Is the Fitness Industry Full of Toxic Masculinity?

so some would argue that masculinity is slowly drifting away like we're losing our grip on masculinity from external factors uh internally how we view it I've got Chris Williamson here you've done some interesting content surrounding this and there's some interesting sound bites that have been floating around the internet with it and I want to talk to you specifically about how this potential sort of eradication or reduction in masculinity can affect Fitness can affect health and just have an interesting Deep dive on that yeah so I think the conversation about masculinity has become uh heated to say the least uh me too and that entire era really tried to sanitize some of the more toxic elements of male behavior and I think you know looking at some of the stuff that was going on there it would be difficult to say that that wasn't a reckoning that was needed but there have been the line from sanitizing male Behavior to sterilizing male Behavior Uh overshooting perhaps calling anything that men do toxic toxic mask going to the gym is toxic masculinity the male gaze is toxic masculinity sorry headline that said that wearing ax body spray was also toxic masculinity um like in cars playing board games um my point being that the line between something which is uh pushing too far and genuinely uh being maladaptive being nefarious being malignant and simply pointing at any behavior that you find a man doing that is distasteful or offensive uh that line has been incredibly blurred I want to mention I popped the 30 off discount link down below for Thrive market now Thrive Market is an online grocery store but it's not like a regular grocery store it's set up by different diet categories okay so you've got keto you've got vegan you've got paleo you've got different diet categories so it allows you to get the best quality foods okay no preservatives no garbage you can stock up your whole house not just your pantry they have sustainable Meat and seafood options so you can stock up your fridge they're working on really cool options as well so you're looking at just everything you can get in a store essentially that's going to be in Frozen or in the regular section delivered to your doorstep and with this link you save 30 off your entire first grocery order plus a free fifty dollar gift so I've also created My fasting bundle which is things that I recommend people get for breaking their fast and also for sustaining their eating period with the right kind of foods so that link is in the top line of the description right below this video I definitely recommend you check them out they are a sponsor on this channel but they have been for like five or six years now and it is definitely where you want to be going as pretty much your One-Stop shop almost entirely a One-Stop shop for what you can get delivered to your doorstep for your intermittent fasting routine when it comes to Fitness one of the places that men would have found Pride would have been in their strength right uh you know protector provider preserver someone who is courageous that makes decisions easily that doesn't give up that is responsible that is emotionally mature you know that's my definition of masculinity it's rooted in biology and it's perpetuated by culture but when you deny mend the ability to feel proud of that so for instance that's a protective provider right to to like quite obvious upfront ones if you were to say men should protect Downstream from that men would need to be strong in order to be able to protect and again masculinity is a suite of traits that can be held by both men and women you can have masculine women and feminine men um but that would have required you to be strong in order to be able to protect but if you were to have this conversation out in parts of the mainstream media they would say well why is it that people need protecting why isn't it that men can restrict themselves in their behavior so that no one needs to protect me at all most of the time it's men that need to protect people from who other men shouldn't it be the case that why is it they think that women need to be protected do you think that they can't look after themselves maybe you should only go look I'm I'm just saying that on average men want to do this protecting thing and they seem to be predisposed well at doing it great story from the Aurora Colorado shooting uh from The Dark Knight movie trailer a movie uh Premiere 2012 Aurora Colorado shooter enters the cinema for the premier showing he's a 26 year old male starts unleashing rounds into the crowd three men aged 26 24 and 27 throw them bodies on top of their girlfriends to protect them from the bullets all three men died all three women survived that is benevolent masculinity that is men being a protector and that is not socially uh that's not them taking some idea of abstract idea of chivalry that's a Instinct that is basic and deeper right bullets are flying you throw your body on top of your girlfriend like well you no one's learned that right that's embedded within us man is protectors good men are going to be protected they need to be strong if men are no longer required to be protectors why do men need to be strong they don't it's a very solid Point yeah you put yourself in a spot where you're assuming that there's no lunacy you're assuming that there's no erratic Behavior you're assuming that there's no outliers because there's always outliers there's always going to be someone that is going to do an extreme thing and you're assuming that mental illness you're assuming that all these things are going to go away if this is eliminated or if this is reduced and that there's no need for protecting because everyone is safe while at the same time we're looking at uh completely unnatural things hyperpalatable food crazy things that make our brains react in different ways and I'm not saying that hyperpalatable food is going to make you do an insane thing don't get me wrong my point is that we have unnatural stimulus all the time so if we're supposed to be going down to Net Zero