EVERYONE KNOWS THE STORY of the 1912 sinking of the R. M. S. Titanic. The great ship hit and iceberg and began to break up. However, there weren’t enough lifeboats to save the 1,317 passengers, so a triage question arose. Who should be saved?
Many wealthy and prominent men were aboard the Titanic. The list included notables like John Jacob Astor, Isidore Strauss, owner of Macys, movie stars, and professional athletes. One thing was fixed in every male mind. Masculinity protects women and children, even at the expense of its own life. So, the shout went out and circulated rapidly. “Women and children first!” Only after the women and children were cared for would a masculine man occupy an empty remaining seat. The result? 74% of the women and 52% of the children were saved, but only 20% of the men survived. It was a rare moment. It displayed the best of masculinity.
The male instinct to protect is rooted in biology. A first evidence comes from the behavior of animals. One day I put my four-year-old grandson on my shoulder and set off to inspect the neighbor’s chickens. He owned about twenty-five, and on nice days the owner let them out to rut and scratch in the field for bugs and seeds. I knew my four-year-old grandson would be fascinated, so I put him on my shoulders and headed off towards the chicken pen.
We approached the busy flock across and open field, but as we drew near the rooster, about twice the size of the largest hen, approached me and strategically inserted himself between myself and the hens, assuming a menacing pose. His body language said, “If you want to get to my hens you’ll have to go through me. I am their defender.” Watching him I marveled that the feminist culture warriors could be so certain that the male instinct to protect and defend has no biological basis, that it is strictly cultural. One thing was obvious.
The rooster hadn’t picked up this behavior from culture.
The modern world, however, is unintentionally inhibiting this masculine instinct. Many men are moving in the opposite direction. Why? It has to do with a phenomenon familiar to manufacturers and marketers called “gender contamination.” “Men, apparently, don’t want to buy stuff strongly associated with women.” That is because men have an intense desire to separate from all things female. Anthropologists have noted that, throughout history, most male rites of passage involve separating from mothers, sisters, and women in general. From time immemorial, “to become a man,” writes sociologist, Steven Nock, “a boy must differentiate himself from his mother and deny the mother-child unity of infancy.” He must leave the women and join the men.
Gender contamination is a marketing phenomenon that follows this logic. Men will refuse to buy a product if it is associated primarily with women. They are not against women. They love women. They just don’t want to be one. They don’t want to be girly. They want to be masculine. Therefore, to market to men, deodorant manufacturers must rebrand a product with a masculine name and smell. To get men to buy diet drinks, typically associated with women, cola manufacturers will advertise that only masculine men buy and drink it. When Porsche, a sports car traditionally marketed to men, came out with an SUV, their male customers revolted. Soccer moms drive SUVs, especially when supplied with numerouis cup holders. They weren’t happy. Gender contamination was the issue. Porsche had to rethink their approach or risk losing loyal male customers.
This principle also applies to the male drive to protect. In the last three decades, to appease the feminists, we have recruited women to fill protector roles traditionally reserved for males in all cultures throughout all of human history. For example, females now fill crucial roles in our fire departments, police departments, and most egregiously, in combat arms. Women fly fighter aircraft, command Navy Destroyers, and serve in front line infantry units.
THE BIG PICTURE
We should be thinking of bigger picture issues. Throughout history all cultuires have taught their men to avoid physically fighting with women and also to avoid competing with them face to face. Rather than competing we train our men to protect and defend women and children.
Cultures do this because the opposite is disasterous for females. Women cannot compete physically with men. When men begin to think of women, not as treasures to protect, but as physical competitors, then conflict occurs, and obviously, the female will be the loser to the larger, stronger, more aggressive male.
This is how we objectify women when we hire them to serve in the State Patrol, local police, and military combat arms. It sends a message There is no difference. Women are not to be defended and protected. They are competitors. Dominate them. Treat them like men. Use them whenever possible. This is a message we will ultimately regret.
In addition, because of “gender contamination” to the degree that defending and protecting becomes “women’s work” many men will move in the opposite direction. When women defend men, the latter are emasculated. There is no other way to say it. Men that feel emasculated will retreat from the meaningful social responsibility of defending women and children.
This is the last thing we want. No culture will survive this long term. Not only does it destroy the give and take between the sexes, but it also weakens our ability to defend ourselves. How will a U.S. military dominated by politically correct women compete with a Chinese military dominated by traditionally aggressive men?
Steven Nock, Marriage in Men’s Lives, (New York: Oxford, 1998) pg. 45