It’s Time For a “Menaissance”

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 27, 2008 · 81 comments

in A Man's Life, On Manhood

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Men are no longer needed. For the past 40 years, the role of men in Western society has diminished immensely. Before men were seen as providers and protectors. It seems the only thing men are good for is providing sperm for species propagation. But even that’s been taken away from them. Knowing their irrelevancy, many men are reporting feeling lost, depressed, and undervalued.

Solve one problem, create another

Men’s irrelevancy is due in a large part to the feminist movement. I think society owes a great deal to feminism. I don’t think any of us would want to live in a world where the only aspiration a woman has is becoming a wife and a mother. Thanks to feminism, women have more choices and men and women are seen as equals and given equal opportunities.

In the midst of solving one problem, however, we’ve created another. While the feminist movement focused on the role of women in society, little discussion was given to what men’s role in this new world would be. As a result, we’re left with men who are confused and lost about their purpose as a man.

A survey featured this week in the Telegraph UK sheds some light on how men feel about their role today:

  • 52% said they had to live according to women’s rules
  • 58% said they would prefer to be the main breadwinner, with 34% preferring their wife to be a full-time mother/homemaker, and 24% preferring their wife to work part-time.
  • only 33% felt they could speak freely what they thought
  • 67% felt it safer to conceal their opinion
  • more than half thought society was turning them into “waxed and coifed metrosexuals”

The Call for a Menaissance

One of the reasons I started The Art of Manliness was because I noticed this sense of disorientation in myself and in my peers. It seems as though as women became more successful men were content to fade in the background and become slackers. The only idea of manliness I saw in popular culture was the crude caricature of it found in Maxim Magazine or on Spike TV.

In response to this vacuum of true manliness, the Telegraph article reports that some American scholars are calling for a “menaissance”- a return to embracing instead of shunning real manliness.

The fact that men and women are equal doesn’t have to mean they are exactly the same. True manliness sees women as equals in every way, but at the same time recognizes and appreciates our differences. Traditional manliness was characterized by ideas of honor, strength, virtue, sacrifice, responsibility, leadership, and integrity. Women rightly argue that their sex embraces these same values. But is it possible that these values and characteristics might manifest themselves differently in each sex?

This is what I think is at the heart of the menaissance-exploring how the way men live out these values gives them a unique identity as men.

I hope the Art of Manliness can play a role in bringing back manliness and ringing in the menaissance. I started the blog with the hopes of discovering what manliness means today. I still don’t have all the answers, but I am enjoying delving into the questions. And I hope you all come along for the ride.

Survey Time

I thought it would be interesting to conduct a similar survey as the one feature featured in the Telegraph UK here at AoM. I’ve included the same questions and added a few of our own.

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mia March 28, 2008 at 12:33 am

Anyone familiar with the actual tenets of third wave feminism will know that todays feminist theory and practice is by and large ‘man-friendly’. Feminism is not about sidelining men, nor is it about making women into new and better men. It is simply the belief that the two should throw off the shackles of collective sexual stereotypes and live as authentic individuals.

While I understand that many men struggle with this idea, it is important for both men and women alike to become more aware of how society pigeonholes us and limits us. It’s all fair and well for men to say that they would like certain things, but it is important to take the reality of each genders experience into account. For example, even if a man would like to be the sole breadwinner for his household, this may not be a good idea for a variety of reasons; when a woman is financially dependant, the power balance in a relationship changes in favour of the man. Then there is the risk of serious financial struggle: how many households can comfortably run on one income, and what would happen if the husband were to get ill or die? A woman with no work experience and a child is a very vulnerable person indeed, as are her children. To have a spouse who is independent and empowered does not weaken a relationship, it strengthens it, because both parties ultimately have more abundance of experience in their lives.

Feminism is about trying to find balance in these situations. As feminists, women have the right to choose whether to be stay at home mums, career women, single or married. Or anything in between. Men are free to choose their roles as well. These choices seek to empower literally all of our society, as it also empowers men to be free to pursue their own authentic purpose. Surely thats a good thing for everybody concerned?

The very framing of your questions is somewhat problematic. Are these the only choices men have? To be ‘manly men’ or ‘metrosexuals’? To be ‘head of the household’ or ‘nothing’? Is it only ‘womens rules’ or ‘mens rules’? Do you not see how you are dividing and pigeonholing each gender? Why not ask your readers if they have found an identity, instead of having lost one? There are two sides to this coin. Yes, many men feel lost. Many women, too. But it is in this being lost that we have an opportunity to find ourselves, our true selves, free from the shackles of societal expectation.

2 Telemachus March 28, 2008 at 1:47 am

While I understand Mia’s objections, the main problem with feminism from the point of view of a lot of men is its need to “free” everyone from “traditional gender roles.” Um… we *like* being men, and we don’t see anything wrong with that. And we like that women act like women: feminine, and not like men.

This is the key reason the feminism and real humanism (i.e. not any form of “masculinism,” if anything were to unfortunately come to pass) are not compatible: one seeks to make everyone the same without any distinctions between strengths and weaknesses, and the other accepts those strengths and weaknesses, sees them as beautiful, and attempts to form a world in which strengths can flourish and weaknesses can be made up for by the strengths of “the other.”

Plainly said, women and men have traditionally been seen as being good at different things, and there is a good reason for this: because it’s true. Feminism has served to give women the idea that men have been getting the better half of the deal through the entirety of human history, and therefore should rebel and take what is rightfully theirs. It’s an idea that has created a war between the sexes, and men want the war to stop. I think a lot of women want the war to stop also, but many people who see life as a sort of “perpetual movement towards complete liberation from everything” want to keep it going.

It would be nice for sensible men and women to come together and have honest conversations about what their best roles in society are *in general.* Following this should be an attempt to make sure that public policy is not preventing the taking on of these best roles. Notice I say “not preventing” instead of “promoting,” because I understand that there will be exceptions: many women would like to work at least part-time, and there is no just reason to prevent that.

But women should have the humility to accept their responsibilities to humanity. Men don’t have wombs, ladies, nor breasts. We don’t “bear” children, and the attachment to our children is not as deep as that between mother and child. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. If feminists want to keep insisting on liberating themselves from their own biology, their own humanity, that’s their business. I certainly don’t want to marry a woman like that, but I suppose that’s all to the better right? I’m just one less man trying to tell a strong-willed, independent woman what to do.

3 Steve March 28, 2008 at 1:55 am

Thank you Mia.

I also found some of the questions skewed. I can only assume these were the questions in the newspaper as this blog is much more sensible. I have no such expectations of our media (hello from Nottingham, England). Unfortunately, not all feminists are so enlightened. Having experienced a spectrum of feminist beliefs ranging from peaceful co-existence to militant misanthropy to outright matriarchy (ironic if you consider the espoused goal) it’s apparent this finding of feet has a number of people stumbling over conduct to each other, societal function, role and identity.

There has been a shift in balance but it seems to have gone too far the other way in some cases and not enough in others; true equality is still far from here, be it in pay, attitudes to each other or in the right to fight and die for your country. The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.