with everything that implies that there's no room for someone to be imperfect correct and if someone misbehaves you need a capable person to be able to step in and do this in the same way as if somebody was in serious emotional distress on average I would want to put a woman in that room I would want to put someone that is more feminine in that room someone who is more in touch with their emotions who is perhaps a little bit better at being empathetic these are traditionally more feminine traits again on average gender roles change etc etc you can have a suite of traits blah blah like everyone that's listening is too smart for me to have to put these disclaimers out there first neither of us are saying that we need to have rigid like roles that men and women fill we have predispositions and they lend us to being better at certain things the same thing goes for the perfect The Protector role now when we look at the provider role as well uh a provider can come in a number of different ways typically it's going to be financially and in terms of resources but one of the things that you need for that is to be resilient you know you need to be able to do hard things maybe you decide to start a family whilst getting a new job which can allow you to afford the family right and pay for perhaps the uh mother to stay home for a couple of years you know 86 of women say that being a stay-at-home mum is an option that they aspire to have right that's not to say that they're going to but just an option that they aspire to have uh a man being a provider requires him to be able to do hard things well okay what builds resilience better than being able to go to the gym but if you remove the remote the role of Provider from something that men can take pride in why should they have to build resilience in order to be able to do that again everything is Downstream from the degradation and the demonization of these roles being something that you should take pride in and the same thing can go for women as well like if you shouldn't provide for instance I found out uh from this guy called Nicholas ebastad fantastic book called men at work um seven million men between the ages of 22 and 45 and 55 in the US are unemployed and not looking for work 50 of them no on average from that 7 million they spend 2 000 hours a year playing video games and 50 of those two thousand hours are spent on either prescription or non-prescription drugs seven million men and that's Prime working age right that's a huge huge chunk and this doesn't show up in the unemployment stance because the presumption was always if you're unemployed you are looking for a job no one's actually looking at how many people are unemployed and not looking for a job my point being that when you remove this provider role what is the reason to Galvanize yourself to create any of the skills and traits and mindsets that you need to become a provider or a protector and downstream from that a lot of this stuff would have been physical fitness it would have been Health it would have been looking after yourself if you need to be able to protect your family or provide for your family you probably could do with being in a good physical condition if you don't have to why should you bother well then that's that's exactly with that you look at what is a true definition of Health true definition of fitness all kinds of different various arbitrary answers there but if you're looking at your purpose and your reason for being healthy if your vocation or your your role or your role as a provider requires you to be somewhat fit at a very fundamental level you don't need artificial toxic things like the gym anyway right so it's kind of like you've got two different sides to this equation let's pretend for a second that these toxic traits or these toxic things that we engage in like the gym let's just pretend they don't exist even if they didn't exist and we still had the desire to provide we would still want to be strong and resilient in an effort to provide independent of any of this toxic behavior that has to do otherwise simply by existing we want to provide and whether that's going to be providing for us or providing for our family providing for our friends providing for those that are close to us it's also empathetic in nature and so if we're going to have a war on that we almost have a fight on empathy and altruism and benevolence exactly so where do you draw the line with that and do you ultimately start making people unhealthy because there's so much focus on the testosterone element the hormonal element I don't focus on that I think that's all Downstream I think you know we could fight on synthetic testosterone we could fight on no like oh they're trying to stop this trying to Independent of that testosterone is not the deciding factor that makes a man want to provide I think it's much deeper than that and I'm not a neuroscientist so I can't tell you what historically evolutionarily tells us to do that but I know that for me I feel good when I do it and I feel like I'm doing a good service to the world correct and my wife I can speak from experience is a very powerful strong independent woman that absolutely would be fine without me but my providing warrants her the ability to provide in her way yes she's a stay-at-home mom that arguably has one of the toughest jobs that I know of I would not want to do that all the time that is tough correct right so we provide in our respective categories but I think it involves a further sort of distillation and understanding what provide on a male level is and what provide on a female level is otherwise you're just the lines are way too blurred as I said we have dispositions rooted in biology and perpetuated by culture when I I did a debate on masculinity in Qatar a couple of weeks ago and I had to really really dial in my definition of what masculinity was and it was that protector provider courageous makes decisions easily doesn't give up quickly emotionally mature uh takes responsibility for his actions and those around him like rooted in biology perpetuated by culture