America Has a Macho Problem

By December 30, 2013 54 comments Permalink

Andrew Cotto wonders why we are so enthralled by the “tough is good” male stereotype.

America has a macho problem. Too much of our culture is informed by the idea of manhood being defined by toughness. We love the idea of the bad ass as the good guy, doling out physical justice to those who have it coming. The archetypal American “hero” is often promoted through our narratives, particularly our film heroes. Just look at the trailer for the new Tom Cruise film, where the eponymous character of Jack Reacher, from the Lee Child novels, is brought to life. The trailer features a scene where Cruise as Trapper is in the middle of the street surrounded by a posse of apparent bad guys with bad intentions. Cool and collected, Trapper mocks and dismantles his foes with devastating force and ease. Talk about fiction. I imagine this scene is in the very beginning of the film, not part of the primary plot but merely a vehicle for characterization, though it dominates the trailer for a reason: Many men eat this shit up. Too many of them think Clint Eastwood is actually Dirty Harry (based on his attempt to bully a chair that supposedly symbolized our sitting president, Eastwood might actually think he’s Dirty Harry, too).

This conflation of tough reality versus tough fantasy is dangerous. Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association, openly advocates a solution to our fire arms problem with “good guys with guns” shooting the “bad guys with guns.” Such a reductive and ignorant purview should be the domain of children in the “Bang! Bang! You’re dead” world of youthful imagination. It should not be part of the rhetoric from the nation’s most powerful lobby. LaPierre is not alone. Too many of our public figures – those who seriously influence our culture, conversations, and laws – have a relationship with violence that is rooted in reductive fantasy. They are novelists, filmmakers, game developers and musicians. They are also radio personalities, politicians, activists and lobbyists. This is one of the rare moments where the traditionally liberal world of entertainment conspires (unwittingly, I’m certain) with factions of the super conservative camps.

It’s easy to sell this macho schlock to men because most of us are susceptible when it comes to the idea of toughness. Most of us are taught from an early age that tough is good. Tough is character. Tough is necessary. Being tough makes you a man. But the truth is that most of us in America never get within an arm’s length of real tough. Most of us are just too privileged to be exposed to the conditions which require mettle to survive. Good for us. And some of us appreciate this, but for many young men indoctrinated in the gospel of tough, not being tough leaves them feeling insecure as grown men. This insecurity often manifests in big talk from men with little guts. And many of these men covet power. These are the ones who publically grandstand but privately cower. Their inner impotence turns into outward anger. So some scared men howl belligerence into microphones; and some seek office; and some create fantasy narratives that glamorize violence; and some are lobbyists for gun makers who refuse to budge from their obstinacy even when the “Bang! Bang! You’re dead” world of our children is no longer imaginary.

This macho problem is really about bullying. America is being bullied by a loud minority of cowardly men (and some women who share their faux-tough stances). Look how those who lack courage dominate (or attempt to dominate) the conversation on guns, the environment, taxes, health care, censorship, immigration, entitlements, military spending, gay rights, abortion, terrorism, and religion. Look how they poison our progress with absurd stances and a refusal to consider compromise. The rest of us need to stand up for the greater good. We all have it in us, men and women. With our voices and our votes and our power as consumers, we can steer this country towards a more perfect/less preposterous union where toughness stands down to logic.

photo: Muscle Dominator / Flickr 

54 responses to “America Has a Macho Problem”

  1. Phylis Rubal says:

    Heya just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the picturesaren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

  2. gamefly says:

    excellent points altogether, you just gained a new reader.
    What could you recommend in regards to your submit
    that you made a few days ago? Any positive?

  3. What’s up friends, how is the whole thing, and
    what you desire to say concerning this post, in my view its actually amazing designed for me.

  4. g says:

    Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be
    running off the screen in Opera. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with
    browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.

    The design look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Kudos

  5. g says:

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to
    read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post.
    I will definitely return.

  6. Hi there would you mind letting me know which web host you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different
    browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
    Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at
    a fair price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

  7. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also
    the rest of the site is also very good.

  8. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate
    you writing this article and the rest of the website is really

  9. This post will help the internet users for building up new webpage or even a blog from
    start to end.

  10. Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you
    taking the time and energy to put this content together.
    I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  11. I think that what you published was very reasonable. But, think on this, what if you were to create a killer
    headline? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your website,
    but suppose you added a post title that grabbed people’s
    attention? I mean America Has a Macho Problem | Andrew Cotto is a
    little boring. You should look at Yahoo’s home page and note
    how they write article headlines to grab viewers interested.
    You might add a related video or a related picture or two to grab people excited about what you’ve
    written. In my opinion, it could make your website a little bit
    more interesting.

