The Latest Frontier for ‘Toxic Masculinity’—Ancient Rome

Our cultural betters are always on the lookout for signs of white supremacy and its key cognate—toxic masculinity. And the latest thing that has caught the worried eye of the culturati is an apparent fascination, supposedly expressed by Very Online Males, with ancient Rome. The odd twist of this story is that women in increasing numbers are apparently asking men in online relationship platforms how often they think about the Roman Empire.

The Washington Post was alarmed enough to publish a feature on this troubling phenomenon.

How often do men think about ancient Rome? Quite frequently, it seems.

It’s been almost 2,000 years since the Roman Empire reached the historic peak of its power. But many men still contemplate it — quite a lot.

A new social media trend prompting women to ask the men in their lives how often they think about ancient Rome reveals that it crosses the minds of many men on a weekly basis. Even daily. Or more — to the surprise and confusion of their loved ones.

“Three times a day,” answered one woman’s fiancé in a TikTok video. “There’s so much to think about,” he explained, eliciting a stunned look into the camera from his soon-to-be wife.

“They built an entire world-dominating society,” another man exclaimed when asked by a bewildered-looking woman to justify why he contemplates ancient Rome.

It seems to elude the Washington Post and other hand-wringers about toxic masculinity why women might have hit upon this question for prospective dates: Fondness for ancient Rome is likely a good proxy for the kind of old-fashioned masculinity that is nowadays forbidden by political correctness. And sure enough the Post, practicing its trademark ventriloquist journalism, found “academic experts” to deplore this threatening trend:

According to historians, one explanation could be that Western societies have historically overemphasized the aspects of Roman history that are associated with masculinity in the popular imagination.

The first thing that comes to the mind is “an image of the Roman legion, the imperial eagle and that sort of military aspect — along with gladiators, which has a long association with masculinity and power,” Hannah Cornwell, a historian of the ancient world at Britain’s Birmingham University, said in a telephone interview Thursday. . .

Ancient Rome was of course patriarchal and violent,” Lewis Webb, a historian of ancient Rome at Oxford University, wrote in an email. “But it was also a diverse place: there were numerous forms of masculinity, women could have agency and power, and there were multiple gender expressions and identities, as well as various sexualities.”

I doubt that this last paragraph is what is inspiring men to think about ancient Rome. Soy boys perhaps, and likely the secretary of transportation. But needless to say it is prompting lots of worthy new memes:

Time to bring back toga parties on campus I say.

P.S. Back in the 1950s when homosexuals in Hollywood like Rock Hudson and Anthony Perkins were deep in the closet, the code phrase gays used to identify themselves to fellow travelers was, “Are you a friend of Dorothy?” (As in Dorothy Parker.) I’m hoping “Are you a fan of Rome?” will become the code phrase manly young men will adopt. It will drive the libs nuts.

UPDATE—Babylon Bee for the win, as usual:

Man Who Hasn’t Thought About The Roman Empire In Over A Week Worried He Might Be Trans

KANSAS CITY, KS — Local man Brian Flavius is undergoing a terrifying gender identity crisis after he suddenly realized he hadn’t thought about the Roman Empire in over one week, according to sources.

“Oh no… what does this mean? Am I trans?” said the troubled man to himself. “It’s been at least 10 days since I thought about the rise and fall of the great republic, or the Samnite Wars, or the construction of the magnificent Trajan’s Bridge, or the power and discipline of the Roman Centurion, or the stoic wisdom of Marcus Aurelius, or the unbreakable strength of the Roman phalanx, or the empire’s collapse into decadence and tyranny and the overextension of the empire and the invasion of the Barbarians from the north… Oh no! WHO AM I?”

The man, in spite of repeated reassurances from his wife, is still reportedly questioning his gender, since it is well known that all real males think about the Roman Empire at least several times per week if not every day. “I must be a woman. There’s no other explanation,” Flavius said to himself sadly.

Sources say the man later reassured himself that his masculine credentials were still intact after remembering he had thought of the Old West several times that week.

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