By Men For Men


I said I would follow up in more depth on the points I raised in my Wall Street Journal piece about why men turn to online influencers instead of mainstream authorities and institutions.

One of those reasons is that online men’s influencers are all other men, whereas a high percentage of the people speaking about men’s issues in mainstream society are women.

The fact that all the online men’s influencers are men is a fact almost too trivial to notice, but it’s important. I cannot name a single female influencer that men are looking to as a guide. I believe Candace Owens has a significant male audience but is more of a political figure. There have always been some females who serve as a sort of women’s auxiliary in movements like men’s rights activism, but they are just echoing points being made by the men.

By contrast, a huge share of the people speaking about men’s issues in mainstream society are women. For example, there was just a glowing profile in the NYT magazine of a woman named Caitlin Moran published under the title, “Modern Masculinity Is Broken. She Knows How to Fix It.” I noted in my article how every single piece in a recent masculinity themed issue of Politico magazine was written by a woman. And of course, that big Washington Post article from over the summer was also written by a woman.

Even in movement conservatism, the bulk of the people talking about gender type issues and even men specifically are women. Kay Hymowitz at the Manhattan Institute wrote Manning Up. Helen Smith wrote Men on Strike.

Not all of these people are bad. For example, I’ve praised Christine Emba’s WaPo piece, and Kay’s work is also great. At the same time, they are clearly not writing to men directly. Also, any number of these folks writing in major media actually are essentially just male bashing. I’m sure there will be another screed against toxic masculinity coming around soon.

Interestingly, this is one where the religious world is actually ahead of the game. Because of its male dominated pastorate, most of the religious people speaking on men’s matters actually are men. Though of course there are exceptions like Nancy Pearcey, who just wrote a new book called The Toxic War on Masculinity. But she’s the exception that proves the rule. By and large men are doing the talking to other men in this space.

Read the rest of this piece at Aaron Renn Substack.

Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker and writer on a mission to help America's cities and people thrive and find real success in the 21st century. He focuses on urban, economic development and infrastructure policy in the greater American Midwest. He also regularly contributes to and is cited by national and global media outlets, and his work has appeared in many publications, including the The Guardian, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Photo: Ketut Subiyanto