  12. Paragraph writing is also a fun, if you be acquainted with then you can write if not it is complicated
    to write.

  13. I think the admin of this web site is truly working hard for
    his web site, because here every information is quality based information.

  14. Hi Dear, are you actually visiting this web
    site on a regular basis, if so after that you will without doubt obtain good know-how.

  15. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be
    happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or tips.
    Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read more things about it!

  16. MatSpinia says:

    Finasteride 1 Mb Propecia Propecia Informacion Viagra Und Alkohol canadian cialis Where Can I Purchase Prandin In Europe Vendita Levitra 20mg

  17. I blog often and I really thank you for your information. This great article has really peaked my interest.
    I’m going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once a week.
    I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

  18. Hi there, I log on to your blog like every week. Your writing style is witty, keep it up!

  19. This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  20. Thanks for finally writing about >America Has a Macho Problem | Andrew Cotto <Liked it!

  21. I believe everything published was actually
    very reasonable. However, what about this? suppose you
    were to write a killer headline? I am not saying your information isn’t good, but suppose you added a
    title that grabbed folk’s attention? I mean America
    Has a Macho Problem | Andrew Cotto is a little vanilla.
    You might glance at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create article
    headlines to grab people to click. You might try adding a video or a picture
    or two to grab readers interested about everything’ve written.
    In my opinion, it would bring your website a little

  22. Hi mates, how is everything, and what you wish for to say
    concerning this piece of writing, in my view its in fact
    amazing in favor of me.

  23. MatSpinia says:

    Buy Propecia Ireland priligy canada where to buy Propecia Low Sperm Count Side Effects Dutasteride With Next Day Delivery

  24. I was recommended this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post
    is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty.

    You’re amazing! Thanks!

  25. Google says:


    Below you will discover the link to some web sites that we think you need to visit.

  26. Google says:


    Here are some links to websites that we link to because we feel they’re really worth visiting.

  27. MatSpinia says:

    Cephalexin 500mg And Bladder Infection Which Is Better Ampicillin Or Amoxicillin buy cialis online Levitra Medications Prix Du Tadalis Sx Viagra Gold

  28. quest bars says:

    What’s up, I want to subscribe for this web
    site to take most recent updates, so where can i do it please help

  29. plumber waterbury ct

    […]Here are several of the sites we advise for our visitors[…]

  30. Thank you, I’ve just been looking for info approximately
    this subject for ages and yours is the best I have
    found out so far. However, what concerning the
    conclusion? Are you certain about the source?

  31. smart iptv f says:

    smart iptv f

    […]we came across a cool site that you just could possibly love. Take a look in the event you want[…]

  32. gay homemade toys

    […]one of our visitors a short while ago advised the following website[…]

  33. porn says:


    […]that would be the end of this article. Right here you’ll locate some web-sites that we consider you will appreciate, just click the hyperlinks over[…]

  34. cordless massager

    […]that could be the finish of this write-up. Right here you’ll discover some internet sites that we consider you will value, just click the hyperlinks over[…]

  35. online virtual card for bill payment

    […]very few web sites that transpire to be comprehensive beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[…]

  36. получатель синоним

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]

  37. paupertas non est vitium

    […]Here is a superb Weblog You may Find Exciting that we Encourage You[…]

  38. vacation says:


    […]check beneath, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  39. russian translation services

    […]Every the moment inside a though we pick out blogs that we read. Listed beneath are the most up-to-date web-sites that we select […]

  40. russian translation hello

    […]here are some hyperlinks to internet sites that we link to mainly because we feel they are really worth visiting[…]

  41. vacuum pump says:

    vacuum pump

    […]please stop by the websites we adhere to, such as this one, because it represents our picks in the web[…]

  42. hundeseng til stor hund

    […]check beneath, are some entirely unrelated internet sites to ours, even so, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  43. nipple toys says:

    nipple toys

    […]usually posts some incredibly exciting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[…]

  44. beegbbw says:


    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]

  45. plus size suction cup dildo

    […]just beneath, are numerous totally not related internet sites to ours, even so, they are surely really worth going over[…]

  46. MatSpinia says:

    Viagra Kaufen Bei Ebay buy accutane in the us Best Viagra Without. Prescription generic cialis from india Generique Amoxicillin Sans Prescrire Pilule Contraceptive

  47. مساج مصر

    […]although web sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they are truly really worth a go as a result of, so have a look[…]


    […]usually posts some really fascinating stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[…]

  49. indian sex video

    […]the time to read or check out the material or websites we’ve linked to beneath the[…]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *