Raising Soft Boys ‘Does Not Create Good, Strong Men’

On 'The Ingraham Angle' on Monday night, a weighty discussion about the way society is going after 'toxic masculinity' today

Image Credit: iStock Photo

“The Ingraham Angle” on Monday night invited psychologist and masculinity specialist Dr. Edward Adams to discuss today’s so-called toxic masculinity, given that the American Psychological Association (APA) recently issued new guidelines declaring traditional masculinity to be “harmful.”

“If we can change men, we can change the world,” said one of the psychologists involved in drafting the new guidelines.

Adams insisted to host Laura Ingraham on Monday night, “It is a fallacy to say that traditional masculinity is under attack … Traditional masculinity is under construction and improvement.”

He stressed that the male roles of provider and protector are essential aspects of traditional masculinity. And he said men’s suppression of emotion and their feeling compelled to “go it alone” in so many ways are aspects of traditional masculinity that could benefit from some finetuning.

Related: Traditional Masculinity Is Declared ‘Harmful’ in New Mental Health Guidelines

But CRTV host Allie Beth Stuckey, also a guest on the program, said the crux of the matter is “how much of that is truly cultural and needs to be changed and under construction — and how much of it is biological.”

“[Classic masculinity] just needs to be honed and trained in a different way … All of these characteristics we’re talking about that are inherently negative — not being as emotional, being more independent, being tougher — yes, they can lead to negative things. But that’s also … what makes men strong.”

She said she feared that “we’re going to start raising soft boys. And raising soft boys does not create good, strong men.”

Adams replied, “What we’re trying to do is not change men, but expand men.”

“Men, as we know, suffer high rates of suicide, depression, anxiety for a lot of reasons,” noted Ingraham, noting the loss of blue-collar jobs as one potential contributor.

“Women have so-called toxicity, too,” Stuckey said. “It’s about raising good men and women to be responsible adults.”

The segment comes in the context of a startling new video from Gillette — which has garnered a prickly reception on social media. The video goes after toxic masculinity and embraces the #MeToo movement.

“As a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address [the conversations about masculinity] and take action of our own,” said Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette brand director for North America, in a statement to The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

“We are … aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is not an excuse. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our ‘best’ together,” the statement continued.

In light of all of this, Gillette is donating $1 million a year for the next three years to nonprofits that are “executing the most interesting and impactful programs designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal best,” says a statement on the company’s website. Boys & Girls Clubs of America is the first recipient.

The company insists that today, “men are not at their best” — and that major changes are necessary.

Some customers are so offended they are vowing to cut ties with parent company Proctor & Gamble.

“As a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man,” the company continued. “From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette — in the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more.”

In a short video called “We Believe,” pensive men and boys are shown gazing into mirrors as news reports about the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment, and bullying are played in the background.

A narrator warns that such behavior “has been going on far too long” — and that men must stop “making the same old excuses.”

“We believe in the best in men to say the right thing, to act the right way,” the video also says. It shows men intervening on behalf of others — presumably in the “protector” role.

“I am a woman who uses Gillette razors and this even bothers me.”

One social media user notably posted about the video, “I am a woman who uses Gillette razors and this even bothers me.”

See this video — then the tweets below. And share your thoughts.


Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

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