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Manliness through the ages

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posted on Oct, 14 2011 @ 06:25 PM
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Manliness, what is it? How do we define it in society?

If you go by the beer commercials on TV, you would think it involves acting like a jerk and belching a lot. Or maybe driving a big gas guzzling truck while wearing a flannel shirt if you gauge your manliness by the truck commercials during the football game instead.

I found an interesting article that discusses how society has defined manliness through recent history and the changes of a man's role in society brought about by the industrial revolution and, more recently by the information age.


Graphing Manliness



The Industrial Revolution created great change not only in technology and the economy, but in the way people lived. Especially how men worked.

Not only were farmers affected, craftsmen were dealt a blow as well. After apprenticing for years to learn a trade that required deep knowledge, unique skills, and a steady hand, craftsmen found themselves replaced by machines which could do their hard-learned job in a fraction of the time.

For men who had felt their manliness defined by the owning of land or the membership in a guild, this was a wrenching change. What would being a man mean in the absence of the nobility of working with one’s hands and the dignity of true independence and self-reliance? Could a man still be a man while pulling the lever at a factory or sitting at a desk in an office?

Fast forward a hundred years and we find ourselves in the midst of another industrial revolution of sorts. Again technology–this time computers–is changing the way we live and work. Ironically, while the shift to men working in factories had society concerned for their manhood in the 19th century, today those manufacturing jobs are often used as the symbol of manly work–their disappearance linked to a crisis in manliness. The information age has made more and more jobs feel less and less tangible. At least the men in factories did something with their hands…can men still be men if they’re only using their fingertips? Today society wrings its hands about that question.

The Art of Manliness


Its interesting and somewhat sad to see how people have defined manliness by the work done by the man. Not all men are capable of holding what society would consider a "manly" job; some have physical or mental disabilities while others lack the temperament to put up with long hours of back-breaking labor. Some are more fit for office work or purely intellectual pursuits which can equally enable that man to provide for their family which, to some, is a gauge used to measure the manliness of an individual. Perhaps manliness lies somewhere in between the hard work one does and their ability to support a family?

The article does present another alternative for how to define manliness, one that relies more on the character of the man rather than the physical strain of his job or the amount of zeroes in his paycheck.


So how did our Industrial Revolution forefathers solve their “crisis” in masculinity?

By moving away from defining manliness by a man’s job, and re-rooting it in virtue and excellence. We say “re-rooting,” because defining manhood this way was not new; it was the definition also espoused by the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the books written around the turn of the century, books with titles like Stepping Stones to Manhood and The Making of Manhood, authors argued that being a man came down to character. A man was industrious and frugal, responsible and trustworthy, courageous and bold. This definition of manhood could be striven for by any man, no matter what sphere of life he found himself in. Whether he was tilling the land or working the assembly line or sitting in an office, he could live with honor. And so men adapted, and the crisis of manhood dissipated.



Perhaps if men had continued to judge their manliness by the virtue of their character, rather than by the caricatures found in TV commercials, the world would be a better place today, like the "good 'ole days" of yore when a man's handshake was his bond.




posted on Oct, 14 2011 @ 06:32 PM
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I think manlyness is a bunch of BS.
Gender should not matter on how you act and people who do are tools.
But on the other hand, Im queerer than a 3 dollar bill.



posted on Oct, 14 2011 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by FortAnthem
Perhaps if men had continued to judge their manliness by the virtue of their character, rather than by the caricatures found in TV commercials, the world would be a better place today, like the "good 'ole days" of yore when a man's handshake was his bond.


Well I don't know about others, but my handshake is my bond and no stupid tv commercials will change that...



posted on Oct, 14 2011 @ 06:37 PM
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Originally posted by spw184
I think manlyness is a bunch of BS.
Gender should not matter on how you act and people who do are tools.
But on the other hand, Im queerer than a 3 dollar bill.


I don't see what your sexual orientation has to do with your manliness as defined by the article:


A man was industrious and frugal, responsible and trustworthy, courageous and bold. This definition of manhood could be striven for by any man, no matter what sphere of life he found himself in.



If you live your life according to these virtues, it doesn't matter which sex you find yourself attracted to.



posted on Oct, 14 2011 @ 06:38 PM
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I think what really defines a man is chivalry, or some sense of respect and self respect. This applies even to homosexual/ bisexual men. It means giving up your seat to a pregnant woman, helping someone in need, etc.



posted on Oct, 14 2011 @ 07:03 PM
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My word is my bond. AND I wear a lot of flannel and drive a pickup.

I burp, too.



posted on Oct, 14 2011 @ 07:08 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft

My word is my bond. AND I wear a lot of flannel and drive a pickup.

I burp, too.



I HAVE A PICKUP TOO!



posted on Oct, 15 2011 @ 12:22 PM
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I wonder if the loss of manly virtues and gender role confusion is what is causing the accelerating collapse of society. If men would learn to treat each other honorably once again, could we turn this whole mess around or is there something else responsible for the distopian society we find ourselves living in?





Another thing I often wonder about is whether there ever really was a time known as the "good 'ole days" or if this is just the result of nostalgia for the care-free days of our youth before we were forced to take on the responsibilities of adults.

If you look back, it seems they complained about the same problems that society is facing today throughout history.



posted on Oct, 15 2011 @ 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by FortAnthem

Another thing I often wonder about is whether there ever really was a time known as the "good 'ole days" or if this is just the result of nostalgia for the care-free days of our youth before we were forced to take on the responsibilities of adults.

If you look back, it seems they complained about the same problems that society is facing today throughout history.


Personally, I disagree. I think things are worse today. If you think I'm incorrect I'm OK with that; I'm open to the idea that I am mistaken.

I will say this, though. Thirty years ago, when a juvenile got in trouble, a probation officer could have a conversation with the father, and 4/5 of the time, you'd never see that kid in the system again.

Nowadays, 4/5 of the time, there is no father for the probation officer to have a word with.



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