Masculinity in 2023
167: What it means to be a man in the modern age
If you’ve followed Arbitrage Andy or Arb Letter for some time you’ve likely picked up on our undertones of bravado, irreverence, confidence, and other traditionally masculine qualities — thing that shine through because ultimately I am reflecting my personality and demeanor in my content — after all I am a 30 year old man.
I am a man and 80% of my readership are men under the age of 40.
I like to think I am fairly masculine or “manly” but more on that later.
If you asked somebody reasonable or from any point in history before 2000 how they would describe the qualities of an ideal man, they’d likely say some combination of the following (unless they’re brainwashed):
Physically in shape and strong
Confident (maybe to the point of fault)
Maybe slightly asshole-ish
Why did I list them out?
Because I want to paint a picture for you guys that will allow for a deeper discussion today on masculinity, the USA, what it means to be a man, and the issues we see currently in the world impacting men’s ability to lead, grow, and become respected providers and protectors.
There is a massive masculinity crisis in our country.
Now I am not THE MAN. I bring this discussion forth because I think many men are struggling to navigate the world right now and I have hundreds of thousands of men that follow my brand and read my content.
I’m not saying I am the epitome of what a man is or should be — though of course I like to think I am striving in the proper direction despite desperate attempts to subvert that by institutions, governments, and media.
In order to do that I have to give you a reference point (myself).
My experience with traditional masculinity (and you’ll find I’m a strong proponent for traditional masculinity) is because of my traditional and military family upbringing. The other part could be genetics, male role models, or any other combination of factors that I had no control over growing up, including a traditional masculine feminine household.
In this article I will reference personal experiences with masculinity and I do this not to claim I am the epitome of man, but to give a relative view that you all can think about as I walk through the major issues men face these days.
When you think about the state of men and where we are nowadays — what do you think of?
Dude’s with a shit ton of money?
If you think there’s a severe and utter lack of healthy masculinity and male leadership in the world than you and I share similar views.
And how could we not?
Men today are a shell of their former historical versions and more primal ancestors.
More than 60 percent of young men are single, nearly twice the rate of unattached young women
Young men commit suicide at four times the rate of young women
Societal changes have worked to erode the patriarchy that once ruled American homes, classrooms and workplaces
Women now collect nearly 60 percent of bachelor’s degrees
One in three American men with only a high school diploma — 10 million men — is now out of the labor force. The biggest drop in employment is among young men aged 25 to 34. (NY Times)
One in five fathers doesn’t live with his children
Porn - More than 7 million “fans” spend money on OnlyFans every month
This is a short list of the range of issues impacting modern men and many people have tried to figure out why the trends seem to be so obviously moving against men.
Today we’ll attempt to highlight where everything went wrong with masculinity in the West and what we think makes a real man based on our life experiences so far and frameworks we’ve taken from literature and history.
This isn’t some macho post about how to be an Andrew Tate wannabe.
It’s a serious rant about the trends we are seeing in society that causing men to fall far short of who they can be and what they can ultimately contribute to society and communities.
Men used to be masculine, assertive, confident, and strong. With each passing day we are starting to see that for the majority of young boys and men in this country, their true nature and self is suppressed and demonized.
The reason why are many, but one thing is for sure — if we don’t figure out a way to rectify the dangerous trends that are emerging, we will be victims of the environment that weak men without structure and discipline create.
It is not a reality any of us want to be in.
It requires each of us to saddle responsibility to ensure that there are strong men in society that will transcend the chaos and breakdown of communities and nations.
“And if you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of”
— Jordan Peterson
What’s Happened to men ?
Nowadays if you look around men are a far shot from what they used to be on several fronts.
Physically, they are degraded, fat, sloth, out of shape, and small. Think about how often you’re walking to work or in the office and you see a jacked dude. It’s a pretty rare sight. Unless you’re a current or former college athlete it’s rare to meet a man that lifts or aggressively work outs with a consistent regimen.
One of the causes is disregard for physical training, lack of athletics early on, and unfortunately the modernization of society and decrease in manual labor jobs.
If one goes back to the Spartan times, life looked completely different for young boys and men — albeit Sparta is an extreme example. We like extreme ends of the spectrum.