Feminism, Transgenderism, And The Disappearance Of Male Spaces

News Image By SA McCarthy/The Washington Stand July 09, 2024
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There is much talk these days of preserving what are often referred to as "women's spaces" or "girls' spaces" -- and rightly so. Under the garish banner of transgenderism, leftism is attempting to destroy women's and girls' sports and invade their locker rooms and bathrooms.

This, of course, poses a very real and terrible threat: not only is fair play corrupted in sports, but biologically-male insurgents entering women's and girls' bathrooms and locker rooms presents a clear physical threat as well. In the midst of the righteous outrage against this increasingly-widespread intrusion, however, another consequential encroachment has unfortunately become largely overshadowed or overlooked: the infiltration and destruction of men's and boys' spaces.

For decades now, exclusively male spaces have become, simply, less exclusively male. Even the Boy Scouts -- once the pinnacle of young masculine excellence -- have become increasingly feminized, to the point of completely nixing "boy" from their name. As is almost always the case, feminism was the first infiltrator. 

Even those traditionally-male organizations and institutions which did not, over the past century or so, open their doors to women did, eventually, succumb to feminist ideology, especially the all-pervading lie called "toxic masculinity." This has been further succeeded by homosexual ideology and, of late, transgender ideology. These three radical revolutionary forces have all but corrupted male spaces, especially spaces made and long preserved for boys, with disastrous consequences for civilization.

There is and always has been a need for male spaces -- whether sports, games, and activities or clubs, societies, and groups of friends -- these male spaces serve a vital function in society. First of all, boys need to learn how to become men, what it means to be a man, and how to cultivate manly virtues and habits. These are lessons which can only be passed from man to boy, from father to son. True, women can and do teach boys many valuable lessons; mothers are often a child's first teacher, and the uniquely feminine role of mother and homemaker is one which cannot be replaced by any man.

But a mother can only teach her son so much before a father's knowledge and experience becomes necessary. It is from a man that a boy learns how to fish and hunt, how to change a flat tire or fix a leaky faucet, how to dunk a basketball or hit a home run. A woman may, of course, know how to change a flat tire or fix a leaky faucet, she may even be a basketball champion or a baseball legend. 

But such will simply not speak to the soul of a boy in the same way that a man will, because there is a fundamental difference between male and female that goes far beyond the mere physical differences between the two. Just as importantly, it is from a man that a boy learns the moral and character lessons behind such activities: a man's duty to provide for his family, the importance of working with one's hands, why one should win a contest with humility or lose one with grace and dignity.

It is during this stage of boyhood when the image of manhood is perhaps most important. The technical skills necessary to fix a broken car or win a game of poker are not necessarily unique to the male sex. But a boy whose uncle fumbles about, referring frequently to the owner's manual, teaching him how to repair a carburetor -- a boy whose father invites him to play a few friendly hands of poker with his work buddies -- that boy will learn about manhood, while a boy who is taught by an expert female mechanic all that there is to know about engines, or a female poker champion all that there is to know about bluffing, will only learn those technical skills. For a boy to learn about the soul of a man, about his own soul, he must be taught by another with the soul of a man.

Institutions like the Boy Scouts used to fulfill such a function, with dads and uncles and grandpas teaching boys how to pitch a tent, how to start a fire, how to tie a sailor's knot, and countless other activities. Along with those technical skills, boys were learning about the masculine soul, about what it means to be a man. 

Women simply cannot teach such a lesson to boys since, as not-men, they do not have a man's soul. People who identify as LGBT also cannot teach such a lesson to boys since the masculinity in their own souls is wounded or broken. And, of course, women who identify as men cannot teach such a lesson since, as not-men, they also do not have a man's soul.

Secondly, male spaces are necessary because men need other men. Loneliness is the first thing God named "not good" (Genesis 2:18), and thus He instituted community. Theologically, this makes perfect sense, as God is Himself community itself: three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Man needs community. Of course, the deepest and certainly most intimate form of this community is marriage, the covenant bond formed between one man and one woman. But even that community naturally results in a greater community, the family. Father and mother beget sons and daughters.

But there is another form of community which is necessary for both men and women in our fallen state: friendship. Men should, of course, learn about the feminine and learn how to interact with it, how to care for it, how to protect it. But men need community with other men, free of the influence or the presence of the feminine, in order to stretch the muscles of their souls and sharpen the masculine traits and characteristics that they learned in boyhood, as "iron sharpens iron" (Proverbs 27:17).

Literature is rife with examples of this truth -- Frodo Baggins had Samwise Gamgee in "The Lord of the Rings," Sherlock Holmes had John Watson in the quintessential mystery stories, Professor Pierre Aronnax had Conseil in "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea," Jay Gatsby had Nick Carraway in F. Scott Fitzgerald's American classic, Mole had Rat in "The Wind in the Willows." 

As is history -- the legendary Greek warrior Achilles had his brother-in-arms Patroclus, the Roman statesman Cicero had his editor Atticus, medieval friar Dominic de Guzmán and his better-known spiritual brother Francis of Assisi, American legend George Washington and statesman Alexander Hamilton, Civil War tactician Ulysses S. Grant had his West Point classmate James Longstreet, author Mark Twain had his eccentric pal Nikola Tesla, British author and professor J.R.R. Tolkien had his colleague C.S. Lewis.

The significance of male friendship cannot be overstated: it is in those friendships that the skills learned in boyhood mature into the skills of manhood, that the masculine spirit is encouraged and emboldened through fellowship, and that lifelong bonds are forged. Of course, friendships between men and women may yield great fruit, especially the deeper relationship which becomes marriage and the beginning of a new family. 

But just as boys can only learn about manhood from men, so boys and men can best strengthen and bolster their masculinity in each other's company. That masculinity which is strengthened in the company of other men is, however, put to the test in the company of women. If tested before strong enough, that masculinity may be damaged, so the necessity of male friendship is both preparative and reparative.

The awful fact of the matter is that the destruction of male spaces has meant that boys have next to nowhere to learn how to become men. The lie of "toxic masculinity," which wantonly labels manly virtue and skill a danger, has further suppressed the essential lessons of manhood in today's age, castrating and feminizing all that its iron grip lays hold of. 

Transgenderism has only served to worsen the confusion, blurring and even erasing the crucial distinctions between men and women. But transgenderism has served to emphasize a crucial factor which the modern, secular culture has heretofore been content to overlook: the differences between men and women are not simply physical but profoundly spiritual.

Men and women are not just bodies, nor souls, nor bodies that happen to have souls, nor vice versa. Men and women are essentially body and soul, meaning that their essence is comprised of both a body and a soul. The one is naturally suited to the other -- nay, the one is perfectly made for the other. 

This is why boys can only learn what it means to be a man from a man, it is why men are encouraged and strengthened in their masculinity by their fellow men, and it is why men's and boys' spaces are so needed. Women's and girls' spaces are needed, too, but without men's and boys' spaces, there will be no men to protect women's and girls' spaces.

Originally published at The Washington Stand

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