“To ask a man to become relationally aware, without being first of all secure in his maleness, is to ask a man to be less than a man. It is in some ways asking a man to act like a woman without first knowing what it is like to be a man. A man must be sensitive from the heart of a truly secure man.” Insecure men can become trapped in a sickly, passive mood that paralyzes male energy. Due to the cultural demands of a distorted feminine, men become “feminized” or “soft males.”
The reaction to Donald Trump brings this feminization of American culture to the surface . Trust me, I am in no way endorsing Mr. Trump. But he exposes the feminizing tendency. Psychologist Dr. Kent G. Bailey observes that Trump, “is the prototypical, archetypal and testosterone-driven alpha male who rules by sheer force of his personality, imposing physique, quick wit, mastery of repartee and almost hypnotic control over his gathering masses of adoring followers.” Bailey maintains that the archetypal warrior male has virtually disappeared in the last 60 years as our nation has progressively become feminized. Trump, however, has “taken primal maleness to levels unseen for at least a half a century.” Compare him to some modern politician and you begin to get a picture of the feminizing tendency.
Mr. Trump is a throwback to an expression of the masculine that is in full flight from the feminine. We live in a time when the complementary masculine and feminine are seriously out of balance. The Donald typifies the classic “Rambo mentality” in which men express their aggressive, outgoing, take charge mentality, but disregard the need to be sensitive and relational, while expressing depth of meaning and purpose. It’s force over matter. Our cultural reaction over the past decades has produced men who feel forced to be more feminine. Many people – men and women – intuitively sense The Donald challenging this tendency. At one point around 2015, Gallup had a 14-point gender gap: 68% approval among men versus 54% for women.
So, how do we address the feminization of men that Donald Trump has brought to the fore? The quote above that noted “a man must be sensitive from the heart of a truly secure man” is a key. In my own stumbling manner, I have tried to address this over the years. I believe the issue of feminized men does not get the attention it deserves. The best image I have found to express the balance needed in the male soul is “tough and tender” or that of “the lion and the lamb.” The masculine can be expressed in initiative, while the feminine can be expressed in response. As a culture we have been reacting for the last 60 years to a distorted male initiative that has not been balanced with a feminine response. The pendulum has swung to the extreme of more and more feminine sensitivity and less and less male initiative. With The Donald it has been fascinating to watch our cultural response to an all-out Rambo Effect that is woefully lacking the sensitivity offered by the feminine.
Men, Jesus put it very plainly, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female'” (Matt 19:4). C.S. Lewis observed that, “gender is a reality and a more fundamental reality than sex.” Masculinity and femininity, being rooted in God, have transcendent dimensions. That is why it so dangerous for a culture to let this get out of balance. Leanne Payne, from whom I have learned so much, gives this warning: “A culture will never become decadent in the face of a healthy, balanced masculinity. When a nation… backslides, it is the masculine which is the first to decline.”