Are Today’s Men Uniquely Emasculated and Weak? Or is Today’s Gender Liberalism a Continuation of Old Trends? My Thoughts on This Debate

This post was prompted by this abomination of an article that I recently read. (Hat tip: Roosh V)

If one were to read various manosphere and alternative right blogs, one might think that today’s Western Man is uniquely  wimpy, unmanly, or to use manosphere lingo, “beta.” Too many years of peace and plenty, combined with cultural marxist programming have rendered today’s men soft and lacking in mettle, so the argument goes. One of the main missions of the manosphere is to inculcate in men more masculine attitudes and beliefs, which men will then use to combat their toxic mainstream programming. Such laments that modern men are weak and pathetic are not the sole domain of 21st century manosphere blogs. The famous Russian novelist and traditionalist, the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (whose book The Gulag Archipelago I intend to eventually review), decried the West’s lack of courage (ie. manliness) during his 1978 commencement speech at Harvard.

I admit that I have subscribed to such beliefs to an extent, and would frequently envision a golden age of manliness where Western men were dominant in their behavior. However, recent reading has forced me to challenge this notion. As of late, I’ve been reading a book called Arab Historians of the Crusades by Francesco Gabrieli. The book contains primary sources on the Crusades from contemporary Arab and Muslim historians, scholars, and observers. Sooner or later, I will write about the book from more of a historical perspective. However, for now, I find myself fascinated with the observations of Usama ibn Munqidh, the amir of Shaizar and cultured individual who detailed various encounters with European Christians in his memoirs. His thoughts on Western Man’s behavior towards his women are especially fascinating:

“The Franks are without any vestige of a sense of honour and jealousy. If one of them goes along the street with his wife and meets a friend, this man will take the woman’s hand and lead her aside to talk, while the husband stands by waiting until she has finished her conversation. If she takes too long about it he leaves her with the other man and goes on his way.”

In his mind, they were not controlling or protective enough of their women. Usama was particularly astounded by their lack of marital rage, as illustrated by the anecdote of a Frankish wine merchant who caught his wife cheating (bold emphasis mine):

“the man returned home one day and found a man in bed with his wife. ‘What are you dong here with my wife?’ he demanded. ‘I was tired,’ replied the man, ‘and so I came in to rest.’ ‘And how do you come to be in my bed?’ ‘I found the bed made up, and lay down to sleep.’ ‘And this woman slept with you, I suppose?’ ‘The bed,’ he replied, ‘is hers. How could I prevent her getting into her own bed?’ ‘I swear if you do it again I shall take you to court!’ – and this was his only reaction, the height of his outburst of jealousy!”

To drill the point home, Usama describes the experience of a bath attendant named Salim. A Frankish knight, upon having his pubic hair shaved (yes, I know how gay this part of the passage sounds, but bear with me) by Salim, and finding that he enjoyed his newly shaved privates, had the most perplexing of requests:

“‘Salim, you must certainly do the same for my Dama.’ In their language Dama means lady, or wife. He sent his valet to fetch his wife, and when they arrived and the valet had brought her in, she lay down on her back, and he said to me: ‘Do to her what you did to me.’ So I shaved her pubic hair, while her husband stood by watching me. Then he thanked me and paid me for my services.”

The implication, of course, is that no Muslim man in his right mind would ever allow another man, particularly an infidel, to gaze upon his wife’s sexuality, much less touch or handle her privates. To add to Usama’s amazement, he still couldn’t help but respect European courage and prowess, in spite of these odd behaviors:

“You will observe a strange contradiction in their character: they are without jealousy or a sense of honour, and yet at the same time they have the courage that as a rule springs only from the sense of honour and readiness to take offence.”

Such a strange contradiction indeed. These European warriors could hardly be described as weak, unmanly, or “beta.” They fought grueling and intense battles against the military forces of the East, trekked across unforgiving deserts, and breached great cities. They had more courage and fortitude in their fingers than the overwhelming majority of modern Westerners have in their entire bodies. And yet, they displayed behavior that was derided as too indulgent towards women, and lacking in “honor.” What can account for this? Well, for starters, as Dota pointed out in a guest post over at Robert Lindsay’s blog, “honor” carries significantly different meanings in Western and Eastern contexts. Yes, he was specifically discussing South Asia, but such observations can be applied to Arabs and the Middle East as well. Westerners derive honor from ethics, and the Christians of the time most likely summoned their courage from their intense piety and devotion to their faith. This isn’t wild speculation, as Usama also mentioned that he was deeply moved by the passion and dedication of Christian worshippers, and for some time was ashamed of the relative lack of piety and devotion among Muslims.

That aside, this recent reading challenges two hallowed myths of both the manosphere right and feminist left. The Franks demonstrated behavior towards women that might be construed as “beta,” and yet not even the harshest of manosphere writers could question their manly credentials. Such “beta” behavior has always been prevalent among Western men to an extent, and isn’t purely the result of modern corruption. The same applies to feminists, modern liberals, and other critics of Western heritage such as Stephen Walt, who described Christian Europe as practicing “patriarchy of the worst sort.” Are the types of men who behave in the manner described above really capable of inflicting “patriarchy of the worst sort” on women? Most likely not. The kind of tolerance and indulgence towards women as documented by Usama jibes with Kevin MacDonald’s assertion that Western women enjoy relatively high position, in large part because of imposed monogamy on men.

