Please, “Be Weak.”America Needs More So-Called “Wusses!”

I am not kidding, America needs more so-called wusses.

I often hear people talking about the so-called “wussification of America” (obviously intended as insulting men for having less desirable feminine aspects aka it is a purposefully gendered term). Just recently the creeping cancer of “wussification” extended to the National Basketball Association:

LeBron James is a sign of the so-called “wussification apocalypse.”

“Sure, the home crowd was left with nothing but a win by their team and three All-Stars to watch, but LeBron resting is emblematic of something more troubling – the wussification of America!”

There are hundreds of examples of people complaining about the MRSA-like insidious creep of “participation trophies” and OMG “anti-bullying campaigns”

But, why is this a bad thing again?

Why America Needs More So-Called “Wusses”

Is America’s big problem really that we are too emotional, too compassionate, and too soft on each other?

I am going to make the radical argument that we should run as fast as we can towards more, not less, weakness and towards more so-called “Wussification.”

Of the 100’s of recovering addicts who have called me over the last several years, at least 90% apologize and express shame for having called (they believe, because they were taught to believe, that all of us should handle our own problems internally) and nearly 85% express how hard it is for them to call and ask anyone or help.

Everything I have learned about over the last seven years about the ongoing crisis in addiction to internet porn and sex addiction (from experts and sufferers) suggests that it almost always starts with trying to “get tough” and handle early life trauma through keeping the pain (and the world) at arm’s length by swallowing it.

And it isn’t just in the area of addiction that I see us turning cruel, as a nation, we are a country that seems to care more about the small number of people cheating on food stamps than we do about the millions of families and children who use them to survive (even more amazing since food stamps function as a subsidy to American farmers and food producers).

Don’t take my word for it, we have gone from one of the most compassionate countries in the world to a nation that suffers from a chronic”compassion deficit.”

We fight over providing compassionate food aid. We fight over providing a social safety net to the poor. Just watch how most people react to homeless people in your own area for a few days (heck, I find myself acting poorly and have to check myself all the time).

I would sincerely suggest that the least of our problems right now is so-called “Wussification.” I would suggest that a much larger problem is our lack of perspective and a growing compassion deficit. How many people, for instance, even know (or care) how many civilians have been killed as the result of our ongoing wars in the Middle East?

Sports and Football culture, as much as I enjoy college football, is certainly not the answer.

As a former three-sport athlete former college debate champion and coach, I fully appreciate the valuable lessons competition can teach about teamwork and about shared sacrifice. But, after 20 years of coaching, I learned one immutable fact – my teams were just as successful when I was a compassionate coach (my last 5 years) as we had when I was a traditional “tough” coach (my first 15 years) and there is NO TELLING the damage I did to students being an a-hole.

For every student who responded to tough-love, there were probably five who grew to hate the activity (competitive debate) and the end (the success of the few) most certainly did not justify the means (making the majority hate debate).

I challenge anyone who thinks it is to watch the most recent episode of the show “Friday Night Tykes” where the adult in charge of the entire league of 11-12-year old football players responds to a Mother complaining about helmet-to-helmet hits by saying:

“This is nothing but feelings, I don’t do feelings.”

Exactly, tough-love approaches (de-wussification) replace empathy and caring with swallowing pain and feelings in ways that are incredibly destructive especially in the socialization of young men (I do not mean that it isn’t true for women too and I mean this in terms of socialization, not gender per se).

Not “doing feelings” is why so many men can’t express honest and genuine emotions.

Not “doing feelings” is why violence often substitutes for reflexivity and compassion.

Not “doing feelings” is why so many men feel safer looking at the act of sex than participating in acts of intimacy (intimacy is not sex while sex can involve intimacy).

Not “doing feelings” is why so many relationships end in divorce.

Not “doing feelings” is why we can’t empathize with the less fortunate without calling them names to make ourselves feel better about abandoning them.

I invite everyone reading this to embrace weakness. Please, be weaker.

It is okay to be weak, it is okay to ask for help, it is okay to lean on communities, and it is okay to cry.

Please America, Be Weak! Let America start feeling again.


5 thoughts on “Please, “Be Weak.”America Needs More So-Called “Wusses!”

    1. We can agree to disagree, I agree it is not “weak” to show emotion (although that is clearly the message sent by people saying “suck it up” or that America is “wussified” and the message I was responding to).

      But, I think it is okay to be weak too. Weakness is okay, and a normal part of the human experience. The Red Badge of Courage, for instance, shows someone who is sometimes weak and sometimes brave (like most of us).

      We need less “tough” and “strong” and more understanding of the complexity of people and embracing weakness as a part of the human experience.


      1. Everyone is weak in some form or another. Men will never strive to be weak, nor should they, and nor would women want them to. We’re already passive enough as it is.


      2. Like I said, we will have to agree to disagree, many of the most serious problems we face as a society IMHO is because we refuse to embrace our complexities. That we are built to be emotional and vulnerable creatures and that our commitment to hunter-gatherer ethos has created millions of men who are incapable of true intimacy with another.

        That women prefer “strong” men proves nothing other than we are still living cave man laws of attraction (not evolving as a species).

        Sometimes we are strong, sometimes we are weak, sometimes we need to lean on God and others for help. It is time to build the beloved community and that starts with empathy, caring, and love for each other.

        That all said, you have every right to your opinion. I am not “arguing” with you per se.


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