femininity is the same it would just be a different Suite of traits right what you have is a disposition that you are predicated toward now predisposed does not mean predetermined this doesn't mean that you are going to be this it just means that you are better at doing this than you are at doing other things again on average the bell curve is very wide etc etc let's touch another third rail like face fact that there is a Suite of people out there who don't like the idea of men being competent because they confuse competence with tyranny or danger right because a lot of men who have been in power have abused that power so if we make all men incompetent if we make all men less powerful that will muter the ability for the bad apples in the group to be tyrannical right but you are taking a a Panacea a very terrible Panacea and smearing it across the entire group like almost all uh sexual assaults are committed by a very very very small number of men it's one man doing a thousand awful things not a thousand men doing one thing each right this is born out in David buss's book uh Men Behaving Badly so is there a way that we can have a more nuanced look at not trying to Tar all masculine people with the same brush all feminine people with the same brush you know to accuse all women of being gold diggers I go well no like sure some sure everybody knows everybody's seen the stories about that in the same way that some men tyrannical absolutely not all right and to say that and and to deny men the ability to take pride in something which is so [ __ ] benevolent what you don't want people to be protected and provided for like come on and on top of that even if you were to say um we have transcended the requirement for men to protect and provide we have law enforcement and we have social welfare and we have women being able to go into the workplace and we have Etc all of that sort of stuff okay what about the fact that it makes men feel good to do that as you said makes you feel good to be a competent capable powerful man who helps to facilitate a lifestyle that he and his family can enjoy and it gives him pride and we're talking about this flight from work that man of God degrading levels of mental health highest ever rates of loneliness you know 1950 the uh number of men the percentage of men who said that they had no friends at all zero zero friends was five percent that's troubled since then 15 15 of men say that they have zero close friends at all that's been terrifying dude um like we need to make sure that we are giving everybody and here's the other thing right who is going to be carrying a card down the street for men are having it bad men are having it like that's dip that placard is not going to get any attention at all because men have had a good for so long right you know if we forget all of the ones that were killed by War and and each other the problem of not being able to effectively leverage a victim label is really starting to show up now and the modern media and political parties have done fantastic work at making marginalized groups be brought into these sorts of conversations but just because you're not marginalized doesn't mean that you're not suffering right and if you focus a lot of welfare and attention and uh support away from a big cohort of guys they're going to become despondent and that's what we're seeing at the moment and it's it's only because we have the sedating effects of porn video games social media and easily accessed drugs that you're not seeing a revolution uh and misbehaving men no absolute is a Effect called young male syndrome which is where you have a high number of young men with no families and no ties to the community which is what that big group of seven million guys is plus all of the other ones that are like you know Perry working and criminals and so on and so forth they cause Havoc they make popular stop risings occur they have revolutions they spray paint cars and push over granny and session on fire why haven't we seen that we've seen some killings you know there's one in Nashville not too long ago but we haven't seen anywhere near the increase that you would have expected given 28 of men aged 18 to 30 not having had sex in last year it's my contention that these men are being sedated out of their status seeking and reproductive behavior and a world in which men are galvanized into a dangerous male mob is not good but a world in which men are sedated into useless atomized individual pods is only a tiny tiny tiny bit better it's still not that good no we're all tranquilized I mean that's that's what it is there's a a mild level of tranquilizing that's happening at a massive massive scale and I've thought about this quite a bit too it's you have things that fill your bucket you know my therapist used to tell me about fill in my bucket right it used to be Thomas you need to do things that that fill your bucket and you also need to make sure that bucket is is emptied and that bucket is filled with good things and with bad things you fill that bucket but if you don't occasionally dump the bucket out eventually it's going to start spilling over and you're going to have anxiety you're gonna have problems and whether it's too much of a good thing too much of a bad thing or too much of both and you can take little bits and things you can you can tip that bucket over and can drop some of the water out dump some of the water out and it allows you to fill it up a little bit more but filling your bucket properly is very important and there's things that I can speak to personally going to the gym providing for my family they really like they make me feel satisfied they fill my bucket in a really good way right but there's things that I need a lot more of to fill the bucket in the same way and that would be these very superficial things uh you know for me it's more like knowledge porn right like it's it may not be physical porn but like always looking for more information you're looking for that nugget right these quick little dopamine hits and these are little things that fill that bucket in such a