To answer the question of whether or not Western men today are uniquely weak, excessively kind towards women, or simply a continuation of an ancient Western European tradition would require much more time and research. For now, I’m interested in inspiring debate. I personally believe that while today’s West is decadent and culturally corrupted, I also don’t think that all manifestations of modern gender egalitarianism can be attributed to the past four decades or Jewish influence, and recognize that the West has long harbored egalitarian sentiments with regards to gender.

What do you guys think?

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11 Responses to Are Today’s Men Uniquely Emasculated and Weak? Or is Today’s Gender Liberalism a Continuation of Old Trends? My Thoughts on This Debate

  1. WmarkW says:

    Whether or not Western men have actually changed, our image of the ideal man has. We see this in today’s top film stars, Affleck, Pitt, Cruise, who seem almost gender-neutral. Film stars of the past, Gable, Bogart, Grant, Wayne, Connery, Eastwood, Nicholson, just oozed masculinity.

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      @ Mark

      That’s a very good point.

      I do think that many manosphere types are too quick to engage in evo psych reductionism, just as white nationalist types love to reduce various differences among racial groups to HBD.

      I think that humans are very malleable, and that culture and upbringing play a significant role in how we act.

      Just look at Scandinavians. Many in the manosphere and elsewhere deride them as a bunch of metrosexual fags, and yet these are the people who once gave the world Vikings.

      Another example is men crying. Today, men who cry are ridiculed and told to toughen up, and yet Saladin, the great Kurdish Muslim military leader who expelled the Franks from Jerusalem, was frequently described as being moved to tears by passages in the Quran. In order to illustrate his generosity, his contemporary biographer also described him as crying upon hearing a Frankish woman’s story of her little girl being kidnapped by Muslim slave raiders. And his biographer was not judgmental in the slightest about his crying.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those “all differences are social constructs!” types. Hardly. I just think that one cannot divorce human behavior from its cultural and social contexts.

  2. RunswithScissors says:

    Another issue that manosphere types tend to neglect concerns positive male (and masculine) role models. While the Jezebel crowd does everything it can to paint any kind of traditionally masculine behavior as psychopathic and brutish, many men–around the neighborhood and in the media–seem to do their best to live up to Jezebels stereotypes.

    You know the type: physically fit, cocksure but utterly ignorant and if not completely stupid, at least juvenile–well into their late 20s, 30s and even 40s.

    I’ll leave out the obvious example of hip hop personas because I think we’re talking about Whites males here (and also the lefty crowd is pretty mum on dusty knuckledraggers, as knuckledragging as they may be). But most of us should be familiar with the douchebro type.

    This is the contemporary image of masculinity in North America.

    As Wade so astutely pointed out, the ideal of masculinity has changed. No longer is that quality associated with mettle, competence, forthrightness and control. No, now it’s associated with a mouth-breathing pack-hunting half-ape (still talking about crackers, btw).

    When you’re a kid growing up who has at least a bit of smarts and interest in learning, you don’t exactly aspire to be a douchebro.

    But that leaves a void. What do you emulate then? Those behaviors condoned by your likely feminist teacher.

    Birth of the Beta.

    And another thing…


    • Bay Area Guy says:

      @ Runswithscissors

      I think you illustrated the problem perfectly. A lot of respectful, non-douchebro men have to basically deal with a bit of a bait and switch. They’re raised by their parents, teachers, and society to be respectful, nice, dignified, etc…Only to then find out that women lust after Christian Grey types of men.

      To me, it’s no coincidence that many manosphere types (ex. Roosh, M3) were former nice guys/respectful men. Even though they have achieved success when it comes to getting laid or finding a girlfriend, you can still tell from their writing that they harbor a lot of anger and resentment over their pasts, and one can’t blame them.

      To find out that you’ve been lied to for most of your life can be a bitter pill to swallow (hence the overplayed “taking the red pill” Matrix analogy that the manosphere likes to use).

      And another thing…

      THE JOOZ!

      Haha. I do think that white nationalists tend to overplay the role of Jews in corrupting Western societies. My take is that these liberal, egalitarian tendencies have always been prevalent, and can be traced back to this country’s Protestant/Puritan roots. It’s just that Jews have successfully exploited these trends in order to further their own tribal interests.

      That being said, I find it interesting that the rise of Jewish power (which has exploded ever since the 60s) coincides with the overall decay of American society. Somehow that can’t entirely be a coincidence.

      • Batterytrain says:

        I don’t think there is any underestimation of Jewish role in the corrosion of Western societies; if you look at the Warburgs, Rotschilds and the influential role they played in setting up the federal reserve and the gangster like political system that runs the levers in the Americans political system then that hostility is warranted. Jews have been also financing various wars worldwide since the medieval ages, and the stain runs so deep that they have this entire talmudic network of drugs/contraband smugglers that go around the entire world shipping all kinds of problems and excrement globally. I feel like Israel is just a front and a private army for this worldwide Zionist global network, since the necessity of a private army and force came into being for these elite zionist Jews when their banking dynasties erupted, so Tel-Aviv is just a front and launching pad for these people to run around the world to enforce their private body.