As part of that society, a certain amount of conformity to expectation is inevitable and in fact desirable. How do we teach others? If we all explode away in millions of different directions much of our effort falls on fallow ground. Society should serve us as we serve it, when it doesn’t then a change in strategy is required.
Pagan friends of mine have noted in all this veneration of the goddess, there has been little to no acknowledgement of the male half of the equation, that of the god. Male mysteries have been displaced by modern society, the role of warrior, hunter and provider disenfranchised and with it, a chunk of male identity.

This is the essence of the article. Something is missing, an identity hinted at in the interesting book King, Magician, Warrior, Lover by Moore & Gillette. There is a lack of positive role model in today’s society where disaster is venerated, fear is thick in the air and the attitudes of the famous range from self-indulgent to spoiled entitlement. Because you’re worth it? Really? The metrosexual has something to teach us. Pride in appearance is good but obsession weakens people and conspicuous consumption is an evil we should stamp out. It’s not progress if people work $1 a day, it’s exploitation. Why support it? Just because a magazine says so?

We need to evolve. The alternative is death. Gentlemen, we have a job to do.

4 M Hunnicutt March 28, 2008 at 4:12 am

Really? There are THAT many men having trouble “coping” with the improving role of women in society? In the past, the world has been set up to favor men and now women are able to make most of the same life choices a man can. So what? How does this diminish your value in any way?

And who are these “men” that are concealing their opinions and not speaking their mind? If you can’t speak your own views , then you must either be ashamed of those views or, for some reason, afraid of women.

Yes, there has been little discussion given to men’s role in “this new world “. And do you know why? Because we’re men! We’ve always been expected to find our own way. No matter how many friends you have, you are ultimately alone. The subculture of men has always known this. We shouldn’t need hand holding! We’re supposed to be the cool heads. We’re supposed to be the ones to see a problem and fix it….not whine about it. I mean come on…deal with it!

I know some couples (older) who still cling to this idea that a man brings home the bacon and the woman stays home cooking and cleaning. From what I’ve seen, these women are in a subserviant role and the men are …well …jerks is probably the cleanest way to put it.

Your life lacks purpose? Do something about it. Get a hobby. Find religion (as a last resort only). Volunteer. Or try something new and radical… BE the role model that you feel society lacks. Love your mate. Father your children. Make that change. Personally, I don’t call being the breadwinner a “purpose”. If that’s all you’ve got, you’re in trouble.

Men haven’t lost their roles because of women. That’s ridiculous. Men lost their roles because they stopped trying. I would suggest to these people that they stop complaining and be men about it. You know… Walk it off.

5 Alex March 28, 2008 at 4:14 am

“Man-friendly”??? If you say so… But for the sake of argument let’s just quote a few well known feminists:

*”We are, as a sex, infinitely superior to men…” (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “One Woman, One Vote”, Wheeler, p.58.)

* “All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman.” …. “You grow up with your father holding you down and covering your mouth so another man can make a horrible searing pain between your legs.” (Catherine MacKinnon – Prominent feminist scholar at the University of Michigan and Yale)

* “I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He’s just incapable of it.” (Former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan)

* “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig”…..”Under patriarchy, every woman’s son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman.” ….”for a woman, the home is the most dangerous place in the world!” …. “The traditional flowers of courtship are the traditional flowers of the grave, delivered to the victim before the kill. The cadaver is dressed up and made up and laid down and ritually violated and consecrated to an eternity of being used.” …. “Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies.” (Andrea Dworkin).

* “Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.” (Germaine Greer) “Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience.” (Catherine Comin, Vassar College. Assistant Dean of Students).

* “All men are rapists and that’s all they are.” (Marilyn French, Author; and advisor to Al Gore’s Presidential Campaign)

* “To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.” Scum Manifesto. (Valerie Solanas)

* “I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” (Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor)

* ” “We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.” -from Sisterhood Is Powerful, Robin Morgan (ed), 1970, p.537.

* “Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women’s movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage” (Sheila Cronan, 1988 Houston National Organization for Women {NOW} Conference for Women.).

And since you are talking about choices and rules…let’s take this in the direction of dating. I really wish that we weren’t all so vain. Then everyone would be happy. The ugly men and women of the world wouldn’t feel left out. We would all be happy because we are loved for who we are. But that’s Disney love. I have never seen a model go out with a fat, short, bald, ugly, broke guy because he had a great personality….

How about who has to make all the moves? Make Decisions? Take risks? The Pickup? The Date? Who is expected to “be a gentleman” and cough up – i mean pay for everything? Bring flowers? Buy presents?

Is it fair that a man HAS to do all of that? No.

Ps. Next time you are about to get a speeding ticket kill your womanly charms just to make it fair…

6 Solomon Broad March 28, 2008 at 4:15 am

I don’t think it’s society that is turning men into metrosexuals. I think it’s the men themselves that are turning themselves into metrosexuals.

People behave the way they do because they get some kind of payoff from it. I’m not a metrosexual, so I wont try to guess as to what that payoff might be, but males must be acting this (or that, or the other way) for a reason. Some of it might be due to society, but I don’t think that all of it is.

7 Mia March 28, 2008 at 4:24 am

I’d like to respond to Telemachus.

It is true that a womans biology binds her to the role of ‘childbearer’, and this is inescapable. But to assert, as you have done, that men do not have as deep a bond with their children as women do is doing a huge disservice to men. Men can have, and in many cases do have, as deep a bond with their children as women do. If they do not, they are sadly missing out on a wonderful thing, and to normalise this disconnect, as you have done, is simply further perpetuating the kind of pain that many people feel in response to societal pressures put on them.

Furthermore, your assertion that men and women are ‘seperate but equal’ in their strengths is a little bit silly. Would it not make more sense to say that people have different strengths and weaknesses to one another? Are not all individuals different?

Men and women are seen as having different strengths and weaknesses because that is what society tells them. Men are ‘strong’, ‘hunters’, ‘protectors’. Women are ‘emotional’, ‘feminine’ and ‘soft’. Except that many men arent, and many women arent. Some are, yes, but development of these characteristics should be allowed to be a conscious choice. To say that the interplay of strengths and weaknesses between spouses can make a relationship strong is absolutely correct. To prescribe which strengths and weaknesses belong to whom forces people to behave in ways that are unnatural and restrictive to them.

When you speak about public policiy and men and women coming together to discuss who is best suited to what roles, you are not only denying the rights of the individual, you are also plainly ignoring the reality that all women live with. Men outnumber women in government. Men get paid more money (1 pound to every 70 cents earned by a woman). Men are, believe it or not, still in control of almost every aspect of public and private life. So when you speak of an equal agreement of roles between two parties, you are speaking of something that does not exist. How can a woman make an equal choice when she is not an equal?

Finally, to come back to what you say about feminists wanting to liberate themselves from their own humanity. I disagree. Feminists seek to reclaim their humanity, and all that that means: freedom, choice, respect, love and liberty of self, body and spirit. Feminist are not trying to neuter sexuality, they are leveling the playing field.

