At a Young America’s Foundation-sponsored event on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Tuesday evening, Daily Wire podcast host and columnist Matt Walsh addressed the growing war on masculinity, particularly as conducted through rhetoric about “toxic masculinity” and the excesses of the “MeToo” movement. We are “ruining ours sons,” he said, by giving into the “worst kind of selfishness” and “narrow-mindedness” in our approach to boyhood and masculinity.
Among the ways that our increasingly “progressive” society is crushing boys, he explained in the speech, are the education system, which is effectively punishing standard male behavior, and the general denigration of masculinity, particularly in the form of the “toxic masculinity” rhetoric espoused by left-wing thought leaders. Along with the proliferation of pornography and the promotion of gender confusion, specifically directed at boys, Walsh maintained, we are seeing an unprecedented war on boyhood that is destined to result in disaster.
“Obviously, we need to teach our boys to be obedient and respectful, and they really do need to calm down sometimes and be quiet,” he said (video below). “But boys also need to be boys.”
“I’m afraid they’re not always given that opportunity these days because they’re always being told, no, stop, calm down, be quiet, sit still,” Walsh continued. “Maybe in school we carve out 45 minutes for them to let out their energy — and I’m told now that even that, gym class, they’re getting rid of.”
“I think we are ruining our sons this way. We are robbing them of themselves,” he said. “It’s the worst kind of selfishness. It’s the worst kind of narrow-mindedness.”
“The problem is us, not them. We are the ones who need to change,” he asserted. “If there is no room in our schools, in our homes, in our culture, for boys who act like boys, then our schools and home and culture need to change. It’s that that is sick — not our boys. If we have established a system that cannot handle half of the kids who are fed into it, then the system is broken. Tear the system down. But leave the boys alone.”
During the question and answer period after his speech, Walsh responded to one student who referenced the infamous “Toxic Masculinity” ad by Gillette and asked what impact condemning men simply trying to come on to women as inherently “toxic” will have on young men.
Walsh pointed to the MeToo movement as part of the problem.
“I think this is something we can thank the MeToo movement for as well, in part,” he said.
“Yes, we should obviously be respectful of women,” he said, then turned to Gillette ad. “That commercial is interesting, that one scene you’re talking about, where the attractive woman walks by. The other guy, it looks like he’s just going to go up and talk to her. The dude is like, ‘Hey dude, wrong, wrong.’ Why is that wrong? It’s wrong to just go talk to a woman? I can’t even do that?”
“It’s a subtle thing in that commercial, but that does seem to be the message that you hear from feminists,” he said. “That oftentimes if you’re propositioning a woman, even in the sense of just asking for a date, and she’s not interested, then that could be ‘harassment,’ you could be ‘harassing’ her. And I think it does make it very difficult for normal interactions between the sexes to take place.”
“Nobody would label all women ‘dangerous’ or ‘potential monsters to be feared,’ as someone from The New York Times once said about men,” Walsh said earlier in his speech.
“If stoicism, competitiveness and aggression are ‘on the whole harmful,’ then manhood itself is harmful,” he continued. “These traits are natural to men. Not every man has them to the same degree, and perhaps some men hardly display them at all, but in general, men are more emotionally reserved, more aggressive, more competitive, and more physically dominant. It didn’t become this way because society engineered it. It already was this way, it has always been this way.”
Along with taking action to combat porn, make schools less hostile to half the population, and defend inherently masculine traits, Walsh argued that the most important thing we can do to give boys a fighting chance in our culture is the increased presence of fathers.
“The culture comes like the snake in the garden, and says ‘Go that way.’ And if the boy follows, he will be lead, potentially, into a lifetime of failure and misery,” said Walsh. “That is where the father is needed. To come to the rescue. To stomp on the serpent. To take his boy’s hand, to look him in the eye, to tell him ‘You are a boy. And that is good. And that is wonderful. And one day you will be a man. I will show you how. I will show you the way. Follow me.’ That is what a boy needs. Many will never get it. And we will hate them for what they become. But it didn’t have to turn out that way. If only someone had been there. If only they’d been given a chance.”
Watch the full speech below: