As we’re trying to understand emotional maturity, can we get a better picture of what authentic masculinity is?

We talk a lot about toxic masculinity, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a healthy term. Many people fear that we’re labelling the stuff that guys tend to do as being toxic, and the stuff that girls tend to do as being healthy.

I have a son-in-law in the military who loves hunting and fishing and fixing stuff. That is not toxic! Typical “masculine” things are not bad.

What is bad, though, is when those are the only things that men are allowed to express.

My daughter Rebecca recently found a YouTube channel that she just loves, called Cinema Therapy.

There, a licensed therapist and a filmmaker just watch movies and talk about emotional health. It’s really well done, quite funny, and very moving. And I was quite taken with their video on Aragorn and the Lord of the Rings, and the points that they were making about masculinity.

Instead of the term “toxic masculiniity”, they prefer to talk about “limited masculinity.”

When men are only allowed to show a very few things, then masculinity becomes very limited. And the only emotions that men are encouraged to show, they say, are anger and lust–two things we’ve been talking about over the last week! And limited masculinity then tends to become about dominance–money, status, power, control. But real masculinity isn’t like that at all.

When you look at Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, though, he can cut the heads off orcs and then go write poetry. He’s a complete man.

Many of you in the comments over the last month, as we’ve been talking about emotional maturity, have asked what it looks like to be an emotionally mature and healthy man.

I thought this video answered that question so well that I’d let them have the last word before we get into Christmas posts, and a little bit on respect I want to do tomorrow.

It’s a great one to watch with teens, too, to get some discussion going!


So watch this, and then let me know what you think! And let’s talk about what real masculinity looks like in the comments.

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find BIBLICAL, HEALTHY, EVIDENCE-BASED help for their marriage. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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