People often ask ‘why feminism, why not humanism’. They seem to forget that women are people, too! And they also seem to forget that empowering women – to earn as much as men, to have the same legal protection as men, to have the same opportunities – strengthens society as a whole. I will remind Telemachus of what I said earlier about how when women are given these freedoms, they are better equipped to care for themselves, their families and their communities.

Feminism will only exist as long as inequality of freedom and liberty exist. I understand that many people feel alienated by what they perceive to be feminisms focus on women above all things. But the reality is that in order to redress the current imbalance that exists, feminists must promote womens issues. Is that really so hard to fathom?

Men should stop being frightened of feminism and embrace the freedoms for themselves that it brings.

ps… I doubt this would be an argument if we were speaking about civil rights and the right of black people to be paid fairly and given freedom.

8 Jim March 28, 2008 at 4:50 am

This is stupid:

“manliness sees women as equals in every way, but at the same time recognizes and appreciates our differences”

Every way!? Men and women are not and never will be equal in every way.

9 Bob Ragsdale March 28, 2008 at 5:00 am

@ M Hunnicutt – Well said sir, well said.

10 Mia March 28, 2008 at 5:02 am

Oh, and, um. Alex. Wow. Those are some pretty hardcore quotes! I guess those women are pretty angry about whatever happened to them/ their sisters/ their mother/ their friends. But I wouldn’t say that a handful of radical feminists wholly represent the thoughts and feelings of most women. Additionally, lets not perpetuate the cycle of hate with hate. It doesn’t work.

11 Brad Voss March 28, 2008 at 5:35 am

The problem isn’t so much that we have become less by becoeing equal with females, the problem is that we have given up the strongest character of being male. We now either act as metrosexual euniques or as macho neandrathals. The best possible charetistic is a combonation of these two forms into what used to be called the gentleman. A gentleman knew that women played a part in their lives but that they were a totaly diffrent if quiet compatible race, never to be understood but always to be appreciated. t wasn’t out of condisation that we hold doors and pull out chairs for them but out of respect.
Machismo is not the only way to show your manhood and knowing how to do chores around the house does not make you less of a man, in fact if you don’t cook, clean, and carry your weight quit complaining that your partner doesn’t either.
The battle of the sexes isn’t about superiority, it’s about mutal and equal partnership between the sexes. In other words quit complaining and start doing your share, show some respect, and be a gentleman about looseing to your partner or yes you will become obsolete.

12 iamsofaking March 28, 2008 at 6:06 am

Much of what Mia said was beyond me; I don’t know anything about “third wave feminism” and I have not interest in learning any tenets, but she raised a few thoughts that were already ringing around in my head after reading this post. The ideas of “true individualism” and “authentic purpose”. Part of being a man is being your own man and recognizing that other people are going to be their own, as well.
Bravo, Hunnicutt, it looked like you took a lot of those words right out of my mouth. There is a phrase in America, “being the bigger man” that can apply to almost any situation. There is not a finite amount of personal power in the universe. Someone else empowering themselves doesn’t lessen you, so be generous with people; all people. Most importantly, be a man.
I’m seeing a lot of men crying here about ‘women are trying to do this….women are saying that….” So what?! Let them do/say what they want. It is offensive to say that all men are rapists, but its also far too ridiculous to be taken very seriously.
Hunnicutt said it perfectly, Man up boys!

13 Ar Gonzalez March 28, 2008 at 6:28 am

The Good Book says it well on 1 Peter 3, 1 and 6 (Amplified Version):
“1 IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives,
6 It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority).”

Obviously it´s not that women must be like slaves to their husbands, but to recognize the spiritual leadership that God has bestowed upon them.

Many blessings,

Art Gonzalez
Check my Squidoo Lens at: Quantum Knights

14 Teresa March 28, 2008 at 6:48 am

I agree. It is time for a mennaisance. Men have forgotten how to be men, and women have abandoned the art of being feminine.

Mia: I have never encountered a feminist that was man-friendly. They are mostly man hating “feminazis.”

Telemacchus: I agree mostly with what you said except for, “I certainly don’t want to marry a woman like that, but I suppose that’s all to the better right? I’m just one less man trying to tell a strong-willed, independent woman what to do.”

I am about as strong willed and independence-minded as they come. Yet I recognize that men are made to be leaders of their families and thus, my husband has the final say in big decisions. Don’t automatically assume that being strong-willed and independent means one unfit for a gentleman to marry. Personally, I love masculine men and I enjoy being feminine. I am more likely to encourage my husband to “man up” than I would ever expect him to be more like what society wants men to be.

M. Hunnicutt: You said, “And who are these “men” that are concealing their opinions and not speaking their mind? If you can’t speak your own views , then you must either be ashamed of those views or, for some reason, afraid of women.” I don’t know what world you live in, but it’s not the same one I do! Try saying you think women should be keepers of the home (or any other phrase that is “sexist”), and see just how fast you get attacked from every direction. Say it at work and see how fast your career is in question. You’d likely be in the HR office so fast it would make your head spin.

Then you said,”I know some couples (older) who still cling to this idea that a man brings home the bacon and the woman stays home cooking and cleaning. From what I’ve seen, these women are in a subserviant role and the men are …well …jerks is probably the cleanest way to put it.” Again, in what world? All of the women I know who stay home and raise their own children and/or take care of their home and husband are treated like princesses. There is a wide range of ages that believe in traditional roles. My husband and I are far from “older,” and he’s the sweetest most gentle man I’ve ever known. We just recognize that men and women are different. I have been a career woman and I’m here to tell you that being a homemaker is far more satisfying.

And then you said, “Personally, I don’t call being the breadwinner a “purpose”. If that’s all you’ve got, you’re in trouble.” It *is* a purpose. Husbands often work in jobs they hate just to support their families. Their daily purpose is to wake up and trudge in to work to earn money. A *real* man takes pride in supporting his family well.

Alex: You said, “How about who has to make all the moves? Make Decisions? Take risks? The Pickup? The Date? Who is expected to “be a gentleman” and cough up – i mean pay for everything? Bring flowers? Buy presents?

Is it fair that a man HAS to do all of that? No.

Ps. Next time you are about to get a speeding ticket kill your womanly charms just to make it fair…”

I love living in that world! Chivalry rocks. The traditional dating roles are *supposed* to reflect a future relationship. You know, men being the breadwinners and supporting their families. And yes, I have used my “womanly charms” to get out of a speeding ticket. I love being a woman, and I love men that appreciate women for their differences.

Mia: You said, “Men outnumber women in government. Men get paid more money (1 pound to every 70 cents earned by a woman). ” Men outnumber women in government because they are supposed to be leaders. They are warriors and protectors. They don’t take time off because they’re having their period or because they are pregnant. Most women *shouldn’t* make as much money as men for those same reasons. The day a woman delivers her baby and is back in the office within one day, I will believe in equal pay. Of course, that would be one messed up child being raised in an institution (daycare) rather than by it’s mother as it should be.

