If by “Toxic Masculinity”…1

Chad Hammons

Article by Chad Hammons Featured Author


My friends, it appears of late that a mainstay of America’s corporate ruling class has seen fit to feather its bottom line through an outsized exercise in virtue signaling and overt ingratiation of itself to the sensibilities of blue state America.

In doing so, this corporate titan has fired a salvo in the culture wars and has aligned itself with the cultural predispositions held by that echelon of educated and affluent urbanites tagged by one preeminent intellectual as “Bobos in Paradise.”

In the event you have been blissfully unaware of this F-3 cultural tempest, I am referring to the recent advertising campaign purveyed by Procter & Gamble, and its assault on what has come to be known as “toxic masculinity.”

I hope and trust that you all will believe me when I tell you that I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time, given the recent and ongoing unpleasantness in Washington, and its ripple effects of discord and dissension across this great land of ours. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue (almost) at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be (up to a point). Thus, here is how I feel about “toxic masculinity.”

If by “toxic masculinity,” you are referring to the devil’s brew of arrogance and machismo that manifests itself in overt acts of belittling and degrading women, bullying the weak, and denigrating the different, I join you in common cause with your incisive condemnation.

And if by criticizing “toxic masculinity” you are taking an overdue stand against the brand of boorish behavior exemplified by “man-spreading” on a subway train; failing to yield a seat on a bus to an elderly person or a pregnant woman; initiating drunken fights at sporting events; screaming profanities at the beach when surrounded by generations young and old seeking to enjoy precious time together; and otherwise engaging in piggish public spectacles of uncouth alpha-male behavior, then I wholeheartedly endorse and embrace your reproach, and wish you great success with this earnest attempt to galvanize the public spirit against this lack of civility and a return to standards of gentlemanly deportment.

But, Procter & Gamble, if by “toxic masculinity” you are insidiously referring to the boisterous but innocent jousting and jockeying that occurs when good fellows get together in social revelry; if in bad faith you are likening revolting acts of disparagement and derision of women with the banter of ribald conversation at the pub after a long work week, or at a summer weekend on the lake; if you are levying a frontal assault on those characteristics and qualities that have impelled men to engage in acts of unimaginable bravery or to gladly change a tire in the rainy cold for a stranger; and at bottom, if you are equating simple “masculinity” with the deviance of “toxic masculinity” as illustrated above, then I must part company with you, and join the chorus of critics who have chastised you for morally hectoring those of us who own guns but not designer dogs, and hope that your share price drops over such ill-conceived rubbish.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.

  1. With apologies and all due deference to Noah “Soggy” Sweat.