I just finished taking my oldest son to the first soccer match of the year, and his team won the game 6-1. Seeing the joy on his face is something else, seeing him take pride in something he was a part of. That is a wonderful thing, something that should not be taken for granted. Nobody ever knows how many more times they get these moments, seeing unbridled joy in your child’s eye.
But there are others who would take these moments and call them something else. In their minds, seeing someone take joy from winning on the field of competition “toxic masculinity”. Whenever I hear this term, it makes my teeth grind. Usually this term is used when dealing with video games or comics as some sort of insult about the people who enjoy those mediums.
It is when these terms are used coinciding with a tragedy that it gets truly disgusting. Take the recent shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Oregon. People were too quick the blame the shooter’s motives (I will not use his name) on this nebulous concept of toxic masculinity instead of waiting to find out what the motives truly were. There were vile attempts at using this tragedy for their own personal, political gains instead of giving their sympathy to the 13 people who died, their families, and the many other victims who were wounded in this attack.
As it turned out, the shooter was specifically targeting Christians. There are reasons that the shooter did such a thing, but it had nothing to do with toxic masculinity. Some people began backing away from the shooting when they realized that it could do nothing to help their cause. The truth is, this was a hate crime. Replace Christian with Muslim or Buddhist, people would not hesitate to describe it for what it is. I am not particularly religious, but this is the truth of the matter. Masculinity had nothing to do with this, toxic or otherwise.
There was an example of a hero during that day, though. Chris Mintz placed himself in harm’s way to protect other. This veteran and father was shot seven times while charging the shooter. Mintz provided us an example of what is good about masculinity, yet you hardly hear people say his name. Whatever does not fit the narrative they painted describing toxic masculinity is tossed aside. These people want villains to prove their point, not heroes that disprove it.
So when I see my son enjoying a victory he earned with his team on the field, I will let him. There is no problem in enjoying the fruits of what you earned. There is nothing toxic about it, and I will tell him so.