"Feminized Men" in S&S

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Shahaf Levin

Level 5 Valued Member
There is a lot of investment into the competitive element of sports but very little into physical culture.
I think that's a key point. Competitive sport is, by definition, quantity based. People who look for shortcuts and instant results giving use as "license" to give quality secondary consideration (more likely fourthly at best), developing skill (quantity) on base of crappy foundation. We all know how this works as a long term approach... A high school basketball coach actually told me I'm wrong when I said that you can't be "too good" at the foundations, and when people work on foundations they loose sight of what is really important.

Same logic leads toe 15 year old kids doing SSP programs and random specialty exercises, while they have zero ability to squat or hinge properly (will probably score asymmetrical 12 on FMS).

Society is investing in the top of the pyramid instead at the bottom and creating a wider, stronger, better foundation. I think it the quantity based life neo-capitalism ingrains. The only question everybody asks is "how much?", no ones asks simply "how?"

Riley O'Neill

Level 3 Valued Member
They don't really focus on a life long program. Their athletes retire when they are 17 or 18 and in that time did not really learn a lifetime program. Everything was about improving their sport.


Level 5 Valued Member
As a kid I never trained - never had a program, never counted kilometres or reps. Instead I kicked a footy, played street cricket, rode a bike, climbed a tree or pushed a billy-cart. (Even the fat kids were fit in my neighbourhood.) Somewhere along the way I forgot the pleasure of all that and training took over - everything planned, procedularised and counted. An app gets a workout every time I do. When did that happen?

Mark Kidd

Level 5 Valued Member
As a kid I never trained - never had a program, never counted kilometres or reps. Instead I kicked a footy, played street cricket, rode a bike, climbed a tree or pushed a billy-cart. (Even the fat kids were fit in my neighbourhood.) Somewhere along the way I forgot the pleasure of all that and training took over - everything planned, procedularised and counted. An app gets a workout every time I do. When did that happen?
When we were in the best shapes of our life and everything was effortless, we had no plan. Sometimes I wonder if that is key.

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
When we were in the best shapes of our life and everything was effortless, we had no plan. Sometimes I wonder if that is key.
Nothing stays the same forever. You can't go back home. You can never be a kid again. And other cliches with a lot of truth to them - what works is can be a moving target, and finding the right balance of same and different, of plan and no plan, of structure and no structure can be challenging.

Freestyle training can and does work for some people - I don't mean to suggest it doesn't - but it's important to monitor whatever training you do to see that it's working.

One option not enough people use, IMHO, is an annual training cycle that includes times of focus (that often end in a competition or at least a test of some sort) alternated with times of less structure and a focus on recovery, building new skills, and having fun. E.g., compete in the TSC twice a year - use the 3 months prior to each meet for focused training, and the 3 months after each meet for other things.


Mark Kidd

Level 5 Valued Member
Agreed @Steve Freides

I simply meant and expressed poorly that sometimes I think we get bogged down over thinking plans and worrying about a perfect plan (which doesn't exist) and forget that we can focus on a lot of different things throughout our lifting "careers".


Level 7 Valued Member
This is a very interesting thread. The original thought though is one that is very true and alarming. Many other topics have been touched on. And as probably no cares what I think, I have nothing but time and will register some thoughts.

Has anyone ever wondered if our food supply is to blame for the feminization of our population? I have no proof or study to back up this statement other than the increased use of soy over the years. In another thread Steve remarked to me that very few protein supplements use soy any more. Unfortunately I still see many available. But it is also in many other things, I have a heck of a time finding a vitamin D3 supplement that doesn't have soy in it. And with the increase diagnosis of allergies kids have today, how many young kids are being given milk replacements that contain soy for a substitute for dairy? I believe it really gets down to the use of "real food".

School systems have changed. I live right by a high school that does in fact still offer P.E. But these are mixed classes with both male and female students, which in my opinion only adds to the p@#$ification of our country. As others have stated, there does not seem to be a goal of teaching students an activity that they could enjoy for life nor does there seem to be a goal of teaching the student the importance of a healthy nutrition plan. One could argue that to target these two goals why would the classes need to not be co-ed? Well because in fact the sexes are different and most likely would have different interests.

There is no doubt that the education system has in fact been drawn toward a non-violence type of resolution system. But I believe that the feminization of young men is more of a result of the liberal ideas that most teachers enter the class room with than anything else. The idea of making the female equal has spun to making the male feel less equal. Or, to put it a better way, boys have been taught that it's o.k. to be feminine if they choose and our society has chosen to support this idea. A classic example to this is the idea that some sports aren't just dangerous, but are life threatening dangerous. Rather than come up with equipment or rules to take this potential out of the sport, it is believed that the sport should just be eliminated. What is remarkable about this is seldom is there worry about eliminating a women sport, it is generally the men's sport that should be eliminated. Have you heard of anyone wanting to eliminate women's basketball even though there is such a high amount of knee injuries that women experience?

What I can not understand is why is it thought that it's o.k. for our young men to be more feminine but in most cases it's not o.k. for our young women to be strong minded? Raise a women with a strong personality and you will experience this. The thought seems to be that we will give the women all the advantages, choices, and opportunities as a male, but don't let her bring that ability to stick up for herself into the board room, the school board, the town board, the athletic club, etc.


Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
In many ways that's what appeals to me about Strongfirst. You don't have the contradictory values, the message is clear, the principles are unwavering. Pavel doesn't drop the snatch test requirements just because the demographics have shifted. The goalposts don't shift. There is certainty in this and the system will endure and grow indpendent of any one person. For me this is very important.
Pavel has lots of great quotes: this is probably my favourite...society could learn a lot from it.

"Be a man among men"

Epitaph material.


Level 7 Valued Member
@banzaiengr all interesting subjects. I fo think theres a social change towards suppressing mens natural tendancies - think many of the assertive traits linked to testosterone are often frowned upon and im not 100% sure I agree or not as with most things there's fine lines between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

in regards to soy I think the potential effects of xenoestrogend in it arent as big of a concern as most people think as to have the effect you would need to consume copius amounts.

many would say that the oppression of women exhibiting masculine assertive traits is being opposed and as more women gain positions this social trait will stop (im bringing my daughters up the same as the boys to not take crap and be dominating ho getters so I hope it changes).

one of the things which I believe is at the root of masculine qualities and stereotypical activities being banned/frowned upon is due to the current fear of lawsuits - everyone is scared of being sued so they would rather ban activities.


Level 9 Valued Member
One option not enough people use, IMHO, is an annual training cycle that includes times of focus (that often end in a competition or at least a test of some sort) alternated with times of less structure and a focus on recovery, building new skills, and having fun. E.g., compete in the TSC twice a year - use the 3 months prior to each meet for focused training, and the 3 months after each meet for other things.

Deleted member 5559

everyone is scared of being sued
Bingo! Yahtzee!! We have a winner! Tell him what he's won... You can't solve an argument with a punch to the nose anymore. There's always some law preventing someone from defending themselves against unscrupulous activity - which ironically seems unscrupulous. It seems like advocating for one's self is against the law.

Riley O'Neill

Level 3 Valued Member
The co-ed PE is nothing new. It was the norm when I was taking it in high school in the late 90s -2000 and from what I understood by that point it was going on for decades. So we are looking at something that has been the norm for 40+ years. At least where I live. The issue isn't that its co-ed the issue that it lacks any serious program and instead focuses on some sort of rotating sport for physical activity. It was a few weeks of softball, a few weeks of flag football, a few weeks of soccer, a few weeks of tennis. It was total filler half of the class would usually take some position that involved them moving as little as possible. There was some kind of movement warmup first that was likely the most beneficial part of the 50 minute session.

