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“Leave the saving of the world to the men? I don’t think so,” quipped Elastigirl in Pixar’s “The Incredibles.”
That was 2004. Since then, Helen Parr’s popular feminist maxim has come to define Hollywood’s endemic anti-man ethos. Her words seem to underlie every major entry for cinema’s largest metonym, from recent “girl-boss” movies to more male-oriented films, all of which include an obligatory nod to the superior strength, intelligence and independence of womankind.
Everywhere we look, bold, confident, self-assured females upstage passive men who recede quietly into the background. Into the basement. Into the past.
Fathers, in particular, have become the butt of every woke Hollywood jab, the bumbling, useless idiots who contribute nothing to their families or communities, but sacrifice themselves as objects of ridicule.
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Does Hollywood fear good men? Not necessarily big, bulky men with daunting physiques – those aren’t in too short supply on today’s big screen. Good men. Admirable men. Men we’d want our sons to emulate and daughters to date.
Society today seriously misunderstands masculinity. On the one hand, we love to normalize androgynous, Billy Porter-type men who sport skirts and poofy dresses. GQ’s 2019 best-dressed man, Timothée Chalamet, for example, often wears clothes that, well… let’s just say your grandfather wouldn’t have been caught dead dressed like Chalamet.
On the other hand, our favorite movies are heavily populated with brawny macho men. I should know – I made a name for myself in the industry playing a Greek half-god.
But is that really all that it takes to be a good man? No. In fact, you can work out and dress like a man’s man – ridiculing “betas” like Dylan Mulvaney and Chalamet – and still fall prey to the masculinity crisis.
In order to go out and conquer the world, men must first conquer themselves. Sadly, men today have often instead been conquered. We’ve been subdued by alcohol, drugs, video games, porn and other entertainment. The caricature of the useless man in his parents’ basement increasingly depicts real life.
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It doesn’t really matter what end of the masculinity spectrum you fall on; if you’re a victim to your own base desires, the feminist culture has won. You’re exactly the kind of wussy man they (think they) want you to be.
In reality, America today needs warriors; protectors; responsible and committed fathers. We certainly don’t need another MCU-esque superhero. We need men who will raise their kids, defend their homes, provide for their families, and serve self-sacrificially – all of which is impossible if they are dissipated and addicted to pleasure.
The call of duty to today’s man is to rise above what society and the media say he is doomed to be, becoming instead the servant leader his family and community so desperately require.
And that’s exactly the kind of man Hollywood refuses to portray.
Boys, especially, need heroes. It’s part of why storytelling has been an essential part of culture throughout history, particularly through the medium of filmmaking in this generation.
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“Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage,” wrote C. S. Lewis. “Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”
This philosophy guided Lewis’ fiction, as well as that of his friend J.R.R. Tolkien. These two legendary Oxford professors understood that boys need stories that exemplify masculine virtue, courage, honor and steadfastness.
Rather than tear men down or prop up poor examples of masculinity, Lewis and Tolkien elevated heroes of high character and impeccable chivalry.
Once again, young men are in need of that kind of role model. Enough with the impotent sitcom father figure. Enough with the brutish he-man who only abuses his strength and makes a mockery of masculinity.
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Let’s make Hollywood manly again.
It’s time for the world’s entertainment capital to reintroduce good men: men who love their wives and children, protect them, fight for what’s right, and speak up for the powerless. Men who, above all, have overcome their own selfish desires and are free to put others first.
After all, that’s the most masculine thing any man can do.
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