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  • Writer's pictureZebulon McCain

Musings on Masculinity

First, a big thank you to those that purchased and read my first book Ethos of Men. For those that have not, it is a politically incorrect guide to developing masculinity that examines the sociopolitical climate that men in the United States face today. The aftereffects of feminism, the dating and mating market as well as the importance of men overcoming “nice guy” syndrome, and other sensitive topics are addressed. The feedback from the first book has varied. Most that have read it have positive feedback; a few do not. I understand, some men are not in the right frame of mind to receive these messages. I am no authority on masculinity, merely an ordinary man trying to find his way and make sense of the world around us. The goal is to discover and present useful concepts, not to convert or indoctrinate men to my thinking. If you find something useful, then use it; if not, no skin off my ass.

Navigating life with any degree of success will require facing some hard truths, both about what we ourselves are made of as well as challenges we face in terms of society and politics. The concepts in the first book (and the second one Next Level Masculinity) are not intended as a personal attack against anyone, but they may be tough to digest; not out of complexity but rather because they are such a severe wake up call.

The topics of masculine awareness and development today are touchy subjects from a few different angles. For the politically correct, masculine improvement may sound anti-feminist. Women are probably uncomfortable with the topic as it is often perceived as personally threatening to females. For men, talk of masculine development could be threatening to our very own ego. Naturally, we all want to be apex males, but most guys do not want to put in any work to make progress as far as masculine improvement; they may also be in a state of denial when it comes to how society presently manipulates men. Some guys choose to disparage other men, hoping by association to appear more manly themselves. Perhaps that comforts the ego in the short term. Working toward a genuine state of confidence that allows for the uplifting of others is preferable.

Some men have anger around the nature of their reality and have adopted a bitter attitude towards women, placing most of the blame there. I recognize that there is some truth in that. Participating in a men’s group and my facilitation of a father’s support class has opened my eyes to some truly severe situations. However, my books encourage masculine improvement without the typical focus on females as the barometer for that masculinity. Of course, straight men have a tendency to desire sex and connection with women, so the books explore human mating strategies and other behaviors to help us better navigate our relationships with females (instead of the “blame the female'' perception). Blaming is not healthy in the long run, as it limits options and gives guys an excuse not to personally develop.

I prefer a different route; that of remaining inquisitive and personally “getting after it” while offering support to other men that are willing to participate in their own betterment. A man is free to do with his own life as he wishes (for the most part) but he must own the results. Some guys are truly genetically or financially gifted and fortunate in how life treats them, maybe they do not need these books. Most of us, however, will need to change our lifestyle, raise our awareness, and improve our mindset for the better in order to see success. From experience I can say that if someone wants to get to a mountaintop, start climbing. That mountaintop will not bow down and place itself under your feet. You must put in the work. Society tries to confuse us by saying that masculinity is a completely flexible concept so long as it fits neatly into the narrow construct of “new masculinity”. That bullshit is a feminized politically correct construct that is the antithesis of traditional masculine values and virtues. It seems by extension that men are now allowed to define their masculinity (or more accurately the lack thereof), but of course only within the politically correct parameters.

These books are not an endorsement of traditional patriarchy. In first world countries the circumstances that supported old fashioned patriarchy have steadily faded over the past several decades, likely never to return. Society gets wrapped up in polarity, things are often viewed in extremes. We do not need to get bogged down wishing for old fashioned patriarchy, nor do we need to kowtow to feminism or the sensitive “new masculinity.” Let us explore the third route, one of healthy skepticism of the politically correct manipulations, while educating ourselves with an emphasis on self-betterment.

The books grew out of a personal need for self-growth as well as to improve my own life situation. I condense a variety of male relevant topics into simple actionable chapters, these having been drawn from books, websites, podcasts, my observations, and personal experiences. The goal being for men to build a better life by implementing these additional lessons and ultimately growing into an even more improved, more resilient, and well-equipped man.

Masculinity is not defined by a specific career, vehicle, haircut, pay-check, tattoo, or least of all a female. The last one needs more emphasis; all too often straight guys define themselves by the nature of how they are positioned around women. Husband, pimp, father, player, are all ways to label men, but each is a term that involves females as part of the makeup of that identity. That is far too limiting in my estimation. Host of the Start the World podcast, Jack Donovan, suggests that masculinity must be the “tactical virtues” of Strength, Courage, Mastery, and Honor. These things require action on our part. No matter how much we want our weakness to be strength, it will remain weakness. Let us improve our health and become stronger instead. No matter how “nice” we behave, we will not be respected. Let us earn some damn self-respect for starters. Some guys hope that they could be courageous and “rise to the occasion” should it be necessary to engage in a physical altercation; realistically, we can only defend ourselves or another in a manner that will fall just a little short of the training we engage in. Let us train consistently thus increasing our odds of emerging successful. If we lack mastery of our trade or in our field, it must be further developed for us to thrive. More than just our work life, mastery of our framework in general life is helpful. Along with living in truth and keeping our word, all these virtues help make us more honorable and potentially into better leaders at home and outside of it. These are the primary attributes men need to this very day.

Let us focus on developing ourselves in each of those areas, more will follow.


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