There needs to be a 13 year PE curriculum that a kid starts when they are in Kindergarten that focuses on certain skills a 5 year old child should be learning and then gradually works up as they grow up to where when they are seniors in high school they are fit across the board. This needs to be gender neutral and seen as a fitness plan and not playing sports. The focus is an hour a day plus a few more hours of unstructured play (I am convinced that most of the learning that goes on in k-6 is open recess kids just actively playing for hours. The kids need to go home tired). There is a movement to combat obesity but they treat obesity like its the problem and not the symptom of a problem.

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
I've certainly noticed this trend. I do not believe it has anything to do with soy as regions of the world where this has been a staple protein also have high birth rates and no abundance of feminized men. It could have to do with endocrine and hormonal doppelgangers playing havoc with adolescent development. This is perhaps the most frightening possibility.

Is also strange to me the number of people I see in public who are not readily identifiable as male or female, either by gait, manner, or dress. This is no accident. I have no idea how other parents are raising their kids. I come from a large family, many sisters and brothers, and I have plenty of respect for women. That doesn't mean I think we should erase gender lines - is enough to recognize we all are different in some respects and gender happens to be one of them - its a good thing. I go out of my way to hold the door for women, after all I was taught my manners by my mom and I don't want to be dope slapped by her ghost for behaving rudely!

Cultural trends aside, I wonder about parallels between modern society and Universe 25. Is this how the "beautiful ones" began?


Level 7 Valued Member
I've only read through this thread in the last hour and I have to agree to a lot of things that have already been said.

The PE thing is one I've debated with a lot of people.
It's the same here in Germany, mostly just rotating different sports (soccer, basketball, volleyball etc.). I think @Riley O'Neill 's suggestion is very good. Kids who leave school should be able to do a certain amount of physical things like x amount of pullups, y time for a 5k run etc. It doesn't have to be too crazy, just make them physically capable human beings.
Too support the bad PE thing I have 3 examples for you:
1) My cousin is a PE teacher and she once told me about her new class (7th grade) where 15 out of 30 pupils could not stand on one leg for more than 3seconds. It shows you how "unphysical" the lifestyle of todays kids can be.
2) Me and my 2 best friends excelled at every of the sports we played in PE and we wouldn't be allowed to play on the same team, because the teacher deemed it to be unfair for the others. During the actual game (e.g. basketball) we were scolded if we didn't pass the ball to the other kids more often. And we talk about kids that would go 0 out of 10 in uncontested shots 1-2yards away from the hoop...Competitiveness was suppressed so everyone would feel good...
3) Once we did a few weeks of barren gymnastics. At the end we had to perform a little routine (the same for everyone). One part of it was sitting on the barren in a v-sit style then roll onto the shoulders with legs pointing to the ceiling (think start of handstand pushup), hold this position for a count of 3 and then roll forward into the v-sit again.
My teacher wanted me to perform an actual HSPU instead of the hold, because he felt like the normal routine was to easy for me. I failed the HSPU and got an B+. I'm not too upset about not getting an A, but what really made me furious was that the same teacher gave 2 fat kids (1 girl, 1 boy) who miserably failed at the routine a C, because "they at least tried" as he would say...Instead of getting an F and maybe think about losing weight and getting fitter, those kids were rewarded a C, because they tried...

