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Defining Manliness January 26, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

Seems like people are always trying to define what a “man” is. I remember a few years back when some yahoo had a list of manly attributes. Among them was “charging his wife and kids’ cellphones at night.” He was thoroughly and justly mocked.

Today Instapundit linked to a commendable essay which talks about the definition of manhood.

Man among men


On what it means to be a man.

The debate about Burke reminded me of the debate about men: what makes a man? One way of answering this question is to go about it the way the short historian approached Burke, to describe men’s beliefs and influences. The psychologist James Mahalik did exactly this in 2003 when, along with a team of researchers and postgraduates, he created a list of twelve “masculine norms . . . Winning, Emotional Control, Risk-Taking, Violence, Dominance, Playboy, Self-Reliance, Primacy of Work, Power Over Women, Disdain for Homosexuals, Physical Toughness, and Pursuit of Status.” Being a man is, in this sense, about the possession of certain qualities. Jack Donovan arrives at a similar conclusion in his book The Way of Men (2012): “Strength, courage, mastery, and honor,” he writes, “are the fundamental virtues of men because without them, no ‘higher’ virtues can be attained.”

After considering these and other perspectives, the author decides that a man can be defined by his roles as son, brother (in the sense of being a brother to all men), husband, and father.

That’s not bad, but I’ve had simple working definition I’ve become fond of, which I think covers the concept of manhood pretty comprehensively:

A “real” man is a man who does what it takes to support and protect his family, friends, community, and country using honorable means.

Same definition I have for a real woman, actually. Or any human.



1. Eric - February 2, 2023

Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .

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