“If you look carefully, you’ll notice political and media leaders on the Left are slowly chipping away at this idea at masculinity,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said Monday night on “The Ingraham Angle.” “In other words — what it means to be a man.”
Ingraham was referencing three recent attacks on masculinity:
First, on MSNBC, Stephanie Ruhle hosted a roundtable featuring young men from Parkland, Florida, in which male stereotypes of masculinity were under full attack.
Second, Swedish preschools have been teaching boys to dance and girls to yell in order to train students to be “gender neutral,” as The New York Times reported.
And third, former President Barack Obama also caused a stir over the weekend when he said at a conference in Japan, “A lot of our problems are caused by old men.”
“He’s not exactly a spring chicken,” Ingraham said incisively of the 56-year-old former chief executive.
The Fox News host discussed the subject of masculinity with liberal political analyst Julie Alvin (pictured above right).
“I hear the Left equating masculinity with abusiveness and criminality,” Ingraham said. “When you say someone is masculine, I don’t see that. It’s OK for a man to protect, provide and defend. Most women I know like men who act in that way.”
Alvin, not surprisingly, was more in agreement with MSNBC, the Swedes, and Obama.
“These gender roles are creating an environment where men can’t express themselves,” she said.
Alvin said these roles are actually responsible for higher rates of violence, murder and suicides among men compared to women. Ingraham disagreed — saying those issues are multi-layered and complex.
“Maybe there’s a lot of societal factors there,” she said, “in drug abuse, promiscuity, shaming, substance abuse, violent video games … and family disillusion.”
With that assessment, Alvin seemed to agree. Even so, she continued to argue that masculinity in and of itself is a negative trait.
“We talk about how gender roles hold women back, but there’s also something to be discussed about how gender roles hold men back,” Alvin said. “They’re taught to not show emotion from a young age. They’re supposed to be macho and because of that, they don’t have a healthy valve when it comes to their anger, frustration or rage. Certainly, there are other factors here, but it can lead to violence, depression and self-harm, through substance abuse.”
Ingraham argued the problem may be the people who are so firmly against masculinity. They may be the ones creating a hostile environment for men.
“Maybe it’s because society is making them feel like they’re all predators,” she said. “I know a lot of guys who work in a workplace, whether it’s lawyers or businessmen, and they feel like it’s open season on them. They can’t compliment anyone. They feel like if they’re 25 and single, they can’t ask out a gal down the hallway for a drink because if they do it will be considered aggressive or abusive. It’s not easy to be a man in the current work environment.”
Alvin responded that today’s society presents challenges for women as well.
In an era of increasing political correctness, it appears the Left is ready to bludgeon masculinity out of society — while ignoring the issues men face.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, ESPN, and other outlets.