I, too, think a lot of the equality movement is going in the wrong direction.
Yes, please pay a woman the same amount as a man if they do the same job and yes if a woman is the best for a certain job give it to her, but don't give it to a her just to boost the female rate in your company if there are better male applicants.
(I known "better" can be vague, but you get what I'm saying)
Please honor the diversity between the genders and instead of trying to make them equal, improve their natural strengths.
Men tend to go for the "risky play" a lot more than women, so make more women CEO or CFO of big banks to minimise the risks of another financial crisis.
Women are naturally weaker than men, so don't let them into certain jobs. I'm talking about jobs like firefighter, military or things like that. I don't say they should be completely removed from those jobs, but give them jobs suited for them e.g. because they are naturally smaller than men they would be well suited to serve in a tank instead of a special forces strike unit.
I got critized for saying things like that, but please imagine yourself in a burning house, trapped under something heavy. Which firefighter would you rather have to get you out of there, the 5'5 135lbs woman or the 6' 200lbs man? Or the same question if you lie wounded on the battlefield and someone needs to drag you to safety.
And before someone comes in and says that the mentioned woman is physically trained. Yes she is, but so is the man, therefore he's still going to be much stronger.
In the Army PFT women have to do a lot less pushups than men and can go slower on the run. The smaller, lighter woman has to do less pushups than the taller, heavier man, so the man has to move more weight through a greater ROM more times. Where's the equality in that?

I think I got a bit off topic, but still think it's relevant, because IMO the equality movement is one of the things that are responsible for the "feminized" men.
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Level 6 Valued Member
I haven't worked much with kids before, but I had an interesting experience today. I wrote about it in my training log, so I'll just copy/paste it her
Ok, time for a totally non-training social observation. We (my wife and me) are watching my coworkers 7 year old boy. My coworker is a wonderful, sweet gal; literally one of the top 10 nicest people I've ever met. Her boy, hereto referred to as the Kid, is a bit of an oops-baby, and is about 8-ish years younger than his 3 older brothers. Her husband, for reasons that I truly cannot fathom, left her a few years ago, meaning the Kid gets to grow up only seeing his dad a couple days a week, if that (something I can 100% relate to). The Kid's mom told us before hand that the Kid "doesn't like to make messes, doesn't like to go outside, doesn't roughhouse, and is a picky eater because he's allergic to [insert everything]." Basically the opposite of me. Oh well, I like kids, I don't need them to be like me.
Here's the rub. The only thing that held up was the picky eating thing. The Kid played Minecraft on an Ipad most of the morning, but at one point he saw our box of fluffy, synthetic snowballs. After he asked what they were, I told him, and said that we could have a snowball fight later if he wanted. It turns out that a dry, indoor snowball fight was the stuff of dreams for this guy, so the last 10 minutes of my training session was mixed with the first ten minutes of 20-30 minutes of running around and throwing stuff at each other. So much for no rough housing.
After that, I was going to go for a ruck, and pick up the mail en route. Normally, my wife and I try to walk our errands (with the baby in tow) when it's nice, but I figured the Kid would want to stay in. As I was getting ready, he seemed a little interested in joining me. Fast forward ten minutes, and all four of us are headed to the post office (about 1/4 mile away). My wife is towing the baby in his toboggen, I've got my ruck on, and halfway there the Kid offers to tow the baby (that's half his bodyweight) up a steep hill. Seems out of character, but alright. I have to help him a bit, but he makes it up the hill. We get the mail, swing by the pharmacy, and on the way back, the Kid opts to tow Henry again, for the entire 1/4 mile to the house. I walked a little more after I dropped them off, and apparently missed another really good snowball fight. For a kid who, according to his mom, basically lives on Cheerios and Minecraft, he seems to do pretty well when the opportunity to be physical presents itself. His mom is an absolute gem, but this gives me an interesting perspective on the importance of a male role model. Also helps me appreciate my grandfather a lot more, and understand, just a little, the challenge my mother faced raising my brother and I. Like I said, nothing to do with training, but I just thought it was interesting.

Edit: When I say "male role model" I mean "a role model for traditionally male characteristics and attributes."
------end quote
It makes me think that perhaps one issue is that, as the "dine and dash" method of having kids is becoming more acceptable in Western culture, there are a lot more kids growing up without masculine role models. It seems that most children (regardless of gender) do best with both masculine and feminine role models. This certainly isn't the only issue, but when you have a generation of kids (like me) who grow up without much paternal input, it seems like an uphill battle NOT to be more feminine.