Then you said, “Additionally, lets not perpetuate the cycle of hate with hate. It doesn’t work.” Appreciating that men and women are different and fulfilling the roles that God/nature intended is far from hating. It’s freeing people up to be what they are naturally inclined to be. When i was a career woman, I thought I was fulfilled and happy. And then I got married and was forced (for many reasons, not because my husband forced me…) to be a homemaker. I would never willingly go back to being a career woman! I was made to be a homemaker and to take care of my husband and/or children. I am more fulfilled now than I ever was as a career woman.

Brad Voss: I love the first paragraph you wrote!

Personally, I would never have married a man who expected me to be just like him. If he wanted me to go to work and bring home a wage, I would see that as throwing off the natural balance. My husband was only 19 when we met, (I’m a bit older) and he is a true gentleman. So it’s not an age thing, it’s a character issue.

We really struggled financially in the beginning, but now, 4.5 years into our marriage we are doing much better. Still, we don’t live in an expensive home or have many of the luxuries households with two incomes have. But we do have a harmonious relationship with both of us feeling like we are fulfilling our natural roles.

Most men that my husband encounters are jealous of the way he is taken care of. He can come home from a hard day at the office and relax. He doesn’t have to worry about doing chores, balancing the checkbook, or cleaning the cat box. He does chip in on weekends, but I mostly just want him to relax. I do most of the cooking, pack his lunches, and keep the house clean.

I have to laugh when people ask me what I do all day as a housewife (we don’t have children.) Being a good homemaker takes time. Yes, I do have a lot of free time too and I have no problem keeping busy.

I call myself a feminINEist. Feminists have ruined the art of being a lady. I like being feminine. It doesn’t mean I’m less than anyone. I do the repairs to our house, I can do minor repairs on a car, I can do anything a man can do… except be a man.

Being in a marriage that appreciates the roles of male and female are meant to be different doesn’t mean we don’t exercise our unique strengths and weaknesses. I do the repairs because I am patient and logical in my thinking. My husband takes on some of the traditionally female roles in our marriage as well, because he is better at them than I am.

But that’s just my two cents.

.

15 Cameron Schaefer March 28, 2008 at 6:49 am

ahh Brett, I can always count on your blog for some lively debate early in the morning as I drink my coffee….great post!

I think one of the biggest problems is how men are displayed on television…they’re always dumb, fat, immature, lazy, senseless, simple-minded, cowards that let their wives make all the decisions.

This is not how men should behave, but we have generations of kids thinking that the husbands in a marriage are supposed to be dopes while their sophisticated wives really run the house.

I agree, a menaissance of some sort is needed. Men just need to be men.

Cameron

16 John March 28, 2008 at 6:56 am

@Art:

That sort of attitude is the problem. My wife is neither my slave nor my servant. She does not need to ‘submit’ to me. She is my partner: an equal player in our relationship. We have different abilities, to be sure, but she is not in any way less than me.

If you really want to feel manly, become a daddy. Note that I didn’t say ‘father’: any man can become a father with a shot in a cup or a broken condom. Being a daddy is the manliest job there is, just as being a mommy is the womanliest. It encompasses all of the virtues that traditional manliness espoused.

John.

17 Andrew Flusche, Virginia Lawyer March 28, 2008 at 7:15 am

Awesome survey! And I’m amazed to see such strong participation, even though you have several questions. Slick!

18 pete March 28, 2008 at 7:26 am

Can’t we all just get along?

19 iamsofaking March 28, 2008 at 7:51 am

Teresa:
I am not an expert on feminism, but it seems that the idea of equality among the sexes is to empower EVERYONE to be able to choose the roles that they will play in society and relationships. If you enjoy staying home and standing by your man, then please do so and enjoy it. That isn’t for everyone. Mrssofaking is probably a little more ‘manly’ than you would like to be, but for me, she is the perfect partner for the life I want. Different strokes.
A ‘menaissance’ should be about us, men, helping each other define what is manly and what are the manly traits that we should expect in ourselves and each other. Much of what is manly is not very glamorous and does not get much play in our culture while the animals on television sniff each other’s farts or whatever, but the world still needs strong confident men who value the kinds of things talked about here: consistency, servitude, sacrifice, etc.

20 Dan March 28, 2008 at 8:23 am

I think it comes down to a matter of how much freedom is the best amount.

Some people make it sound like finding a purpose in life is simple. Finding a purpose in life is the hardest thing in the world. That’s one important advantage of traditional gender roles. They give us a fall-back purpose in case we are not among the few visionary people who can find a different one.

Also, I just wanted to note that while the feminist movement has taught everyone what misogyny means. Barely anyone knows the word for man-hating which is “misandry”. (Evidently Firefox doesn’t either as it has underlined the word in red as I just typed it.)

21 Modoc March 28, 2008 at 8:41 am

I agree that we need a menaissance. Thankfully I grew up in Vermont with a great father who taught me how to rebuild engines, shoot a gun, fight, be stoic, be a gentleman, take personal responsibility, and to do the right thing. But so many men out there don’t have the first clue about being a man, both in terms of “Manly Knowledge” (Yes, I’m all for a woman who can work on a car, but I EXPECT a man to be able to change his own oil) and in terms of acting “Manly” opening doors, picking up checks, taking personal responsibility. Yes, women can do all of these things, and I’m all for that, but the topic at hand is how should a man live, so that’s what I’m focusing on.

My wife is smart, tough, and a great partner. She’s also feminine, and appreciative of my “manliness”. I am taller, stronger, less likely to make decisions based on a moment’s emotion, and very good in a crisis; so I open jars, get things from tall shelves, fix our cars, and handle emergencies. She wears skirts and heels and makeup, and handles most of the household stuff (although I help with cleaning, and I love cooking). We get along very well. I’m no jerk, and she’s no willless-slave.

With regards to why men earn more than women, across the board, in my experience in the work place, often in management, it is very rarely sexism from management, and is typically a difference between how men and women approach work. Of course there are exceptions, and that’s great, but since the earning statistics are averages, here’s the average reasons why:

Men are more likely to show up early, and work late (is this a healthy work-file balance? Who knows, but I rarely see women putting in 10+ hour days.).

I’ve seen women leave work early or skip meetings due to “woman trouble” on numerous occasions. Men don’t.

Men tend to be more interested in planning their career advancement and tackling it hard.

Men are more likely to take initiative and aggressively negotiate for a raise.

So, as a manager, when Bill, who has been working lots of late nights to make the clients happy, has taken lots of initiative on advancing his knowledge or training, knocks on my door out of the blue with a detailed plan on his accomplishments in the past 6 months, and his plan to improve our business and his role in it going forward, and asks for a raise, I give it to him. In my entire career, I’ve only had one woman do that, versus probably 30 men. So yes, those men now earn more, because they’ve proven that they are, from a dollar standpoint, more valuable to the company, and are working hard to increase that value.

You’d better believe that I gave that woman a raise, and any woman who does the same will get one. It’s just they don’t seem to do it as often.

