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Bennett, Dobson Reflect on Manhood

Bill Bennett went on James Dobson’s radio show to promote his new book about manhood and the two of them shared their concerns about the alleged death of manhood in America and pointed their manly fingers at feminists and gay people:

Dobson: You’re concerned about manhood today, aren’t you?

Bennett: Yes.

Dobson: Especially in the Western world, we’ve forgotten what it means to be a man. And we’re not teaching our boy’s to be men. Why?

Bennett: That’s exactly right, because…moral relativism, the notion that there’s no right and wrong, who’s to say? The dizzying array of signals, the gay culture, which has confused an awful lot of boys, the message is there.

Dobson: The feminist movement has just hammered away at what manhood means.

Bennett: The feminist movement, remember Gloria Steinem, ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.’ If you put on TV, if you go to the universities, if you check the popular culture, there is not a consistent message to boys about what it means to be a man, and as a result they’re confused.

I think someone should arrange a conversation between these two and a few gay Marines so they can tell them how unmanly they are. Not because a Marine is any more masculine than a non-Marine, of course, but because these clueless dolts undoubtedly see that as some sort of macho prototype. The notion that there is, or should be, a single definition of “manhood” is ridiculous. And if one has to oppose equality for women in order to be manly, count me out.

Comments

  1. eric says

    If they are arguing against Gloria Steinam’s famous statement, doesn’t that imply that according to them, real men need women? That manliness is somehow lessened when a real man doesn’t have a woman around?

    Who knew real men were so clingy and co-dependent?

  2. davidct says

    They want to go with stereotypical ideal man – Strong, handsome, and dumb. For sure they have the last part right for themselves.

  3. ArtK says

    Tribalism at its best. Ugh. They define their tribe (“man”) by what it isn’t, more than what it is.

    I’m certainly not confused about what it means to be a man*, nor do I think that my teen-aged sons are. I think the boys embody some of the concepts that Dobson and Bennett would associate with being “manly,” but probably not in ways those two would recognize.

    Moral? Absolutely. Of course, Dobson and Bennett wouldn’t recognize our morality because it includes the idea that you don’t discriminate by gender, race or orientation. They whine about “moral relativism,” but they’re the ones whose morality changes depending on the speaker.

    Strength? Yup. The strength to actually help others who are weaker and in need. Not the “strength” to bully others. With this strength should be the wisdom to use strength when necessary, not when convenient.

    Self confidence? Plenty of it. The self confidence to do the right thing, despite what others might think or say. The self confidence to do what one wants without being afraid of being called a “wimp” or “unmanly.” Posturing blowhards like Bennett and Dobson have to act “manly” to cover up their lack of confidence in themselves, especially (IMO) a lack of confidence in their own sexuality. Someone confident in his “manliness” doesn’t hold his wife’s purse like it’s going to explode at any moment.

    Then there are traits that are completely foreign to Dobson and Bennett, although they give lip service to them, since they use the Christian pose:

    Compassion. A real man feels compassion for those less fortunate, not contempt.

    An ability to admit fault and flaw. These two bozos aren’t capable of admitting that they are wrong — to do so would be “unmanly.” The idea of “Christian forgiveness” means they never have to truly own up to hurting others. Dobson gets in the little box, tells the pederast what he’s done and is told “that’s ok. Five pater nosters and you’re ok with God again.”

    If there are any males who truly deserve the epithet of “wimp,” these two are high on the list.

    * In truth, it’s more about what it means to be a good person, independent of gender. That concept would really be lost on D&B, so I use “man” and “manly.”

  4. Mr Ed says

    #1 Eric real men need women?

    Apparently yes we do. See to be a man you have to be strong, confident and in charge. We also need weak submissive women to lord these qualities over. This is the only reason that women becoming equals would be seen as men becoming less masculine.

  5. says

    @betasattva

    Depends on which girls and which culture’s definition of masculinity. I’d be pretty manly in feudal Japan with my ability to write poetry, paint, and arrange flowers, for instance. Also, a lesbian certainly wouldn’t care for a manly man by any definition.