Level 3 Valued Member
@Snowman- that's a very good story, well told, but I'm not sure you quite realize the points you're making. I've met more than a few of the kids who "don't like messes" and are allergic to everything, etc. and they seem to have these types of smothering mothers who won't let the kids be themselves and many of them sanctimoniously deprive their kids of their identity and childhood. I feel very sorry for them. I also wonder if she called the boy's dad first to watch him that day...and I can fathom why the boy's dad is not with her!


Level 7 Valued Member
@Snowman @Matts
regarding the alleric to everything kids, smothering mothers and feminized men...
I happen to live in a big family that stays close together (locally and emotionally) and I have 19 cousins and a sister - 21 as a total.
19 of us were allowed to crawl around, sit, play etc. as we like as babys while 2 had to lay on their backs until a certain amount of weeks or months, because some book said it would benefit the baby.
19 of us were allowed and encouraged to play outside in the dirt and be our playful, excited and childish self while 2 were not because their mother feared they would get hurt or catch diseases.
19 (some more, some less) of us were taken to activities like baby/kid swimming, kid track and field etc. at a young age (1-4) while 2 had to stay home to already start their "academic career" (learning another language and stuff like that)
19 ouf us have not displayed any kind of allergy, had to deal only with minor medical issues (if any) and seem to be healthy young individuals while 2 are fragile, sickly boys with lots of allergies.
Have a guess who is who in my little story...

The funny (if it weren't so sad) part is that 14 of us reached the highest level of education in the German school system* while 5 did not (1 reached 2nd, 4 reached 3rd). Those 2 are among the 4 who reached the 3rd level degree despite them having to start their academic career so early in favor of doing physical kids stuff.

*(there are 4 and only the highest one qualifies you to go to all universities; the second highest allows you to go to some and is uncommon; the third is for a great variety of jobs, most of them blue collar and the majority of German people finish with this degree; the forth still qualifies you for a lot of jobs, but you'll have a hard time finding a good one)

The parents love those 2 boys and deeply care for them, but their way of parenting, which seem to be common nowadays, robbed the boys of their potential and did them absolutely no favor IMO.


Level 6 Valued Member
@Matts don't get me wrong, I'm not excusing the mother from all blame. As adorably sweet as she is, she is definitely over-protective and coddling. I'm simply making the point that it would be nice if the boy's father was there to counter balance the over-mom-ness. Unfortunately, he's moved away, and this time of year he only sees his son on weekends, if road conditions are good.

Perhaps I should point out that I see this as simply one factor among many. I also know people who did very well without their fathers in the picture, because they had other masculine influences and/or their moms kicked a$$ (I like to think I'm somewhere in that group). I also know people whose father's were technically there, but offered so little guidance that they may have well not have been, and the kids suffered for it. Of course, it wouldn't be wise to make assumptions about everyone based on a handful on anecdotes, I'm simply trying to illustrate a point: if Dad's not in the picture, the deck's already stacked in a tough direction.

Not trying to minimize the role of mothers, it just doesn't seem as relevant based on the direction of this thread.


Level 3 Valued Member
@Snowman - just to be clear, I don't see this as an issue unique to any particular group or family structure. I've seen it in "intact" families, and I've seen many stellar people come from single-parent families. To me, it's just about whether parents (separately or together) can objectively see who their kids are, and set aside their own issues enough to meet the kid's developmental needs enough for the kids to flourish and grow. So many parents see their kids as some projection of themselves, or they try to raise them to satisfy some neurotic issues with whatever, rather than just letting the kids be kids and grow up as normally as possible.

J Petersen

Certified Instructor
Just finished reading this piece, linking it for anyone else with a concern/interest in this sort of thing.

Be Worried About Boys, Especially Baby Boys

The author (a woman) makes the case that the cultural insistence of letting male infants just cry it out, then shaming them to not cry when they're finally housebroken in order to "toughen them up" may not have been doing anyone any favors all this time.
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