Really though, I think a Menaissance, has nothing to do (directly anyhow) with feminism or women’s roles. This is about us figuring out who we are and who we want to be. Part of that is figuring out what we like in women and what we want in a life partner, but that only affects women in the way that the free market does.

I don’t know about you, but I like a balance between old-school men and some metrosexual attributes. I’m well groomed, I wear Hugo Boss, I cook, I watch the ballet. I also rebuild engines, hold the door, get the check, work hard to support my family, can shoot a gun, win a fight, and perform CPR while calling 911 on speakerphone. I take responsibility for my actions and admit to my mistakes.

My view about who I am has nothing to do with women or feminism. It’s who I AM. Women shouldn’t see this as a threat.

22 M Hunnicutt March 28, 2008 at 8:42 am

Teresa,

There is a difference between speaking your opinion and forceing your opinion on others. If, while carrying on a discussion, you politely mention your beliefs without trying to force others to conform to them, HR wouldn’t have a leg to stand on and I for one would welcome the challenge. If, however, your conduct at work is is that of a judgmental, sexist bully and you create a hostile work environment then, yes, you’re probably in trouble. I still stand by my statement. If you feel you can’t express your opinion, it’s because you’re either ashamed of it or you’re not willing to deal with the confrontation. In which case, it wasn’t that important to you anyway.

As for the rest of your comments to me, I certainly see where you’re coming from. I know that if all I had to do all day was keep house for just my wife and I, I would find being a homemaker far more satisfying, as well. I do, however, take exception to the ease at which you assign men the daily purpose of waking up and trudging in to jobs they hate to earn money.

Yes. Real men take pride in providing for their families. Real men also take pride in a job well done, their children (if they have them), their skills and many other things. Being the bread winner is NOT a purpose. It’s not like most people “hear the call” and decide to work by choice. It’s a responsibillity. If a man lives alone, is his purpose to be the bread winner of his household? Is that something to be proud of? “Look! I don’t live on the street! I’m a *real* man!” No, that’s his responsibillity. It’s expected that he do his part to make sure his life is in order.

I don’t know what your situation is, but I know what it takes to clean the average house (without messy little kids), because my wife and I have shared these chores since we’ve been under the same roof. If that’s ALL you have to do, then you SHOULD pamper your husband. Because you’ve got quite the little racket going, there. If you’re putting eight hours a day in, doing housework, then you’re either totally inept in your “purpose” or you and/or your husband must be the messiest people on earth.

You and your friends are lucky to have husbands that make enough money to support two or more people. But the fact of the matter is most americans (I know there are other people besides americans on this blog, but I can only speak on what I know) don’t take home near enough to support two people comfortably. To imply that only *real* men are able to do so shows your disdain for and ignorance of the rest of society. No, ma’am. You do not live in the same world I do. I live in the real world.

23 Hayden Tompkins March 28, 2008 at 11:23 am

As a woman who was an older child in an abusive home, I had to take care of myself, my younger brother, and my father. I spent my childhood trying to keep my father from beating us and I went into a foster home because he tried to kill me.

My father mooched first off my grandparents, then off my mother while she worked two jobs so he could be a musician. Then he mooched off my grandmother again, me, me and my brother, my brother, and finally he is now living with my 85 year-old grandmother.

My brother and I went through the same set of circumstances, yet I ended up being ‘stronger’ than he was. I definitely think that ‘manliness’ needs to make a comeback, but not as an either-or scenario.

Asking if you’re “forced to live by women’s rules” or whether you’d rather the breadwinner perpetuates the either-or scenario.

‘Women’s rules’ tend to be aimed a house ‘stuff”. Don’t leave socks on the floor. Help with the dishes. Take care of the lawn. ETC. Women manage the households and, even in the days when men were the breadwinners, tended to manage the households.

Now that we are in an ‘enlightened pro-women’ age, women STILL do 65% or more of the regular housework. SO they have taking on working AND maintaining a household and often taking care of the kids.

Men, part of being manly, is STEPPING THE HELL UP. You know what needs to be done around the house. DO IT. Don’t keep putting it off, while calling your wife and nag, and complain how you are forced to live by women’s rules.

For my part, I am a very strong woman and I know this. I know that, if I wanted to, I could run roughshod all over my husband. BUT I DON’T. Sometimes I step back and he has to make a decision and I will SHUT UP while he does it. What works the most effectively is a division of labor – I manage household expenses while he manages our investments. I clean the house but he does the dishes and trash everyday. And we maintain FLEXIBILITY.

And I, and many women I know, are sick and tired of men who can’t take care of themselves, don’t have a clue, and are leeches on the women in their lives.

THE FIRST STEP TO A MENAISSANCE IS TO BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

1. Pay your own bills.
2. Clean up after yourself.
3. Do what you say you will do and don’t make commitments lightly.
4. Speak up!

24 Telemachus March 28, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Thanks for your response Mia. I’d like to address a few of your points and clear up some confusion. I going to try to keep this as short as possible so as to avoid “tl;dr.”

“Furthermore, your assertion that men and women are ’seperate but equal’ in their strengths is a little bit silly.”
I don’t recall asserting “separate but equal,” and I don’t appreciate my response being characterized as a throw-back to racial segregation in public schooling. I was saying that men and women have different strengths and different weaknesses, and it’s obvious to anyone that simply observes human behavior. Further, feminists seem to see differences and claim that they result from past injustices, and therefore by having everyone act in a homogenous manner, we will have overcome these injustices. I, on the otherhand, see these differences and claim they resulted from numerous causes, many of them biological, many of them historical, and most of them probably for good reasons.

“Men and women are seen as having different strengths and weaknesses because that is what society tells them.”
I’m sorry, I just don’t see it as being that simple. Once again, I think you take an overly negative view of the differences that arise between men and women. See last response.

“When you speak about public policiy and men and women coming together to discuss who is best suited to what roles, you are not only denying the rights of the individual, you are also plainly ignoring the reality that all women live with.”
Denying the rights of the individual I’m certainly not. The individual deserves as much freedom as possible, but I’d also like government to stay where it belongs: out of the private relations between human beings. That’s why I say (look for yourself) “‘not preventing’ instead of ‘promoting.’”

“Men outnumber women in government. Men get paid more money (1 pound to every 70 cents earned by a woman). Men are, believe it or not, still in control of almost every aspect of public and private life.”
And? Is it because women are “discriminated against,” or is it simply what it is: more men in government? If you want more women in government, just vote for every woman candidate you see, and discriminate against male candidates. And even if the “men get paid more money,” so what? Is it arbitrary? What can you really do except try to prove to your employers that you are just as good a worker as anyone else. I’m not interested in increasing the oversight of government in order to pursue a utopian world of untrammeled “fairness.”

