The concept of masculinity as a societal construct has been consuming my thoughts recently. Whether we’re talking about Mel Gibson’s brutal rants, Al Gore’s alleged sexual exploits, or any number of recent instances where men fail to act in a responsible fashion, I think it’s time men took a long hard look at ourselves. American masculinity has never desired to truly examine itself in any detail. Seemingly obsessed with looking and acting the part, men rarely do the hard work of self-reflection. We are, in many instances, just as reactive and instantly defensive as the people we criticize. Though we feign strength, more than a few have confused true empowerment with a cheap imitation–one which is about as deep as the average beer commercial or men’s magazine article.