Men and manhood are under attack in our culture. The phrase “toxic masculinity” is tossed around indiscriminately to describe any negative behavior associated with men and often used to define manhood and denigrate men.
Dr. Nancy Pearcey, noted apologist on the faculty of Houston Christian University, has written an important new book challenging these assertions. Her book, The Toxic War on Masculinity, is an outstanding rebuttal to the mythology, dubious claims, and outright lies about men and manhood that are pervasive today. She rests her arguments on data gathered from legitimate studies at major universities and historical analysis vetted by secular and religious leaders. By sharing the personal aspects of her negative experiences with men, she lends additional credibility to her ultimate conclusions. Rather than extrapolate her experiences into supposedly universal insights, she uses them to motivate her search for truth. That’s a refreshing approach from an academic leader honestly following the facts, not fostering her own agenda.
As the title suggests, Dr. Pearcey believes the war on masculinity—not men or manhood—is the most toxic aspect of this issue. She explains how the concept of “toxic masculinity” developed and why perpetuating the concepts associated with it is essential for people committed to social re-engineering the concept of manhood. The war on masculinity is more toxic to our culture than the impact of masculine men.
One refreshing (and sobering) insight in this book is the reporting of studies which show the impact of religious faith on stability in marriage. Men who demonstrate religious commitments (defined as regular church attendance) have the lowest divorce rates—decidedly lower than secular men. But men who are nominal religious adherents (claim a religious faith but do not practice it) have the highest divorce rate of all—even greater than secular men. Nominally committed men, who are often held up as negative examples of toxic masculinity, make it seem like religiosity leads to toxicity. The studies show real religious commitment does not, but nominal commitment does.
This book is an essential resource for men, people who work with men, and for mothers of boys. Its insights and information are useful for shaping men’s ministries, marriage training, and parenting strategies for mothers (and fathers) of boys. We need helpful resources like this to counter the deluge of misinformation about men, manhood, and masculinity. Reading this book will make you a better man, and help you make better men as well.
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