The whole world was gripped by the story of 12 boys and their coach, trapped in a cave for 18 days but then rescued by hundreds of men of all nationalities. The men who rescued these boys had one thing in common, they were all possessors of a thing called ‘toxic masculinity’. One of the Thai divers, a former navy seal, was so imbued with this so-called toxic masculinity, he gave his life in the rescue attempt to save those young men’s lives.
The last man out of the cave, as the flood waters swirled about, was an Australian doctor and cave rescue specialist. Obviously, his level of toxic masculinity was through the roof. Richard Harris’ story was featured in an ABC article called, “Thai cave Rescue: Australian Doctor who was last one out prais es boys while grieving his father’s death”. To quote the ABC:
Dr Harris was meant to be on holiday but instead found himself putting his own life at risk to venture into the Chiang Rai cave to medically assess the 12 boys and their coach trapped inside.
He responded to the call for help from Thai authorities when he was named specifically by the British diving team leading the mission as the best person for the job, with his medical skills and 30 years’ diving experience.
Dr Harris is not the only Australian man that puts his life at risk for the greater good. Every day, millions of Australian men, with ample supplies of toxic masculinity go to work each day in dangerous and dirty occupations to provide the necessities of life for their wives and children. Ninety-five per cent of all workplace fatalities are men. Sam de Brito wrote an article exposing how media reporting tries to hide the truth. His article titled “How to die at work: be male” articulates the reality well.
A strange omission in the coverage was that 95 per cent of these fatalities were men, with six out of the 10 industries cited – including two of the three most deadly, transport and construction – recording only male deaths…
“Looking across all fatalities, male workers have a fatality rate 18 times greater than that of female workers,” spokeswoman Michelle Hutchison said.
In other words, the No.1 risk factor for dying at work in Australia is being a bloke, which is hardly surprising seeing as men are the go-to gender for dirty and dangerous jobs.
When it comes to fighting for your country, toxic masculinity comes in mighty handy. In the first and second World Wars 89,073 men paid the ultimate price to defend their countries and protect their women and children. God knows what would have happened to the women and children of Australia if the Japanese Army won the Second Would war if the ‘Rape of Nanking’ is anything to go by.
The women and children on the Titanic were also very thankful for so-called toxic masculinity, which allowed women into the lifeboats first. If you were a man on the Titanic you only had a 20 per cent chance of survival. If you were a woman you had a 74 per cent chance of survival.
So, if you get stuck in a cave, need someone to do a dangerous job, defend your country or rescue you if your boat is sinking, you know who to call and it’s not ‘ghostbusters’. You call the men who are filled with toxic masculinity to rescue you in your hour of need.
But all this talk of toxic masculinity just does not make sense, does it?
“Why use that inflated language? To say ‘toxic masculinity’ — it does imply … that all men are toxic. Clearly there is such a thing as toxicity in some of the ways that men are socialised, but to suggest that all masculinity is toxic and that all men are violent is completely wrong.”
Part of the problem, Professor Macdonald suggests, is that masculinity “has received such a bashing” in both academia and the media in recent years.
For example, the emphasis on curbing domestic violence in the co mmunity is important and “understandable”, he said, but when men as a whole are blamed for some men’s bad behaviour, it makes it “very hard to talk about non-toxic masculinity” and the positive sides of being a man”.
Dr John MacDonald is 100 per cent correct. The whole idea of toxic masculinity is ridiculous. Imagine if I wrote an article on the dangers of toxic femininity. I would be laughed out of town, and rightly so. The reality is as Bettina Arndt stated, “No gender has a monopoly on vice”.
Gender is simply a scientific fact of life, dictated to us by the arrangement of our chromosomes at conception, XY or XX. The push to feminize men by radical feminists is not going to end well and could well create a societal disaster.
The speech by Allie Stuckey, a woman who has a way with words, from the Prager University video title, “Make Men Masculine Again” puts it so very well.
“When you try to make men more like women, you don’t get less “toxic masculinity,” you get more. Why? Because bad men don’t become good when they stop being men; they become good when they stop being bad…
The answer to toxic masculinity isn’t less masculinity; it’s better masculinity. And we know what that looks like. It’s a young man opening the door for a girl on their first date. It’s a father working long hours to provide for his family. It’s a soldier risking his life to defend his country. The growing problem in today’s society isn’t that men are too masculine; it’s that they’re not masculine enough.
When men embrace their masculinity in a way that is healthy and productive, they are leaders, warriors and heroes. When they deny their masculinity, they run away from responsibilities, leaving destruction and despair in their wake. The consequences can be seen everywhere.
One in four fathers now lives apart from his children. (In Australia it is one in five) And children who grow up without a dad are generally more depressed than their peers who have a mother and a father. They are at far greater risk for incarceration, teen pregnancy and poverty. Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts are fatherless.
“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives… family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation.” That was said by then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008. “If we are honest with ourselves,” he went on, “we’ll admit that… too many fathers are… missing from too many lives and too many homes.”
As much as we try to deny the need for real, masculine strength in society, there’s no denying its necessity. Healthy families and strong communities depend on the leadership and bravery of good men.
As we celebrate Father’s Day in Australia, let us be thankful for the good men in our lives. Some are fathers, others are grandfather s or relatives, and some are just friends. If you can’t think of any men to thank this coming Father’s Day, think about the men on the Titanic who chose to give a woman their place in the lifeboat thereby choosing certain death in the icy ocean.
Think about the 89,073 men who paid the ultimate price for our freedom in World War I and II.
Think of the millions of Australian men who risk their lives in dirty and dangerous jobs to provide for their children and their wives.
Failing that, why not focus on the Australian doctor who was last out of the cave to rescue 12 teenage boys and the Thai diver, Saman Gunan who didn’t make it, but gave his life to save them?
His widow Mrs Gunan told the BBC that her husband loved charity work and helping others.
He has been praised as a hero for who he was . . . I want to tell you honey, you are the hero in my heart, you always will be.
Thank God for masculine men! Happy Father’s Day.
Warwick Marsh is the founder of the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation and has worked as a musician and creative communicator/TV producer. He is editor in chief of the weekly Dads4Kids email newsletter and in 2001 received a Centenary Medal from the Governor-General for service in musical leadership for young people and the Aboriginal community and his international missions and aid work.