  6. ArtK says

    @ betasattva

    Nice job. A totally false generalization and a non sequitur in a single sentence! The put-down of women by using “girl” in there was just a bonus, I guess.

    @ michaelbrew

    Your comment neatly exposes what’s wrong both with btasattva and with D&B: The assumption that there’s one narrow set of characteristics that are proper for someone with a Y chromosome. Their definitions are far too narrow even for modern US culture, but break down completely as we look at other cultures and times.

  7. Stacey C. says

    They should have a sit down with the couple from NH that pwnd Mitt Romney. I’d like to see them say that they’re not real men. I think it’s funny that they think so little of men that they feel like having a plurality of experiences and exposures will automatically make young men fall apart or turn Teh Gay. Who’s the misandrist?

  8. raven says

    You can legislate all the equality you want but girls still want masculine men.

    This is stupid. A lot of women don’t have the slightest interest in dumb trolls.

    Surveys show that women value men who are OK with them being what they are…people.

  9. Uncle Glenny says

    If you want jollies, you can get the first chapter (kindle) free on Amazon. (Can be read on mac, pc, ipad in browser. I’m reading it in Safari on my mac.) That includes the introductory sections plus the first real chapter, “Men at War.” Funny how he starts with that. I’m going to read it over lunch momentarily.

  10. Who Knows? says

    Dobson: You’re concerned about manhood today, aren’t you?

    Bennett: Yes.

    That made me laugh out loud.

  11. otrame says

    betasattva:

    I think we should be talking about adults here, don’t you? So instead of asking what girls want, let’s ask what women want in a man.

    To know whether or not I agree with you, you’ll have to tell what you mean when you say “masculine”.

  12. says

    God forbid they ever catch a glimpse of Mr.2 Bon Clay, one of the manliest characters in the anime One Piece who is a transvestite dressed in pink who fights using ballet and wears swans on his back.
    (not that anyone cares, just that this post made me think of this clip)

  13. Pinky says

    Those two gasbags, defiled by dogma, haven’t grown into mental adulthood despite their chronological appearance. They both have a tree fort in their backyards with a sign that says: “№ STℹⓃƘỿ gꞁrⓁƸ aLlƏd ☠”

  14. michaelwilliams says

    …moral relativism, the notion that there’s no right and wrong, who’s to say?

    Speaking of odious strawmen, when does this little nugget of fundie wisdom not get trotted out? Yeah, because there are so many times us liberals have made this claim…

  15. says

    If only Marcus Bachmann had been there, the studio would have caught on fire.
    From the sheer concentration of manliness in such a confined space … not because one of them is flaming or anything.

  16. risenape says

    Bennett was a former drug czar. He once recommended that drug dealers should be beheaded. Sweet compassionate man.

  17. sinned34 says

    I eat beef and watch My Little Pony.

    I eat horse meat and watch My Little Pony.

    You can legislate all the equality you want but girls still want masculine men.

    Anecdotal, all the girls I know want Justin Bieber (the women are a different story). If he’s what you consider the height of masculinity, we’ll all have a good laugh at your expense.

    Oh, and the laughing is because you’re an idiot, not because we disagree that Bieber is as masculine as all get-out. [swoon!]

  18. Reginald Selkirk says

    Yes, manly man-ness has really gone downhill in the last few decades. We need an iconic manly man to lead us out of this morass, someone like Rock Hudson…

  19. says

    Geez, I’ve made it to my 50’s (which BTW means that the crucial years of my development happened while feminism was just getting off the ground, and gays were still mostly in the closet), spent the last 31 years of that married, and raised two children to adulthood, and I still have no idea what “manhood” means, other than being a bunch of arbitrary social expectations which I find mostly boring (srsly, do I really *have* to enjoy watching team sports? I’d as soon watch paint dry.)

  20. chilidog99 says

    I wanted to be… a lumberjack!

