“This weekend marks Father’s Day—or, as I have taken to calling it on social media, Second Legal Guardian Of Unspecified Gender Day,” writes conservative pundit and Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro in his latest opinion piece.
Shapiro goes to acknowledge that his characterization is “trollery,” but that in this day and age, “we live in a society that purports to champion fatherhood but disparages fathering at every turn.”
He argues that there is an epidemic of young men who aren’t growing up with fathers who will teach them what it means to be a man, and the consequences have been devastating.
“We disparage the notion that fathers are necessary; we disparage the unique lessons fathers teach. Because some men in America are trash, too many Americans have decided that the problem is masculinity itself. The result hasn’t been a lessening of male perdition, but an exacerbation of it,” Shapiro writes. “As it turns out, men do need fathers—and even more importantly, they need fathers who teach what it means to be a man to their children.”
Shapiro cites a recent Harvard study, which concluded that the greatest threat to young men, in terms of putting them at a risk for criminal behavior and poverty, is the absence of a father figure in their lives. More specifically, the study stated that the problems don’t explicitly derive from fathers being absent from the home, but from the community at large. The conclusion of the study is that young boys need responsible men around them to teach them how to grow up and be responsible men themselves.
“A prevalence of responsible men can even help compensate for lack of fathers in the home,” the study concludes.
Unfortunately, as Shapiro highlights, society is sorely lacking in both departments.
The study also addressed the negative influence of fatherless homes on young girls.
“And it’s not a coincidence that girls from single-mother homes fare far more poorly than girls from two-parent homes,” Shapiro writes. “Girls from homes without a father tend to engage in more sexually risky behavior, with higher rates of drug use and dropping out of school.”
Shapiro explains that fathers play an important role of creating security in their children’s lives, while also serving as role models.
“For boys, fathers model and teach how to be a protector; for girls, fathers model and teach how men ought to protect them,” he writes.
Why do fathers play such an irreplaceable role in the shaping of their children’s character? Shapiro points out that the answer to this question lies in biology.
“There is a large biological component to all of this,” he writes. “Men are, by nature, bigger and stronger than women on average. They are also more prone to violence and more aggressive. This means that men either build and protect, or they destroy. Good men must teach their sons the art of manliness, or societies crumble. Masculinity can indeed be toxic, but only if it isn’t channeled into defense of self and others.”
Shapiro then addresses the #MeToo movement and rape culture. He writes that the movement encourages people to teach boys not to rape, when in reality, “no good man has ever been taught not to rape.”
“Good men are taught, generally by a male authority figure, to affirmatively stand up for women, to prevent harm. It’s not enough to teach boys ‘not to rape.’ Boys must be taught to fight rapists,” he notes.
Shapiro adds that our modern society focuses too much on teaching boys to suppress all aggressive instincts, even when it comes to defending the weak and vulnerable:
“And yet our society is unwilling to go quite that far; we’ve been told that to untrammel men’s aggressive instincts, even in defense of others, represents a mere outgrowth of toxic masculinity, and an unbased cultural assumption about the inherent weakness of women. Men have been deprived of their role in society by social leveling movements that seek to label all differences between men and women artificial, and then obliterate them.”
Society has slowly stripped males of their roles, telling them that they are “superfluous to the family unit.”
“All family units are created equal, and to suggest the superiority of a generic father-mother unit is insensitive to families formed along alternative lines. This may be sensitive, but it’s bad social science, and it’s worse morality,” Shapiro claims. “It leaves men without a mission. This leaves men adrift.”
When men are stripped of purpose, they turn to other substitutes to make them feel more “manly.”
“Deprived of purpose, too many men turn to empty substitutes for true manliness: a macho culture that prizes sexual conquest or physical strength, for example. Men become bros rather than husbands and fathers. Liberated from responsibility, many men become users—after all, women and men are exactly the same, and to suggest that men protect women is a form of patriarchalism. So the cycle perpetuates. Without fathers, these men’s sons all too often grow up to become their absent dads.”
Shapiro concludes that Father’s Day is an important reminder that fathers are invaluable, regardless of what the media or popular culture wants society to believe. He calls fathers to “inculcat[e] the specific and beautiful element of manliness in their sons.”
“We don’t need to teach boys to be more feminine, or to be genderless,” he writes. “We need boys to grow up to be good men. And that can only happen when we don’t disparage manliness, or pretend that masculinity and femininity are pure social constructs to be discarded for purposes of emotional sensitivity.”