Much has been written about manliness and the qualities that make a man a man. It seems to be the chief preoccupation of ancient writings, as they describe what makes some men worthy of honor and others worthy of disdain. The Bible, The Iliad and Odyssey, and The Sagas of the Icelanders are all examples of ancient books telling us about manliness and how it is achieved. In the Old Testament, characters are manly because they are upright and God fearing. In the Iliad and Odyssey, characters’ manliness is judged by skills with weapons and the courage to use those skills as they lead their men into battle. In The Sagas of the Icelanders, men are weighed by the respect they command from other men.
The Timeless Question
The question “What does it mean to be a man?” is timeless, and I’m sure I couldn’t begin to answer it in one short post. Activities and attributes of men vary by whom you ask; some say hard work, others say military service; playing football, bench press max, alcohol tolerance, and number of women bedded all come up as well. None of these completely sum up manhood, and more abstract conceptions of masculinity seem to evade most modern men completely. The more I talk to my peers in America, the more I realize that traditional masculine traits, like honor, assertiveness, and self-sufficiency are wholly unfamiliar to them. They are genuinely confused by yesterday’s conception of manhood, and I can’t really blame them; feminism’s victory over Western civilization is complete for the time being. Even using the word “manliness” will be laughed at if used seriously in many crowds.
There is a branch of theology called apophatic theology that seeks to define God by defining what he is not, using negatives rather than positives to describe the deity. Applying this kind of reasoning to lost ideas of manliness is useful because we can take a machete to the parts of our culture that drag us down. Western civilization has spiraled into madness by allowing the worst instincts of masculinity and femininity to run amok, and further, most of our culture is the antithesis of manliness. Despite how difficult it is to even begin to cut through the rot of our corrupt society, there is one thing that stands out as particularly opposed to masculinity.
Being A Victim Is The Opposite Of Manliness
“Victim” implies a passivity, a sense of a person being at the mercy of circumstances. With the victim archetype dominating the Western consciousness since the Holocaust, victimhood is the raison d’être for the various “progressive” movements. Saints are made of people who have done nothing meaningful in their entire lives, with their defining moment consisting the misfortune that befalls them.
Tragedy, of course, is a prominent feature in human stories from the ancient oral traditions of primitive hunter gatherers to modern tales like Moby Dick, but there is a vast difference between those stories and the standard victim story that is trotted out daily in America. Emphasis in older stories was placed on the protagonists’ reactions to their bad luck, or the events the actions they had taken to bring the tragedies down on themselves. Modern stories always portray victims as hapless, innocent individuals at the mercy of their fates. Is quietly accepting your fate manly?
Living Under The Umbrella Of Victimhood
My grandparents lived through the Great Depression and World War II, events causing great human suffering. They told stories about my infant aunts and uncles almost dying in Hooverville conditions, going hungry for weeks, and working long days for pennies. One of my grandfathers was a hobo, jumping freight trains across America to work in construction, logging, and farming, dodging railroad bulls and the other dangers that waited for those who rode the rails. No matter what they went through, their accounts were about what they did to make the best of their bad situations, not sob stories. Nothing could be more different from the stories we hear today.
In true Newspeak style, language that was meant convey strength is used to describe weakness. Victims become heroes. Quasi-religious imagery is used to convey martyrdom. The mediocre become objects of praise. And in the end, that is what the worship of victims is about. It is to absolve everyone from responsibility, to encourage passivity, and to idealize a life of permanent inaction.
With victim hood held up as admirable, it is no surprise that establishing victim credentials is a sought-after qualification to separate oneself from the oppressors. The irony of white feminists from wealthy backgrounds claiming the victim mantle is especially absurd. The victim mentality underlies every part of the second-wave feminist philosophy, so as true victims become rarer, they do their utmost to contrive anything that proves that they are being downtrodden. As they delve deeper and deeper looking for new victims, the genuine compassion we should feel for the unfortunate is diluted. At its heart, victim worship is inherently pornographic as it allows us to revel in the pathetic. As Nietschze said, pity is really just contempt in disguise.
Passivity, powerlessness, haplessness: no matter your definition of masculinity, I doubt you would want to use these in your description of yourself. Reject the victim mentality in all of its forms. Casting yourself as a victim can feel really good, but at what price? It turns you into a mere actor buffeted by the cruel forces that surround you. Who are you to resist?
Perhaps if men collectively undertook the journey to reject the antithesis of manliness, The Victim, they would rediscover positive masculinity on the way by exploring the chasm traditional masculinity has left behind. The alternative is to feel sorry for ourselves as we fade into oblivion, the perpetual victim.
Read More: The Men’s Right Movement Is No Place For Men