Why Jerry Seinfeld Is Right: Hollywood Needs To Bring Back The Golden Era Of Dominant Masculinity

In a recent interview, iconic comedian Jerry Seinfeld said he’s had enough of leftist social nonsense – he misses the era of “dominant masculinity.”

By Jillian Schroeder4 min read
Dr. No (1962)/Eon Productions

Speaking with Bari Weiss of The Free Press, Seinfeld discussed his most recent Netflix film Unfrosted and his concerns about the direction of modern comedy. Early in the interview, Seinfeld explained the attraction of the 1960s for him as a filmmaker: “Well, I always wanted to be a real man. I never made it. But I really thought when I was in that era – it was JFK, it was Muhammad Ali, it was Sean Connery, Howard Cosell – that’s a real man. I want to be like that someday.” While Seinfeld doesn’t think he’s lived up to the ideal personally, he misses it in our society. “I miss a dominant masculinity. Yeah, I get the toxic thing, I get it. But still, I like a real man,” he said.

Not everybody was happy with Seinfeld’s opinion, though. Many users on X reacted to Seinfeld's comment, claiming that it was another example of the red pill ideology espoused by figures like Andrew Tate.

Is Seinfeld right to yearn for an age of “dominant masculinity,” or is this more of the same red pill ideology poisoning the hearts of today’s young men?

What Does Seinfeld Mean by “Dominant Masculinity”?

Most hot takes of Seinfeld’s comments focused on his final phrase: “dominant masculinity.” Fixating on the idea of dominance – a power and superiority over another – Seinfeld’s critics have interpreted the comment to uphold “old-fashioned attitudes” that disrespect the lives and work of women. But the key to understanding Seinfeld’s opinion is to take a closer look at the examples of masculinity he listed: John F. Kennedy, Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery, and Howard Cosell.

We live in a time that is all too familiar with the darker secrets of Kennedy’s affairs with women, including Marilyn Monroe, so it’s easy to forget Kennedy’s public virtues because of his private sins. But Kennedy’s era in the White House, however brief, was known as a “Camelot” – a thriving of art, culture, and the spirit of chivalry in America. Kennedy was the leading political figure behind man’s trip to space, an early supporter of the civil rights movement in the United States, and an early voice warning against the failing health expectations in public schools. Whatever his private failings, Kennedy’s public leadership did much to lead America in the right direction before his tragic assassination.

Cecil Stoughton/White House/Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Cecil Stoughton/White House/Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Boxer champion Muhammad Ali was a real-life Rocky, only better. Born into a racially segregated South, Ali rose to become one of the greatest boxers ever to live. Ali won all but five of his 61 boxing matches during his career and won a gold medal representing the United States at the 1960 Olympics. Ali was an outspoken advocate for the civil rights movement and provided a vision for physical and moral strength for countless young men of the 1960s and 1970s.

Actor Sean Connery is best known for originating the role of James Bond in 1962’s Dr. No. Suave, well-dressed, and deadly with a silencer, Bond – otherwise known as Agent 007 – is the best agent in the British service. He meets each challenge with calm and confident expertise. Bond isn’t without his share of problems as a character, being one of the most notorious womanizers in cinema. But with over 27 films made about the character, Bond speaks to every man’s desire to have adventures that require more than mere brawn.

The inclusion of Howard Cosell – a bombastic sports newscaster from the 1950s-1980s – may seem like a surprising figure to include in this list of “dominantly masculine” men, or at least it was to many responders.

But Cosell had a reputation for speaking his opinion boldly in every situation, without mincing words for social or political pressure. His praise, like his more abundant criticisms, was completely genuine. His inclusion speaks to the importance of courage – regardless of a man’s profession.

While each of these figures may have problems if taken on their own, I think that taken together, these examples of masculinity paint a clear picture of Seinfeld’s image of “dominant masculinity.” A dominantly masculine man is a leader in his community, a cultural and political force, who has physical strength and strength of conviction, and who knows how to dress and speak well. It’s a man who is unphased by challenges in life and is not afraid to speak his perspective because of what people will think of him. 

Andrew Tate Is Not an Example of Dominant Masculinity

On the surface, millionaire social media personality Andrew Tate may seem to share these traits with Seinfeld’s heroes. Tate’s boldly public misogyny and his open opinion about the supposed biological right for men to be promiscuous may remind us of Cosell’s out-spoken commentary or James Bond’s suavity. Is Seinfeld upholding this kind of red pill ideology which has arisen in reaction to modern feminism?

To answer this question, we need to have a clear idea of exactly what figures like Andrew Tate are telling the lonely young men who listen to them. Tate preaches that men find their identity by asserting dominance over other people – especially women and especially through sex. In Tate’s view, a man’s masculinity can be measured by the number of women he has slept with, not the degree of faithfulness he shows to a single woman. He believes a man shows his value by conning women into working for him instead of working hard to provide for his own woman.

But there’s one, very crucial difference between the red pill ideology of someone like Tate and the dominant masculinity that Seinfeld misses in our society. A man’s masculinity should be dominant in and over himself. A real man finds his confidence not in controlling other people, but in having complete control of his own interactions with others. A man’s masculinity finds dominance not in a high body count, but in a deeply committed relationship with one woman. Ultimately, Tate’s view of masculinity places the deciding factor of whether a man measures up on his control of everyone except himself. That’s not dominant masculinity – it’s weakness masquerading as strength. 

Hollywood Needs More Dominant Masculine Leads

Seinfeld isn’t the only one who misses an age where men were honored for being truly masculine. Many of Hollywood’s most successful careers have risen to fame when a truly masculine man – such as adventure star Errol Flynn – is paired with a feminine woman – such as Dame Olivia De Havilland. Leading couples Flynn and De Havilland made eight films together, tapping into the deep desire audiences have to watch men and women experience adventures together – and as a huge part of that, watching a real man use his masculinity for good.

Nor does this mean that the female characters are always cookie-cutter images of one another (nor, for that matter, are the men in these stories). De Havilland’s prim and well-spoken heroines are extremely different from the wild personas portrayed by Irish star Maureen O’Hara. But O’Hara and her co-star John Wayne captured the beauty of the way femininity and masculinity balance each other out in films like The Quiet Man.

When stories allow men to be truly masculine, they bring out the best in their female co-stars – as true in real life as it is in the movies. As an audience, and hopefully as a culture, we’ve grown weary of the same agenda-based stories which preach that one gender is superior to the other. With the increasing popularity of leading couples such as Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, I’m willing to bet that Jerry Seinfeld isn’t the only one who’s ready to get back to dominant masculinity – in the movies and in real life. 

Closing Thoughts

Actor Jerry Seinfeld expressed a desire to return to the days when real masculinity was dominant in men, and we’re right there with him. This wasn’t a plug for red pill ideology – Seinfeld’s examples of masculinity show a respect for men whose confidence comes from controlling themselves, not from controlling other people. With even iconic figures like Jerry Seinfeld pointing out the insufficiency of our modern expectations for masculinity, it’s about time for Hollywood and the entertainment industry to take notice and make room for masculine heroes once more.

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