Provider, Protector, and Professor. The Role of Men Part 1: The Protector

This is the start of a new series on the role of men in a family unit, regardless of what forms that family takes.  These are based on the historical role of men from early tribal, hunter-gatherer societies and are still pertinent in this advanced day and age.

Throughout history, men have filled certain roles in society.  They’ve filled those roles because, for whatever reason, they’re ideally adapted for them.  Whether they evolved to fill them, or whether they filled them because of their evolution, we’ll never know.

Photo by Jaroslaw Popczyk
Photo by Jaroslaw Popczyk

One of the key roles of men is that of the protector.

Men since the dawn of time have taken on the mantel of protector, and they have been adored because of it.  The hunters, the warriors, all the way to the members of our armed forces and law enforcement and fire departments today.  Men generally have an innate sense of obligation to protect people.

Feminists will argue that women can do these jobs just as well as the men.  They point to a number of women doing these very jobs as proof that men are no longer needed to serve as protectors.

There’s a problem with this, however.

On average, men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women.  This is a fact, and unless facts are misogynistic all on their own, there’s not much modern feminism can do about it.

Facts, however, can be pointed out, and I’ll do just that now.

Recently, the 2016 Rio Olympics concluded.  That gives us a great spot to look for comparisons among the strongest and fastest of each gender.

Men are bigger

In weightlifting, it’s not just how much weight you lift, but how much you lift in comparison to your body weight.  As such, Olympic weightlifting has weight classes.

The largest men’s weight class is 105 kg and over, while the women’s is 75 kg and over.  That’s a 30 kg difference or 66 lbs.

Now, for comparisons on strength, we needed to find two weight classes that were similar.  They do exist, with the men’s 62 kg class versus the women’s 63 kg class.

However, the 62 kg class is the second smallest class for men, but it’s the middle of the pack for the women’s classes.  Why?  Because men run bigger.

Men are stronger

Since we have two classes so close together in body weight, we can make a fairly straightforward comparison.

In Rio, the gold medal for the 63 kg weight class went to Deng Wei of China who set a world record with her lift of 262 kg, or 576 lbs.  Pretty impressive, since that’s over four times her bodyweight.

How would Deng Wei have done in the 62 kg men’s event?

She’d have placed 13th.

The win went to Óscar Figueroa of Colombia who lifted 318 kg, or 699.6 lbs.  That’s over five times his body weight.  So, weighing 2.2 lbs less than Deng Wei, Figueroa essentially lifted another whole person.

Men are faster

In the Olympics, if you want the title of fastest man or woman alive, you focus on one event: the 100-meter sprint in track and field.

Everyone knows the name Usain Bolt.  Even his name screams that he’s fast for crying out loud.  How fast?  He won the gold medal with a time of 9.81 seconds.

The fastest woman alive was Bolt’s fellow Jamaican, Elaine Thompson, who won with a time of 10.71 seconds.

That’s a difference of .9 seconds.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but keep in mind that the slowest man in the final heat of the 100 meters ran it in 10.06 seconds.

Thompson would have been trailing well behind the slowest man in the Olympic finals of that race.

These are elite athletes who spend significant time in being stronger or faster than everyone else.  These are the top of their game, and the men are still stronger than the women.  The men are still faster than the women.

Now, pit one of these women against the average man, and she’d kick his butt, sure.  But that’s what we talk about averages.  These elite athletes took the averages and built upon them.

While it’s important to note that the Millennial generation appears to not only be weaker than their fathers but may also be weaker than today’s soccer moms according to a recent study.

The average 20-to-34-year-old today, for instance, was able to apply 98 pounds of force when gripping something with his right hand. In 1985, the average man could squeeze with 117 pounds of force.


Millennial women fared much less worse in the study. Their average right-hand grip force is roughly the same today as it was 30 years ago, at about 75 pounds. Millennial women between 30 to 34 actually squeezed much harder than their forebears did, coming in at 98 pounds of force compared to 79 pounds in 1985. But this was offset by decreases in strength among younger millennial women.

That’s interesting and a little amusing, but the study showed again that men are, on average, stronger than their female counterparts.

Why does this matter in an essay supposedly about men being protectors?

It’s simple.  You see, one thing feminists are right about is that men can be a significant threat to women.  These are men who have eschewed the traditional roles of men and have opted instead for the alternate track of outlaw.

Because men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women, the average woman is at a massive disadvantage when facing a male attacker.  All else being equal, they’re at the villain’s mercy.  They always will be.

Sure, some women have studies self-defense, but the outlaw spends his life learning how to commit violence.  He’s good at it and has no remorse about using it on someone else.  A women’s self-defense course once a week won’t make the women a match for the villain.

The only thing that does is firearms.  A .357 is a .357 regardless of who pulls the trigger, and they allow the smaller to protect themselves against the larger.

Ironically, modern feminists are also anti-gun.  Go figure.

For generations, men took on the mantle the gun filled.  They protected “their” women, meaning women they cared about.  They often studied violence themselves so they could be better equipped should they encounter someone on the outlaw path.

Even today, this role is still significant.

Last night, I was talking to a female friend of mine going through a divorce.  She confided in me that when there was a “bump in the night”, it was she who ventured out into the darkness with flashlight and weapon to confront any intruder.  It wasn’t her correctional officer husband.

Now, this friend isn’t your typical woman.  She studied auto mechanics in school and now works for a company making performance parts for sports cars, but she’s also five foot nothing, a hundred and nothing pounds.  She’s tiny.

Her soon to be ex-husband does not meet my definition of man in any way, shape, or form.  The reality is, most people have a visceral reaction to such a story because they’ve accepted on a subconscious level that men go and check out the bump in the night.  On a deep, almost instinctive level, that’s something a man does.

Even FIMs who think possessing a melon baller makes someone a modern man somehow know that it’s the man’s job to protect his wife.

16. The modern man lies on the side of the bed closer to the door. If an intruder gets in, he will try to fight him off, so that his wife has a chance to get away.

The man’s role is to be the protector.  Period.

In fairness, though, this isn’t a role most men shirk.  Some do, such as my friend’s soon to be ex, but most gladly accept that role.  It’s part of why so many men own firearms for defense and why so many more study martial arts, MMA, wrestling, or other forms of fighting.

It’s imperative that men embrace this role in their families if they haven’t already, and begin preparing to visit violence on those who would harm their spouses and their children.  They need to accept that death is preferable to permitting harm to their loved ones because of inaction.  Trust me here, it is preferable.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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