“Finally, to come back to what you say about feminists wanting to liberate themselves from their own humanity. I disagree. Feminists seek to reclaim their humanity, and all that that means: freedom, choice, respect, love and liberty of self, body and spirit.”
That all sounds very wonderful, and I’ll do what I can to help in my own personal relationships with women. But, yes, feminists are trying to escape their humanity. Example: let’s liberate women from the natural fertility limitations of their bodies. I’ve heard it discussed, the idea of freezing a woman’s eggs for later use. Then when she’s good and ready to settle down and have a family after all these years, but she’s worried about some of her older eggs (Down’s Syndrome, miscarriage) or worse, infertile, she can come into the lab and have one of her old eggs artificially inseminated and implanted in her womb.

“…they also seem to forget that empowering women – to earn as much as men, to have the same legal protection as men, to have the same opportunities – strengthens society as a whole.”
We’re not talking about legal equality, we’re talking about inate differences between men and women, which exist even if you were to write all the enlightened legislation in the world. All human beings should be equal before the law, that’s not terribly controversial.

“ps… I doubt this would be an argument if we were speaking about civil rights and the right of black people to be paid fairly and given freedom.”
Not all “rights” movements are created equal (forgive the pun). Blacks really WERE discriminated against, *explicitly,* at almost every level of society. Your desire to equate the civil-rights movement of the mid-20th century with the feminist movement shows a lack of perspective. It’s one thing to repeal a law that gives more rights to whites than blacks. It’s quite another to have employers reporting their books to a government body to make sure that they’re being “fair.”

*****************

Let me end on a friendly note, Mia. If you are campaigning for equal treatment of men and women under the law, you have my support. There are many women that wish to work, and they should be able to do so without hindering. Women do not deserve to be pigeon-holed.

Second, men need to take equal responsibility for the upkeep of a family. None of this “honey, I’m home, where’s dinner?” crap. Buck up, men, be men, and help your wife make the food, clean the house, and all the other stuff. In fact, include the kids in these activities too; it builds character, damnit! :-D However, the model of woman home-keeper / man bread-winner is not inherently wrong. Only when spouses stop supporting one another and taking one another’s contributions for granted does division-of-tasks cease to be just.

I ask you, Mia, to please have some restraint in the actions you take as a feminist and try to understand that the cure might be worse than the supposed disease. I ask you to please take a libertarian approach to feminism, one that leaves proper change to individual relationships between men and women, and does not use government regulation to try to perpetually “even the playing field” as you say. You might find that the field becomes more and more distorted with every touch.

In closing, get ‘er done, and let your boys play with guns. This thread really is supposed to be about men getting back their “manliness,” and I’m all for that. I’m going to be a discriminatory gentlemen whether these pretty ladies like it or not.

25 Stephanie March 28, 2008 at 1:57 pm

“But, yes, feminists are trying to escape their humanity. Example: let’s liberate women from the natural fertility limitations of their bodies. I’ve heard it discussed, the idea of freezing a woman’s eggs for later use. Then when she’s good and ready to settle down and have a family after all these years, but she’s worried about some of her older eggs (Down’s Syndrome, miscarriage) or worse, infertile, she can come into the lab and have one of her old eggs artificially inseminated and implanted in her womb.”
Excuse me, why is this a bad thing?

“In closing, get ‘er done, and let your boys play with guns. This thread really is supposed to be about men getting back their “manliness,” and I’m all for that. I’m going to be a discriminatory gentlemen whether these pretty ladies like it or not.”

Do you have any idea how condescending and patronizing that sounds?

And what does feminism have to do with manliness anyway? And why does manliness always seem to come down to traditional gender roles anyway? Why can’t manliness exist outside of being the primary bread winner and having a stay at home wife or a wife that makes less than you or works less than you? does manliness have to have traditional femininity to exist? How did modern feminism strip away manliness?

26 Joe Ossenmacher-Bedford March 28, 2008 at 5:02 pm

“Menaissance” is the most metrosexual word I’ve ever heard. Just sayin’. ;-)

27 Bryan March 28, 2008 at 5:29 pm

I really think that the relationship between the sexes comes down to respect. That’s mutual respect, although I think that men hunger for it more than women as validation, while women see it as entitlement.
The point made earlier regarding male stereotypes is certainly valid; it is too easy to equate Al Bundy or Homer Simpson in a simplistic manner to just about any man as that seems to be the simple observation. Those stereotypes do a disservice to those of us that may have interests in sports or relaxation, but misses the point that those are superficial qualities too often dwelt upon. Many men have deeper qualities than that which are never appreciated in a noble sense, and thus follows the lack of respect.

In a word, what men crave more than anything is ‘respect’, and all too often it is reluctantly given.

28 Mr. Funk March 28, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Menasissance == good.

Society telling men and women what they should do == bad.

We don’t need societal gender roles. What we need is for women to keep up the good fight, as they’re not quite done yet but they’ve got it in hand. And we need men to “harden the fuck up” and define themselves. Take care of yourself, *and* take care of your loved ones, grow a spine, get some self-confidence, and get out there and face the world.

To dumb it down a bit – the ability to grow a bit is manly. Having a beard simply means there’s hair on your face.

29 KevinH March 28, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Yes we do need a “Menaissance” because there are tons of men who, because they love women and want to be with them, try to show their respect for their independence but in doing so forget that they need to assert themselves and their manhood as well.

This generation of women is incredibly difficult to understand. They have more choices than ever and they believe they deserve everything. They want to be treated like a man in the boardroom and like a lady in the bedroom. They want equal pay yet demand they be paid when they leave to start a family. They bemoan a man’s lack of sensitivity yet demand his assertiveness when she think it’s necessary.

Men will never understand women. Instead of trying to they just need to be men and follow their own hearts to find what masculinity means to them. Just as women shouldn’t accept a man’s definition of womanhood a man shouldn’t accept a woman’s definition of manhood.

Certainly we all want to live in a world where everyone is respected for who they are regardless of sex or race. The women’s rights movement has done alot of good in helping women gain independence so their fortunes aren’t tied to a man’s income, but I would draw a distinction between women’s rights and feminism. Feminism goes beyond equal treatment under the eyes of the law. It serves to promote women at the expense of men and if you say that’s fair given the previous oppression of women, well then feminism is no better than what it tried to replace.

As an aside, women…do you know why men treat women poorly? Because it works. You see most men love women yet women just don’t respond to the good nature men have in them. If the easiest way to get to a woman’s heart was “being nice” you’d have a line of men at your door or welcoming you in for who you are. I just think it’s an important point to remember, because most women are complicit in their own problems with men. Sad, but true.

30 Stephanie March 29, 2008 at 12:07 am

“Feminism goes beyond equal treatment under the eyes of the law. It serves to promote women at the expense of men and if you say that’s fair given the previous oppression of women, well then feminism is no better than what it tried to replace.”

that is not feminism. Feminism is the belief that both sexes should be politically, socially, and econimically equal. nothing less nothing more.

“As an aside, women…do you know why men treat women poorly? Because it works. You see most men love women yet women just don’t respond to the good nature men have in them. If the easiest way to get to a woman’s heart was “being nice” you’d have a line of men at your door or welcoming you in for who you are. I just think it’s an important point to remember, because most women are complicit in their own problems with men. Sad, but true.”

