This week, the American Psychological Association delivered some sad news for fans of “traditional masculinity.” According to the organization’s new “Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men,” the “harmful” ideology of masculinity — marked by “stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression” together with “anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence” — has got to go.
Here I imagine a mournful, windswept cowboy — preferably Val Kilmer from Tombstone, or maybe Harrison Ford from Indiana Jones, but wearing a ten-gallon hat — riding off into the sunset, slumped and grim, dragging a sad cache of uneaten rare steaks and unused power tools behind him. Farewell, traditional masculinity! You are too toxic! The APA told us so! Don’t let those swinging Old West barroom doors hit you on the way out, causing the old-timey piano music to abruptly stop and all the dust-strewn poker players who may or may not have tuberculosis to turn and stare at you in shock and dismay!
Reader, I don’t know how you feel about all this. I, for one, find it very upsetting, for one simple and selfish reason: Who is going to kill all the spiders that make their way into my house?