Return of the Guy
Charlotte Allen says that manhood is back in fashion.

Now, after September 11, we are all changed, and all this, like so many other confident predictions of the future has ended. We don’t hear much about the angry white males these days, or the supposedly alienated military. One of the best pieces of news comes from the U.S. Department of Justice. In early October, just a few weeks after the terrorist attack, the department abruptly announced that it was dropping its support of a four-year-old sex-discrimination lawsuit brought by women who claimed that a running test for Philadelphia’s transit police was unfair to female applicants.

The transit authority requires its officers to be able to run a mile and a half in twelve minutes-essential for chasing suspects up and down subway steps. Yes. We want them to be in top shape in order to halt and deter underground crime. We want our firefighters to be able to carry victims out of harm’s way in their arms if need be, and our soldiers to be able to go hand to hand against a murderous enemy…

Sometimes, perhaps most of the time, those are jobs that only a guy can do, and if we lower our standards because some women may feel bad about not living up to them, it is going to cost lives. It took an act of monstrous criminality to show us this, but we now know that the crisis of masculinity is over and some of the worst excesses of affirmative action may be over. We’ve come to appreciate that there’s nothing like a guy.
~Winter 2002

Testosterone Power
Andrew Sullivan takes on the long-held notion that sexual identity is social construct.

I always have believed and still do in the rights of women to be in any field of activity they want on equal terms with men insofar as they can do the same job as a man can and vice versa. But I don’t want to deny the reality that men and women are different and the data on the subject is enormous and fascinating and utterly ignored.

Many feminists have made tenacious arguments about the lack of any substantive physical or mental differences between men and women. You can understand why, of course-for too long, girls and women were second-class citizens. But a visit to any college campus today will show you how far we have come from those pernicious days. Now, arguably we are seeing the crisis of the male.

If we continue to deny the male identity, we will not be able to provide proper education for noble and virtuous manhood. The word virtue springs from the Latin word vir-man-partly because of the sexism of the ancients, but nevertheless, this etymology shows that virtue meant being a man well, knowing how to be a good man.

Perhaps to some extent we are right to demonize manhood-it’s a very worrying thing, it tends to be often very aggressive, dysfunctional, unable to communicate; we all know the problems that men have. But we must start from understanding that men have problems and advantages and then construct a system of education and virtue which allows us to become better men-what they used to call “gentlemen.”

The essential educational task is to accept one’s nature but to want to improve it. . . . Being a noble woman will not be the same as being a noble man; though we share an enormous amount in common, there are some things that will never be the same.
~Summer 2000