Do you know there are “nice guys” out there that think women should be required to put out for them for just being nice to them? There is a difference between being nice and being a door mat. If being nice isn’t working for you then you might want to double check to make sure you’re not a door mat.

31 jostua March 29, 2008 at 3:53 am

This has become a very interesting conversation. And, in fact, all of the discussions on this blog have been very interesting. I want to congratulate and thank Brett for stirring up the issues so that some talk can be explored around these weighty and poignant matters.

I’ve noticed a few themes crop up here, and I wanted to add a few thoughts to the stew to see if I can help make it a bit more digestible. It appears to me, based on what little I’ve read and what I’ve seen written here, that the Feminism movement is about clearly establishing that a woman has the capacity to fulfill what ever role in society she feels best suited for. Feminism also says that society should support a woman in her choices, and not impede her based solely on her gender. Every person, regardless of who they are, should have access to every opportunity to fulfill their desires. Feminism focuses on women because for countless years, these opportunities have been denied to women. With only a few notable exceptions, I don’t think anyone here disagrees with this.

Feminism is also telling men, and rightly so, that just because we have a penis, it doesn’t mean we are all powerful. I think more men are having trouble dealing with this concept. This has been told to men through so many different ways, that it’s almost impossible to identify all the various methods through which we are taught to feel superior.

Men love roles. We love the hierarchy that they imply. Hierarchy is important to men, because it tells us how we fit into the social structure around us. This is how men relate to everyone else, but especially other men. We’re constantly jostling to see who is going to shake out to be Alpha Male, or fully accepting the rank we know we belong in. With Feminism stripping roles out of the gender equation, men suddenly find themselves without a connection the social order. We don’t know how exactly to deal with a rankless system. And, to have equality, we can’t assign rank. This means that we need to stop talking about gender roles entirely. Roles imply a system of hierarchy.

The Menaissance is a call for men to build their identity in this new gender equality. When we can do that, we will start to support women in their endeavor to become equal in society. This call to “man up” and lead the virtuous life is none other than a call for man to raise to his own strengths, support everyone in their struggle to serve humanity in what ever way they see fit, and find his own best fit in service to humanity.

I’ll end with some words given in a talk to the Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1912. They are as important now as they were then, more so as with all the successes we’ve seen in the past 96 years, and the amount of work we are still facing:

“To accept and observe a distinction which God has not intended in creation is ignorance and superstition. The fact which is to be considered, however, is that woman, having formerly been deprived, must now be allowed equal opportunities with man for education and training. There must be no difference in their education. Until the reality of equality between man and woman is fully established and attained, the highest social development of mankind is not possible. Even granted that woman is inferior to man in some degree of capacity or accomplishment, this or any other distinction would continue to be productive of discord and trouble. The only remedy is education, opportunity; for equality means equal qualification. In brief, the assumption of superiority by man will continue to be depressing to the ambition of woman, as if her attainment to equality was creationally impossible; woman’s aspiration toward advancement will be checked by it, and she will gradually become hopeless.”

(Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 75)

32 Skellie March 29, 2008 at 5:24 am

Prepare for the longest comment ever ;-).

I’m sorry to see the blog head in this direction, Brett. The “men have lost their way because of feminism argument” has been restated in a thousand ways by a thousand different people over the last fifty years.

If men have lost their way, it’s because traditional definitions of masculinity are inextricably tied with dominance. If men are forced to define themselves around dominance (over both women and other men), then increased equality will send that identity haywire. Look at the questions above — the wording is different, but each question asks, at its core: in this situation, do you feel dominant, or passive?

Living by women’s rules = lack of dominance.
Not being main breadwinner = lack of dominance.
Not being head of the household = lack of dominance.
Embracing metrosexuality = embracing definitions of masculinity less tied up with dominant behavior.

If men are defined around dominance and dominant behaviors, women have to be subordinate. You can’t have joint dominance. That’s equality — which removes dominance and subordination. Equality won’t work unless we start to change the way we think about gender roles to include masculinity de-linked from dominance, and femininity de-linked from subordination.

Here’s the problem: men are expected to be dominant, yet they’re not allowed to to take part in the behaviors of dominance. They’re not supposed to control women, to tell them what to do, to keep them in the home. They’re no longer supposed to be the head of the household. They’re not supposed to fight other guys.

My question is: will this ‘Menaissance’ involve strengthening the bonds between masculinity and dominant behavior (and thus, the link between femininity and being subordinate) — or — will this ‘Menaissance’ move towards redefining masculinity in such a way that it is not necessary to dominate others in order to be masculine?

The truth is, as long as you link masculinity with dominance, that dominance will continue to be expressed in unhealthy ways — in violence, in humiliation of other men, in sexual violence, and so on.

In your example of feminism changing everything, what you’re really saying (and I don’t think you’re doing it consciously), is that: once men were allowed to be dominant, now they’re not allowed to be dominant, and because dominance is inseparable from masculinity, men no longer know how to be men, and this is bad. I don’t think this is the half of it. The problems with manhood were around long before the first whisperings of feminism.

When you define your identity around power and dominance, you lose some of your identity every time your boss chastises you, every time a woman rejects your advances, every time you miss a shot in an important game of sport, every time you cry. If your identity is set up in such a way that is vulnerable to life — to actually being human (because no man can be in a position of power all the time), there’s something flawed in that identity. While men in the 1900s could exercise dominance much more freely, they surely felt any sort of humiliation, any signs of vulnerability or weakness *much* more strongly, more intensely. The more strictly you define masculinity, the more painfully you’re punished (and you punish yourself) for any loss of it. The argument that men were somehow better off in the past just doesn’t hold water.

And then there’s the small matter of women. If you’re defined around dominance, someone else must exist in subordination. Dominance only exists in relation to its opposite, whether that’s dominance over other men or women. If one man’s identity is being strengthened by dominance, another man’s is being fractured by not being dominant. If a man’s masculinity is being strengthened by being dominant over a woman, the woman is subordinated. None of these combinations make for a healthy society.

Next time you ask the question of whether something damages masculinity, ask: is that because it’s damaging dominance?

If the Menaissance ideal is about returning to an even stronger dependence on dominance and subordination as the lynch-pin of society, you can expect things to become progressively worse — for both men and women.

The current solution — traditional expectations on men combined with an environment that mutes their ability to fulfill these expectations is no solution. Neither is removing the barriers to male dominance — dominance only comes at the expense of others, and it’s often expressed in harmful ways — ways that harm both men and women.

A real menaissance would involve combining an environment which encourages equality with a masculinity delinked from dominance, and a femininity delinked from subordination. The problem is not men not being sole bread winners, not being heads of the house, and not running the world (as much) — the problem is that tying masculinity to dominance *makes* this a problem. Making the bonds stronger makes this *more* of a problem.

