes directly to repairing the foundation of our society, the family.
Marriage must be an enforceable legal contract, conferring parental rights and authority and the devious oxymoron of ‘no-fault’ divorce forever expunged from the law. Men must know that if they marry and keep their vows within specified terms, they have reasonable rights and authority over their children, which the state must enforce.
The passage of such a law seems unrealistic today, however. But let’s start small. What if each of us adjusted our view of marriage to its original purpose, a lifelong commitment designed to nurture and raise the next generation, rather than something that can be entered and exited on a whim?
This would put us on the path toward restoring the institution of the family as society’s most basic building block, or as Edmund Burke put it, the “little platoons” of our society. When we have these little platoons in good working order a well-functioning society will follow.