weird way but you need a massive volume of them now the downside with needing a massive volume of that is that's a lot of time right so you are ultimately getting the same impact at a very superficial level not at a deeply rooted fulfillment level but you're taking all day trying to do it whereas otherwise I could go to the gym for 30 minutes and I can fill that bucket the way that I need to fill it and then the rest is left for me to give give give and feel like I'm actually able to provide what I need to provide and serve the world the way that I need to serve the world to feel like a good human and to make the world a genuinely better place but otherwise in order for me to feel a fraction of that I need six hours a point that is the most Thomas Delaware thing that I've ever heard that your equivalent of Pawn is reading scientific journals for six hours pretty much yeah yeah I mean as well as literal as we could take that I think we do have sort of a knowledge porn thing going on right where people just they get addicted to a quick hit of information and reading is reading is not the same as improving yes and reading is not the same as learning um you know we spoke previously about the impact of going sober and also of stopping caffeine uh both people should check those videos out they're great they'll be up here and um with that what you end up learning is how important your own picking your own rules are around life like what am I going to take value from what do I care about how am I going to do hard things and what we're talking about here is okay I have essentially an endless number total freedom of what I can choose to do I could be any one of a million including the porn adults weed smoke in 2000 hours of video games person per year as well what do you want to do you have the choice and this is where the difficulty comes in and this is the fundamental tension I think that we have with masculinity in the modern world which is that if you start to dissolve all of the different rules and procedures and guidelines uh and some would say you know constraining expectations perhaps that man had absolutely did they constrain what some men did especially men that are outliers uh with regards to their psychological makeup the way that they wanted to show up in the world yeah but it gave you a guide it absolutely did it gave you a direction that you were supposed to go in oh well maybe I can't be absolutely anything that I want to be maybe the the walls of this house aren't completely blown open but at least I know the direction that the sort of corridor moves in and I can continue okay well maybe next I should try and get a job maybe next I should try and find a partner maybe next I should try and get a family and provide for that family and then I could contribute to my community or you know previously this would have heavily been um provided by religion I you know I would believe in a higher power I would give myself up to God I would follow blah blah blah what we're saying now is this is 2023.

You need to work all of this out through first principles good luck all right go and go and dispense with the wisdom of you know 10 000 years of accumulated human knowledge and see if you can work out what it means to be a man or masculine just like off the top of your head bon voyage and then we're left with a bunch of cattywampus information that's in front of us at that moment in time correct completely conflicting science things that make no sense fighting sides complete Divergence and we're left to pick a side for one and it's not okay to take pieces from both sides because that's just not acceptable oh absolutely yeah so you're left with picking whatever's there on the surface here's a here's whatever's on your Instagram feed today you got to choose from this on on how you're going to live your life as a masculine male or a non-masculine male make a decision right now and forget everything that we've learned forget everything that's in the history books are not in the history books that's in our biology that's in our epigenetics right which is an interesting question right we look at masculinity and at a very simple level we think masculinity testosterone I know enough science to know that that is not the case testosterone is one element of it I know plenty of people that have moderate or moderately low testosterone levels that are the most positively masculine people you could imagine they provide for their families they're built like brick houses they're good people they have good moral compasses but they have the testosterone of a prepubescent girl does that mean that they are not masculine and bringing it full circle back to this Fitness equation curious your opinion how much do you think testosterone really plays a role there is masculinity much more epigenetic is it something that over time through various forms of evolution and just through whatever you want to call it have men just become more seamless with less friction in this role over time which doesn't make a good bad or ugly it's just the way that it is right because epigenetically it's just Power Pro epigenetically it's just how we're programmed uh the mainstream wants us to believe that it's purely hormonal which is if you ask me but then you look at testosterone playing a role there do you think there's a war on testosterone or do you think the war is on masculinity I would say the war is on masculinity rather than testosterone it seems to me that testosterone is either ancillary to or Downstream from a lot of the problems you know you talk about this the changes in diet the changes in training the changes in exercise the changes in connection with the outside world the fact that so many women are on hormonal birth control now which are men's testosterone levels reflect the fertility of the women that they're around and even if it's artificially suppressed it's basically the same as being around a bunch of old women and children females so your body doesn't produce as much testosterone this is in Dr Sarah Hill's book this is your brain on birth control fantastic read