For all the talk of a “War on Women,” there has actually been a war on masculinity for a few decades. And more and more twenty-something young men are getting lost and acting out while society tries to find something new to replace the tried and true. Society used to expect men to open doors, protect their families, and be champions of modesty and virtue. But chivalry is dead
There is no war on masculinity. There may be great disagreement over what "masculinity" means, as for many men it seems to mean raping people, saying stupid sexist shit all the time, groping their employees, and running around Chipotle with fucking machine guns. For those of us who live in the world that is not currently burning down, masculinity means being a goddamn grownup however you define that, and not yammering on all the time about how chicks won't fuck you because WHINY.
The twentysomething young men of my acquaintance are not at all lost because they can't figure out what society or ladies expect of them. They are a little bit lost because of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, paying $1,000 a month for a studio with a hole in the floor in the middle of a DMZ, worried all the time their jobs as code monkeys will disappear overseas, but they are not at all concerned that they can't open doors for women anymore.
(I will never understand the wingnut article of faith that liberal women won't let men open doors for them. It's like the spitting on a Vietnam vet story of the culture wars. Men open doors for me all the time, especially when I'm carrying Kick around, and I say thank you, and we all go on about our days. Sometimes I say, no, I got it, if the fellow appears older/frailer than I am and I don't want to inconvenience him, and we all go on about our days. And if you don't know who you are or where your penis is without opening a door for somebody, there's really nothing "society" can do for you.)
You know what makes a man feel like he can't protect his family? Getting laid off from his job the day his wife gets out of the hospital from a major surgery for which they now have no way to pay. Watching some jackass in a suit take his job and give it to somebody half his age for half his pay and then listen to said jackass tell him it's the young guy's fault. Staring into the mirror every night knowing there's not enough time for work and family and any kind of meaningful enjoyment of anything but a half hour of TV before collapsing into bed because the morning commute starts in four hours. Watching his kids' college tuition savings go up in a cloud of Wall Street farts, and then hearing that the pension he thought would sustain him into old age is just too much to expect from the company that took his hands and knees and hearing and the best years of his life.
There's a war on masculinity, all right. Femininity, too. There's a war on all of us. It's just not the one Erick Erickson thinks he sees when he holds up a mirror to his own dick.