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*Image: The Kiss (Le Baiser) by Honoré Daumier, c. 1845 [Musée d’Orsay]

By Stephen P. White, The Catholic Thing, Dec. 15, 2022

Stephen P. White is executive director of The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America and a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

There’s no shortage of conversations these days about men and masculinity. Everyone seems to be wondering: “What’s up with men?” From transgender debates, to the Me-Too movement, to concerns about the economic and marital prospects of young men (especially working-class men) and the political implications of their plight, our culture is saturated with questions having to do with masculinity. Lots of questions, lots of debate, but not a lot of answers.

There are those who treat masculinity as a mere construct, devoid of any essential content. The only purpose of masculinity – not an essential purpose, mind you, but a practical purpose – is to assert power in the interests of some oppressor class. The strong dominate the weak. The jocks bully the nerds in high school. Macho guys mistreat and condescend to women. You get the idea. …