        I should mention how the Jews owned most of the docking yards, ships, transportation and housing for African slaves and how they forced them into Western societies against the will of the majority of Europeans but that is just the tip of the iceberg. This people just create problems and chaos worldwide and wherever they go and the world would be better off if every single warburg/Rotschild genetic seed and strand was wiped of the face of the planet.

      • RunswithScissors says:

        “That being said, I find it interesting that the rise of Jewish power (which has exploded ever since the 60s) coincides with the overall decay of American society. Somehow that can’t entirely be a coincidence.”

        Organized Joory is pernicious, for sure. While my experience with assimilated Jews has been fine, my interactions with older Jews and Jews who have been brought up to be Jewish rather than American or Canadian has not. These people carry on like their living in some Shtetl under the immediate threat of some Cossack attack–when in fact they live in one the richest areas of the city, go to a private school in which they voluntarily segregate themselves from society and argue for a foreign and immigration policy purely and explicitly from a Jew (or Israel)-first Country-second mentality. The neurotic paranoia of these people is astounding. They can’t ever seem to see why constantly denigrating or ignoring the interests of the majority while forcing their views on others then hiding behind the veil of anti-antisemitism at even the slightest criticism of said views and aims could possibly cause others to feel less than sympathetic towards them. I mean, I though they were supposed to have high IQs!

        Many of these people seem to hold the mentality that White Euro Goy Americans are a hate law and diversity training session away from turning into goose-stepping gestapo. It’s almost entirely lost on them just how good America has been to the Jews.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        Many of these people seem to hold the mentality that White Euro Goy Americans are a hate law and diversity training session away from turning into goose-stepping gestapo. It’s almost entirely lost on them just how good America has been to the Jews.


        Aside from modern Israel and ancient Jewish kingdoms, I cannot think of a single state that is more philo-Semitic than the United States.

        I forget who said this, but I recall reading a comment somewhere that said something to the effect that if there is indeed an anti-Semitic backlash in the United States, Jews will only have themselves to blame. If they incur the wrath of the majority in a society as tolerant and pro-Jewish as the United States, then they will have brought it on themselves.

        Even though he’s a bit goofy and loony, Brother Nathanael put it best when he said that the problem with Jews is that they always have to foment, they always have to criticize, they always have to revolutionize. They cannot just settle down and live as normal people.

        What’s funny is that Jews should be careful what they wish for with regard to the “browning of America.” Based on anecdotal experiences and observation, non-whites at best see Jews as an especially privileged segment of white America. At worst, they dislike them as Jews.

        They won’t give two shits about holocaust guilt or Israel.

  3. Beatrix says:

    You may also be interested to read Ahmad ibn Fadlan’s 10th century account of his travels to visit the Volga Bulgar Khan.
    Ibn Fadlan served as secretary to an ambassador from the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir of Baghdad on a mission in 921 to explain Islamic law to the recently converted Volga Bulgars- (Ibn Fadlan was previously a faqih in the court of Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir).
    He gives an interesting account not only of the culture & habits of the Bulgar peoples but of the Russiyah (Varangians aka Vikings) who controlled the Volga trade route (from the Baltic Sea to the Caspian) at the time.
    Ibn Fadlan gives an account similar to the Franks of the Viking’s attitudes toward ‘honor’ & women.
    Apparently Ibn Fadlan wasn’t too impressed with Viking women as he describes them as looking like ‘half starved dogs’ with hair ‘prone to snarl’ & that no man in Baghdad would consider them beautiful.
    However, he describes Viking men to be ‘perfect physical specimens’.
    (Although he also states both Viking men & women to be filthy & vulgar in terms of hygiene- but did note with great surprise that they did manage to comb their hair everyday.)
    Sleeve tattoos were evidently fashionable amongst the 10th century Vikings too, serendipity?
    Michael Crichton used some of Ibn Fadlan’s accounts in his novel “Eaters of the Dead”.

    • Dota says:

      Interesting post. I was discussing with BAG yesterday that whatever the Arabs were, they certainly were a curious people back in the day. They possessed a genuine intellectual curiosity that was almost academic and unobserved in any other civilization, save for the west. Compare their attitude to the solipsistic Brahmins who were so engaged in their escapist religion that they showed zero interest in the world around them.

  4. Nambi says:

    BAG and DOTA
    What’s your thoughts on this below article? it proes its point much stronger than the one you’e quoted.. I personally disagree with the whole article..

    • Dota says:

      See that is the kind of garbage article meant for mainstream consumption. Not a single mention of feminism and how women are far less feminine today than their grandmothers. The declining quality of men is easily correlated to the overall declining quality of women. The reversal of gender roles has stunted both men and women. If the author was honest enough to incorporate a critique of feminism he would never even be published in the first place. He lectures others on masculinity but ironically he is quite the whore himself.

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