um so I don't think that the issue is with testosterone um when it comes to Fitness and the role of Fitness um I certainly think that you can be an absolute Savage and you know have your testosterone in the 200s or whatever like it that doesn't really make any difference what it seems to me like is the perpetuated by culture the role that masculinity and Men traditionally have filled we've created guidelines we've created suggestions this is a good role for you this is a good role for you and men have become increasingly good at doing that and most of the problems as far as I can see would be fixed with cultural interventions rather than pharmacological interventions at the moment um now that's not to say that men wouldn't feel better and more energized and more able to get up and go after it and all the rest of it I really don't subscribe to the like they're trying to make men Low T whatever like people like I don't think that there is some Grand conspiracy to lower the testosterone of men I think that it is just the byproduct of food standards and a hyper convenient world I think that it is much easier to socially engineer than it is to pharmacologically engineer and if you look at what's going on even that I don't think is coordinated I think that just the incentives have aligned in order to be able to uh make it much more socially beneficial much more socially praised for you to raise up any other group than men and masculinity right unless it's masculinity in service of let's say a woman uh going and committing to a career a full-time career that type of masculinity is fine like if a man was to do that that would be that would be like distasteful um but yeah man I I I'll be very interested to see what happens but even that being said I'm starting to see the tides turn like I've got my I'm chronically online right like I'm permanently got my finger on the pulse of a lot of the sort of subcultures that are happening I think that you're going to see live deemed the third wave manosphere or holistic masculinity or like benevolent manhood or whatever you want to call it I think that that's going to be a huge movement over the next five to ten years I think that men are feeling pretty lost and we're going to realize that we need them and we're doing them a suffer and they make better partners for women if they are like embodied and and benevolent and responsible and mature and all that stuff in the short term I would be like it's probably gonna hurt and it's probably going to be a bit but in the medium to long term I think we're gonna be fine yeah no I would agree there and as a father it's one of those things that I look at a lot too it's like I don't want my son to look at me and necessarily mirror what I do I want my son to be able to think for himself but I want to be able to have a world that is crafted in such a way where he can think in a way that allows him to develop a true masculinity that is individualized for him and I think part of the problem when we Circle back again to the testosterone piece is that that is just the lowest hanging fruit for people to attack like if you talk you and I have talked to enough people we've done enough research we've been around the block enough to know that testosterone is not the end all be all but if you talk to 99.9 of the population that doesn't know about health they don't know about hormones they don't have any background in that whatsoever that is synonymous masculinity and testosterone and as long as that relationship is there and that those those pieces are really communicating so congruently with each other there's going to be confusion as to what masculinity is and what testosterone is and what toxic masculinity is and what I've tried to Define my definition of masculinity is which I don't have an official definition but I really I try to be a present father I try to be this guy that is there as a as a dad and I used to think like oh like Dad was only to provide and and like no that's not the case anymore like for me it's like I want to be able to provide but I want to be very very present with my son I want to show him the way that I live life and let him develop traits from that and show him that he can model after other men not just me and it's a very confusing difficult fuzzy discussion to have as a father because you're like where do you how do you drive your children forward but you see it all the time dads that feel guilty the dad guilt but they can't wave that victim flag just like you mentioned you know there's there's the mom guilt which is a very I think it's talked about all the time it's you know in the mom community that moms know Mom guilt it's just this this thing that exists where it's just like everything you do you feel guilty because you're not giving that time to your kids or you feel guilty because uh you're making someone else do something for your kids or well dads feel that too yeah but we don't wave that flag because we're not allowed to so there's elements that I understand where it's like yes some of these walls of masculinity probably should be broken down in an effort for us to understand what makes us tick but it may fly in the face of what people want to see because as men gain a grasp of their masculinity and Break Down The Walls of masculinity it might be loud it might be obnoxious to people because now all of a sudden we have men that are okay with discussing our feelings and you're going to hear a lot of [ __ ] and complaining because we're going to be able to actually Express that and that's going to be ugly yeah and that's going to piss people off and then all of a sudden they're like you know what build those walls back up we kind of liked it the way it was yeah I know I know it's it's very strange man you know and this is one of the problems of everything being up in the app but anyway man where can everyone find you Chris Williamson on YouTube Modern wisdom on Apple podcasts and Spotify and if you want a list of 100 books that'll change your life go to books see you guys tomorrow

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