Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Desiring God" Goes Full Toxic Masculinity

Plastic forks. Image source.
What even is this? This article from Desiring God, Grooming the Next Generation, like, what on earth? It's a response to the backlash about Gillette's advertisement about how men should fight against toxic masculinity. And it's ... wow it's bad.

The writer, Greg Morse, says there are actually TWO TYPES of "toxic masculinity." One is what people typically think of as "toxic masculinity"- about how it's normal for men to be violent and sexually harass women and so on. Morse says yes we need to fight against this. But he also says there's a second type of "toxic masculinity"- where men are ... uh... how to even define what he is talking about? I'll just quote from the article:
Too often we swing from decrying chauvinism and abuse to producing a society of plastic forks, nonfat lattes, and men who don’t mind going to church because of the free babysitting. When our children look at men today — the kind in television shows, homes, and the classroom — what do they see? What is this masculinity of tomorrow we are all concerned with?

Manicured Manhood

Just having returned from a visit to “the greatest place on earth,” my wife and I were shocked at how many men boldly acted like women. Lispy sentences, light gestures, soft mannerisms, and flamboyant jokes were everywhere to be seen — on display for a park flooded with children. No hiding it. No shame. No apologizing. This perversion of masculinity warranted no commercials.
... what?


Morse thinks it's ... bad... that some men are ... "lispy" and "flamboyant" and use plastic forks? What? What on earth? The plastic forks actually appear 3 times in this article. What on earth is Morse's obsession with plastic forks and how they are apparently not manly? What?

Why are plastic forks not manly? I'm so confused. And Morse claims he is promoting "biblical masculinity." Where in the bible does it mention plastic forks?

And okay, what Morse is really saying here is it's bad when men act in ways that are typically seen as "queer." He's horrified that such behavior is "on display for a park flooded with children. No hiding it. No shame." Oh god what on earth even is this? Why should people be ashamed about expressing themselves and being who they are? Why does Morse think that's inappropriate for kids to see?

You know what? Queer men are courageous as hell. Men who ignore these rules about how "real men" shouldn't do this or that, shouldn't use plastic forks- men who don't care about that but instead just be themselves- that's courageous. Why on earth would it be a good thing if a man is like "I wish I could wear pink/ paint my nails/ have a nonfat latte but then people would make fun of me and take away my man card"? Why does Morse want men to be ashamed?

And then it gets worse:
Instead, our society celebrates what Paul calls literally “soft men” (Greek malakoi), a group that will not enter the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). And discomfort at this will-not-inherit-the-kingdom version of manliness is exactly a symptom of what the APA finds malignant in traditional manhood. But as much as the APA and LGBTQs protest it as hate speech, the effeminate shall not enter the kingdom of God, and it is unloving not to say so.
HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THIS? Like I knew Desiring God is extremely anti-queer, but like, WOW. Wow this is messed-up.

(For those of you following along at home, yes, this is hate speech. Also, unloving. AND ALSO, mocking men who don't act "manly" enough, as Morse does here, IS TOXIC MASCULINITY. And also, I find his clear disdain for "acting like women" extremely misogynistic.)

Throughout the article, Morse makes it clear that he's not saying men shouldn't be gentle. He says yes, it is good and masculine for men to be gentle and compassionate. But he says it's bad when men are "passive, complacent, spiritually and emotionally frail", "soft, fragile, weak, or effeminate". Why on earth he thinks these qualities have anything to do with one's gender presentation or plastic forks is BEYOND ME.

I gotta say, my favorite part of the article is this:
And too many classrooms that celebrate this perversion act as accomplices to confusing the boys (and girls) of today.
What is it with conservatives claiming that if people don't fit gender stereotypes and/or are queer, it's "confusing" to children? In reality, it's... not actually confusing? You know what's confusing? I'm actually still stuck on the whole "plastic forks" thing. Whyyyyyyyyy are plastic forks not manly? What is that all about? What does Greg Morse do when he's at a barbecue and wants to eat potato salad? I want to know!!! Why should people be limited in what they can do and what they can wear- limited by their genital shape, of all things? Now THAT'S confusing.

This article is ... wow it's really something else. It's an absurd, nonsensical mix of gender roles, misogyny, queermisia, and just generally being an unloving jerk. It claims to be about "biblical masculinity" but is actually about modern American Christians' stereotypes about what is and isn't "manly." None of it even makes sense at all!

Long ago, when I was a good evangelical, I respected Desiring God and saw them as a good godly resource of correct beliefs. I bought into complementarian and anti-queer ideology. So I understand where they're coming from- but wow, I can't even make sense of this article. It's bizarre. It makes ridiculous claims about how men are supposed to be, without even trying to support those claims. As if it's self-evident (and biblical!) why plastic forks are unmanly and there's no need to explain. Like... what?


Feminism 101: Toxic Masculinity and Fragile Masculinity
I'm a woman, and God created me to do math and build robots
BREAKING NEWS: Purity Culture Adherents Completely Miss the Point
Don't Invite Anybody From 'Desiring God' to Your Funeral

No comments:

Post a Comment