On one hand, stoicism can be a masculine virtue. When you’ve got a job to do, you take care of it. Bitching is for wimps. Sometimes life sucks, so you roll with the punches and make the most of it. “Suck it up and drive on” like they say in the Army, even when you’ve just found out you have to fill in your nearly-completed foxhole and start digging all over ten feet to the right.
On the other hand, you’ve got to stand up for yourself. There are folks in this world who will take every advantage of you if you let them. Sometimes your way is the right way. If you don’t point out what’s wrong, nobody’s ever going to change it. Men are supposed to speak up, to take charge, to call it like they see it and fight to make things into what they should be.
I would argue that one of the biggest challenges for the modern male is knowing which virtue to call on when. There are times when complaining is entirely counterproductive, there are times when not complaining will cause you to be exploited.
The men who have the easiest time navigating this are those who had strong fathers themselves. If dad is properly leading his household, son subconsciously picks up on male hierarchical cues. He gets a sense of when he should shut up, when he should push back, and when he should figure out a workaround. Furthermore, he sees an example of leadership to emulate, for he learns to follow his father in such a way that trains him to one day lead himself.
Unfortunately, far too many young men today never have this opportunity. The head of their household is likely to either be a woman or a feminized male, punishment is either non-existent or absurdly draconian. There’s no way to really learn when it’s time to “suck it up” or time to rock the boat because the adults in his life either don’t give a damn what he does or just want him to become a nice little drone.
So the barbarian Alphas learn to complain about everything all the time, aspiring betas learn to do the opposite. “Suck it up” is the perfectly appropriate course for all men to take under innumerable circumstances, but of the masculine virtues I listed at the top, it’s also the one that can most readily be used to keep a man under control.
We don’t like complaining, and this is being used against us. When something rotten comes our way, we feel like we should be strong enough to handle it without whining to the whole world about it. I’m not supposed to bitch about the legal climate, my girlfriend playing that damn song again, or the state of modern women. Women can afford to be that way, but I’m a man.
So not unlike the gift of chivalry that became an obligation, our noble desire to “just shut up and take care of it” keeps us from even finding out about many of the injustices that hold us back. We suffer in silence, whether it’s because of a breakup, divorce, we can’t find a job, or we hate the job we have.
If we complain, we’re called wimps, pussies, and ungrateful that such a high percentage of top CEO’s are men. Sometimes a man stands up for himself, sometimes he turns the other cheek. However, we’re told to turn the other cheek always by the very forces that slap us.
Saul Alinsky dedicated his Rules for Radicals to Lucifer, and this is Rule 4 epitomized: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. We need to recognize that if our virtue is being used against us. Thus, we’d better find another virtue, for virtue that enables vice to thrive is no longer virtuous.
I’m not saying we should ever become victims, nor should we fail to be grateful for so many of the things in our lives that are going right.
Nevertheless, although “sucking it up” can be the right thing to do, sometimes you’re duty bound to speak up for yourself, your God, and for the sake of other men who shouldn’t have to suffer like you have.
Not only is it right, not only is it heroic, once you learn how to do it right, chicks dig it, too.
They love a man who’s in charge, and you’ll never be a leader if you’re willing to “suck it up” when you shouldn’t.