    Leaping from tree to tree, as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia. The Giant Redwood. The Larch. The Fir! The mighty Scots Pine! The lofty flowering Cherry! The plucky little Apsen! The limping Roo tree of Nigeria. The towering Wattle of Aldershot! The Maidenhead Weeping Water Plant! The naughty Leicestershire Flashing Oak! The flatulent Elm of West Ruislip! The Quercus Maximus Bamber Gascoigni! The Epigillus! The Barter Hughius Greenus!

    With my best buddy by my side, we’d sing! Sing! Sing!

    [singing]
    I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay.
    I sleep all night and I work all day.

    MOUNTIES:
    He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay.
    He sleeps all night and he works all day.

    BARBER:
    I cut down trees. I eat my lunch.
    I go to the lavatory.
    On Wednesdays I go shoppin’
    And have buttered scones for tea.

    MOUNTIES:
    He cuts down trees. He eats his lunch.
    He goes to the lavatory.
    On Wednesdays he goes shopping
    And has buttered scones for tea.

    He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay.
    He sleeps all night and he works all day.

    BARBER:
    I cut down trees. I skip and jump.
    I like to press wild flowers.
    I put on women’s clothing
    And hang around in bars.

    MOUNTIES:
    He cuts down trees. He skips and jumps.
    He likes to press wild flowers.
    He puts on women’s clothing
    And hangs around in bars?!

    He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay.
    He sleeps all night and he works all day.

    BARBER:
    I cut down trees. I wear high heels,
    Suspendies, and a bra.
    I wish I’d been a girlie,
    Just like my dear Papa.

    MOUNTIES:
    He cuts down trees. He wears high heels,
    Suspendies, and a bra?!

    [talking]
    What’s this? Wants to be a girlie?! Oh, My!
    And I thought you were so rugged! Poofter!…

    [singing]
    He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay.
    He sleeps all night and he works all day.

    He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okaaaaay.
    He sleeps all night and he works all day.

  21. Stacey C. says

    @ Eamon Knight (26)

    That makes me think of my dad…he’s about as typically manly as you can get-he has multiple classic cars, tractors, several workshops, likes to ‘putter around’ etc. His daily uniform is work jeans, a blue cotton button down work shirt, and suspenders.

    He also hates all sports and is a Dr. Doolittle who feeds a flock of wild turkeys and keeps a feral cat colony fed and spayed/neutered. He prefers cats to most people. He’s still totally in love with my mom and remembers to buy her flowers on her birthday and such.

  22. says

    I still have no idea what “manhood” means,

    Well, according to Dobson, it seems to have something to do with showing off your penis to your son in the shower. So that he doesn’t turn gay. Or something.

    Yeah, ’cause that won’t give them ideas.

  23. says

    My big problem with the perception of manhood in America is that conservative, religious nutbars seem to dedicate their lives to associating manliness with bullying, rape, and fanaticism, and acting like that’s a good thing.

    I eat beef and watch My Little Pony.

    … Fuck stereotypes.

    Is it really as good as everyone’s saying? MLP, I mean. I already know beef is good.

  24. Sadie Morrison says

    Mr. Ed, accurately paraphrasing Bennett and Dobson’s anxious masculinity,

    Apparently yes we [men] do. See to be a man you have to be strong, confident and in charge. We also need weak submissive women to lord these qualities over. This is the only reason that women becoming equals would be seen as men becoming less masculine.

    Therein lies the fixed mindset inherent to tribalists. If “they” benefit, it can only come at the expense of “us.” Hence traditionalist tribalists fevered opposition to gender and sexual equality (not to mention racial equality and social welfare).

  25. D. C. Sessions says

    Seriously hosed comment system today. I posted a comment a few hour ago, didn’t see it, tried to post again, got told it was a duplicate, took off to run errands, didn’t see it when I got back, tried again to post, still told it’s a dup, still can’t see it.

    Whazzup?

  26. ttch says

    James Dobson: We’ve forgotten what it means to be a man.

    Laurie Anderson: ¿Qué es más macho, pineapple or knife?

  27. Uncle Glenny says

    Therein lies the fixed mindset inherent to tribalists. If “they” benefit, it can only come at the expense of “us.” Hence traditionalist tribalists fevered opposition to gender and sexual equality (not to mention racial equality and social welfare).

    A mistaken zero-sum mindset? Reminiscent of anti-evolution claims based on improper application of thermodynamics.

  28. F says

    the two of them shared their concerns about the alleged death of manhood in America and pointed their manly fingers at feminists and gay people:

    So, what they are saying is that they aren’t man enough to defend their manly manliness from women, feminists, gay folks, and guys like me? That isn’t very manly of them.

  29. dan4 says

    Even if you disagree with it, I don’t understand how Steinem’s quote “hammers away at what manhood means.”

    I also thought the “Especially in the Western World” comment was interesting, in an ironic, double standardish sort of way. When a non-conservative says something negative about Western civilization, this is usually viewed as a BAD thing by the Dobsons and Bennetts of the world.

  30. says

    If anything is changing, it’s that some men have become more conscious of how they treat women and children, and maybe consider their contribution to family life beyond a paycheck.

    If sharing in the cleaning, cooking and laundry means I’m less manly than Dobson, I plead proudly guilty and challenge him to a wrestling match and bet this unmanly man could pin him in less than a minute. Maybe even under 20 seconds because in his heart of hearts he might want to be pinned.

  31. says

    Hey, betasattva: Eat me. My partner is a man. He’s not a “manly” man, but, uh, I DON’T LIKE “MANLY” MEN. I like a man that can cook, is willing to do housework, and enjoys snuggling.

  32. Michael Heath says

    WMDKitty:

    My partner is a man. He’s not a “manly” man, but, uh, I DON’T LIKE “MANLY” MEN. I like a man that can cook, is willing to do housework, and enjoys snuggling.

    Uh, us manly men can do all that.

  33. Ichthyic says

    I eat horse meat and watch My Little Pony

    How else is one to learn which varieties are best for BBQ, and which for stew?

  34. bananacat says

    I’m a woman and I stay as far away from manly men as I can. Machismo is usually a sign of some bigger problems that I just don’t have time to deal with. Also, there’s no way I’ll bother with a man who does no housework. If I want to clean someone’s socks and cook their food, I might as well just have a baby. My standard is that a grown man has to contribute more than a child does, and I think that’s reasonable.

    But of course, I’m just a woman so of course my silly little ladeebranez doesn’t know what women want, not even myself.

  35. bananacat says

    I think you left out the word “poorly” in your headline…

    I think that’s implied with “Dobson reflect(s)”. There’s no need to be redundant here.

  36. Michael Heath says

    bananacat:

    I’m a woman and I stay as far away from manly men as I can. Machismo is usually a sign of some bigger problems that I just don’t have time to deal with.

    I think authentically manly men would agree with you regarding machismo’s signaling problems. Precisely because the two sets are not equivalent, I don’t even find them similar. It’s analogous to how bullies are almost always cowards, i.e., both bullies and “macho men” are posers.

  37. says

    Well, I’m just saying I don’t go for stereotypical “manly” men. (And yes, I’m aware that “manly” men can cook and clean and snuggle — just that they usually don’t.)

  38. Azkyroth says

    I think authentically manly men would agree with you regarding machismo’s signaling problems. Precisely because the two sets are not equivalent, I don’t even find them similar. It’s analogous to how bullies are almost always cowards, i.e., both bullies and “macho men” are posers.

    What would “manly” even mean then, that would be worth singling out and distinguishing from general purpose decent human being traits?

  39. says

    I eat beef and watch My Little Pony.

    … Fuck stereotypes.

    Is it really as good as everyone’s saying? MLP, I mean. I already know beef is good.

    TBH I’ve been a little disappointed with the new season, (they changed the animation a bit, and I hate change, so thats probably alot of it) but the first season is just as good as everyone’s saying (maybe with 1 or 2 exceptions) and definitely worth checking out.

    If you watch it from the beginning, give it a chance past the first 2 episodes (a two-parter, which is kinda different enough than the rest of the shows to not be an indicator if you like the show or not, but helps sets up the characters).

    If you just want to watch random episodes to see if you like it, episode 4 (Applebuck Season), 5 (griffon the brush-off), 7 (Dragonshy), 25 (party of one, although it may help to already have plenty of exposure to Pinky Pie before that ep) are pretty good starters.

  40. Midnight Rambler says

    Bronze Dog:

    Is it really as good as everyone’s saying? MLP, I mean.

    Not really, even though they’re small they’re kind of tough.

  41. crowepps says

    Even if you disagree with it, I don’t understand how Steinem’s quote “hammers away at what manhood means.”

    Their concept of manhood is about how women NEED a manly man in charge, who will tell them what to do and think and feel, and school them to be more appropriate if they disobey or think the wrong things or have inappropriately girly/hysterical feelings. Because if women aren’t managed by a Daddy figure their entire lives, Lord alone knows what kind of damage they would cause trying to make their own decisions with their teensy little lady brains. (snark)

  42. John Hinkle says

    Dobson: You’re concerned about manhood today, aren’t you?

    Bennett: Yes.

    Dobson: Especially in the Western world, we’ve forgotten what it means to be a man. And we’re not teaching our boy’s to be men. Why?

    Bennett: That’s exactly right, because… well, see, it goes like this. We have to create a problem out of thin air, called “lack of manhoodedness.” And well, what a coincidence! I wrote a book on that very subject! Cha ching!

  43. FlickingYourSwitch says

    Anya: Men like sports, I’m sure of it.
    Xander: Yes, men like sports. Men watch the action movie. They eat of the beef and enjoy to look at the bosoms.

  44. says

    If they are arguing against Gloria Steinam’s famous statement, doesn’t that imply that according to them, real men need women?

    It’s more like women need to have men. And this makes men manly, because then there’s someone who is dependent on them and who they can control.

    And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about machismo (which Bennett and Dobson don’t have an ounce of), or eating raw beef through a straw, or killing alligators with your teeth, it’s about the fear of losing traditional male privilege to assertive women. Manly indeed.

  45. kermit. says

    Sadie Morrison ‘If “they” benefit, it can only come at the expense of “us.”’ Who knew self-worth and confidence was a zero-sum game?

    I was taught the “traditional” values of manhood. surrounded by firearms and soldiers and Jesus and watching Leave it to Beaver. To my surprise, I soon found out that real men cheat; they rig the game so The Other® loses (can’t let the colored folk, strange people, or girls beat us!). Real men are easily unsettled (new ideas? – eek.). Real men aren’t strong enough to hold a strong woman’s interest. Real men spend much of their time worried about whether or not other people think they’re real men.

    And yet, after watching all those John Wayne movies I thought I had learned that real men don’t care what others think, they just do the right thing. They try to win when competing, but while they might lose, they never cheat. And it always seemed like the Duke got the strong woman in the end, even when they called her a girl.

  46. Aquaria says

    My partner is a man. He’s not a “manly” man, but, uh, I DON’T LIKE “MANLY” MEN. I like a man that can cook, is willing to do housework, and enjoys snuggling.

    My husband probably wishes that’s all I expected.

    Uh, us manly men can do all that.

    Aw, Heath, you be a sexy beast. :P

    Real men spend much of their time worried about whether or not other people think they’re real men.

    QFfuckingT.

    I dated one of the neanderthals during my misspent single years. If I argued with him in front of people, if I opened my own car door, if I talked about my job–he freaked, thinking that I was disparaging his manhood, somehow, and “people would talk!” I never did understand that.

  47. wheatdogg says

    What they really were talking about …

    Dobson: You’re concerned about your manhood today, aren’t you?

    Bennett: Yes.

    Somehow, that second-person pronoun got lost in transcription. Now the rest of the conversation makes sense.

  48. says

    I was having a manhood debate with my brother. I told him that I thought that the most common thread between different definitions of manhood was the ability to provide for his children/spouse. By that definition, I (as a software engineer) was more manly than the construction worker who was trying to claim that title for himself based on his large biceps.

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