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Curious Reads: The Men Are Not Alright
Tyre Nichols and Christian Patriarchy
Hello friends, Liz here.
#1 Today’s “top of the fold” story is men. ‘Cause the men are not alright.
Christianity Today, that bully stick of evangelicalism, came out with a glowing review of a new book all about males today.
I’ve struggled with CT’s take for a couple years now (despite having written for them), mostly because whenever they take a stand, they water it down so much that there’s no bite. To me, this article feels like that, and I want to talk about it.
The other thing I need to admit is that it’s tough for me to read articles about men and offer empathy. And that’s the other reason I want to highlight this one, ‘cause my instinct is to get mad or avoidant, and since what’s wrong with the world is ME (that legendary Chesterton quote), I need to attend to those places of inner resistance.
Annnnyway, here’s an excerpt of the article to get your blood boiling…
Oof, that question: can’t we care about women’s rights and vulnerable men and boys at the same time?
My instinct is EFF NO. Like, are MENS RIGHTS a THING now? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms… because all rights start and end with men? DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY!
Yet, just this past week, policemen killed Tyre Nichols. Tyre: a man. All those police officers: men. All but one of the EMTs who arrived at the scene, who did not trouble to save the life of the dying man on the concrete: men.
I do not bring up Tyre in order to evoke a dead-end, worst-case scenario, but to remind myself just how essential mental wellness is for every human. We need to be well, whole, and deeply loved, every single human on the planet. That includes the other 50% of us.
Tyre Nichols’ family has a gofundme, for those interested in donating to his family.
One thing I did like about this article is the question that emerges near the end: is there a masculinity that both men and women can celebrate? What does a new, healthier manhood look like?
The article calls out friendship as a potential solution, and I think the author is on to something.
Emotionally safe friendships are irreplacable in this life and men certainly struggle to cultivate them.
I see it in my own home and also in my male friends, who are so strapped for time and energy that they barely have space for their partners and kids, let alone those beyond their household. And that’s extremely problematic because partners and kids cannot carry the entire emotional load of relationship. (This goes both ways: neither partner can carry the full load of relational need.)
So then, where and how are men meeting their unmet emotional needs? That might be the more fundamental version of the question above.
By the way, I want to clarify what I mean when I talk about safe friendships. Safe friendships are those relationships that allow us space: space to be honest enough to be seen for who we actually are, space to be called-out when we’re wrong, and then, after relational repair, space to remain close friends even after conflicts, without being “punished” with ongoing relational consequences.
These are those relationships that cultivate growth, empathy, and self-worth. These safe people are those to whom we’re attached—in the psychological sense—and who remind us of the human we are at the core.
These relationships are so important because we emotionally regulate communally. It's built into our physiology (as my pallikes to talk about).
So, having multiple outlets to regulate our nervous systems—as in, multiple close relationships—is a way of nurturing our physical and mental health, as well as recentering our identity and perspectives. Without those relationships, we humans flail and drown.
Anyway, there’s more to say on these topics, but I’ll stop there for now.
I really want to hear from you. Are men in trouble? Why? And how do we help?
More Curious Reads
#2 Have you heard that Marie Kondo gave up on her method™ because she couldn’t keep it up with three children underfoot? I feel vindicated. To celebrate, here’s a very serious take on what her famed book might look like if she wrote it now… —McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
#3 Everybody’s favorite art movement—impressionism—may have been inspired by air pollution. —Hyperallergic
#4 Christian nationalism strikes again: a political schism has split the national prayer breakfast in two. Sigh. —Slate
#5 All about Charles Schulz’s dirtiest character: Pig Pen.—Astra
For Your Enjoyment…
This is how we worked out in 2004.