I hope your male renaissance moves towards a rebirth of masculinity. Of course, men and women are different. So are lions and tigers — does this mean one has to dominate the other? Equality and homogeneity are not the same. The kind of equality feminists talk about isn’t about removing difference, it’s about removing dominance and subordination. I can be equal to my friend Jordan and incredibly different to him. I can be good at some things he isn’t. He can be talented in areas I am weak. I can behave differently and like different things. I don’t need to exert power over him — he doesn’t need to exert power over me, and we’re both whole people if we co-operate rather than control.

That’s the kind of relationship between men and women a lot of feminists envision: far more than those who argue that women are superior, or that men are inferior. Feminists rarely critique men — they critique dominance in masculinity, and what it does to women, and what it does to men. Just as much, they critique subordination in femininity, and what it does to women, and what it does to men.

The world needs is men who are willing to be feminists: not men who argue that women are better than men (which is not feminism, that’s sexism), but men who push to de-link dominant behaviors from masculinity, and subordinate behaviors from femininity. That’s our greatest hope to fix this problem.

33 Sam March 29, 2008 at 6:59 am

First of, I love your blog a lot. It is very unique and I have learned quite a bit from reading it (like switching my shaving method!). Keep up the good work.

To my comment: I agree wholeheartedly that society has been doing their best to immasculate men. This attack takes place most powerfully in the media. For example, virtually ever sitcom, television show, or movie makes the man, specifically the father, out to be the bumbling idiot and the object of ridicule of both the mother and the children. He is a witless teddy bear while the mother is made out to be the quick thinking hero who saves the family.

Also, advertising regularly dumbs men down to beer guzzling, chest thumping, woman oogling, neolithic frat-boys. When the advertisers are not doing this, they ask men to be “sexy”, to get facials, manicures, and spa treatments. No wonder men don’t know who they are anymore.

Not only does this confuse men, it causes children to lose any and all respect they may have had for their father. Fathers used to be looked up to as leaders and rolemodels. Now they are considered fools who do not know anything and who are chronically stuck in the past. It is no wonder to me, then, that there is such a break down in morals and such a lack of respect for authority of any kind in young people. And I say that as a 19 year old.

I believer that God intended men and women to be equal. I don’t think there is much debate about that anymore. However, as you said in your post, equality does not always result in the same roles. The truth is, while men and women are equal in worth and rights, they are obviously equipped differently for different jobs, both physically and emotionally. Somone must take a leadership role or the family will fall apart. One person, speaking of the head of household, put it this way: “Anything without a head is dead, and anything with two heads is a freak.”

I thank God that I have a girlfriend who understands that men and women are equal, but different. While I would not have a problem with her working if she chose to, she actually wants to be a homemaker (isn’t that a shocker). I believe that every woman has a right to be a homemaker, and I am going to do everything in my power to ensure that she can be. She also values feminity, another lost art. She is not afraid to let me lead, and she does not view me doing so as opressive chauvanism.

While it sound nice to say that men must be seperated from a leadership role, it simply will not work. When traveling in a car, someone must drive, and someone must ride. That is no reflection on the worth of either party. I think it is high time we had a menaissance and the we men stopped being limp wristed doormats. Men were designed to lead, and I believe women, apart from the pressures of society, actually want them to. I’m finished.

34 pakcobra March 29, 2008 at 11:14 am

I haven’t read the entire discussion, so I hope I’m not being redundant and/or completely off base. With that said, I feel that feminism is one of many of the world’s great movements that has served to enabled the most basic right of humanity: to have agency. It is undeniable that woman have not always been free in the way that men have been free. Because of that, feminism was necessary because women, like men, need the right to have a choice.

Personally, through my own experiences as a woman, I have found that I feel most happy when I am embracing the more “traditional” role of a woman (namely that of being a wife and a mother – even a stay at home mom). I have never felt so confident, so fulfilled, and so balanced. However, I absolutely know that I could not feel this way if ultimately, this lifestyle was not of my own choosing. I have been to college, gotten a degree, and spent the major part of my life working – even at times working to support my husband while he pursued his education. I do not stay at home because that is what I have to do or because that’s the only thing I can do, but because I CHOOSE to live my life this way. To me, that is the beauty and purpose behind feminism. It was and is the means to giving a woman the avenue to make choices for her own life – to be a mother, to pursue a career, to be virtuous or to be promiscuous, dainty or rugged, etc. etc.

In the end, it must be said that agency is a great power because it enables an individual to designate their own course of life. With any amount of choice, consequence will follow. Men are not the only gender to have suffered from feminism – believe me. Equally, women aren’t the only gender to have benefited from the movement. I think a lot of men would admit that they are more satisfied with the type of woman that feminism promotes – a woman that is more confident, well rounded, and generally happy with a life of their own choosing.

But, in the end, what matters is that humanity as a whole, feels more empowered to make its own choices and then to live with its consequences. Giving mankind more choice in its course has had both good and bad consequences. The big question that I think all of us are trying to answer is: now that we’ve expanded the power to agency, how do we manage the results?

35 Sterling March 29, 2008 at 12:10 pm

i believe that people interpret the word feminism in many different ways. there are certainly varying approaches and goals between the different factions of ideas that are grouped under the umbrella of feminism.

the same fate could await a “menaissance”. i think that the majority of the readers of this blog would get behind a movement for a resurgence of confidence, respect, and self-respect for the modern man (whether he be rugged or metro). if anything, maybe we are getting an incredibly small fraction of what women may have gone through. luckily, if we are feeling disillusioned and that our masculinity is being challenged, we have every means to correct it. i whole heartedly agree with those that have said that we really need to “man up”.

sadly, i see some men taking it in a different direction – an extreme or exaggerated approach to prove their manliness, the drunken tough guy approach. by feeling threatened they may act out in violence (verbal or physical) to assert their manhood. this certainly isn’t what brett is getting at. i think the whole idea behind the blog shows that there is a need for the qualities and knowledge that seems to have been lost in this day and age.

i think that this may be what happened in some cases with feminism. i think they started out with noble intentions and then some took it to radical extremes. goals and philosophies differed, as did their means of achieving those goals. some are certainly good while others are not as productive.

i think that brett has started a very productive way to bring back “being a man.”

i will say one thing that has always struck me about the roles between men and women. i love watching college wrestling and boxing and MMA and participate in these sports as much as possible. when i have seen women fight, whether in the ring or the street, i get a feeling that the act is something so against the innate nature of women that it is very hard for me to watch. take that as you will.

36 Telemachus March 30, 2008 at 11:43 am

After this, I’m done with this thread. The internet is mass silliness, and almost every damn poster on this thread is evidence of it.

Reply to Stephanie:

“Excuse me, why is this a bad thing?”
The very fact that you can’t see how disgusting what I’ve just described is, makes me ponder the very viability of our species. Here’s an absolute for your Stephanie, and I know how silly little girls like you hate mean old men like me giving you absolutes: interference… in… human… reproduction… is… flat… out… wrong. See you on the battlefield.

“Do you have any idea how condescending and patronizing that sounds?”
It’s a joke. Get a sense of humor.

“And what does feminism have to do with manliness anyway?”
Nothing. Mia had some points, I answered them, and you’re too lazy to read the thread. Screw off.

37 Brett March 30, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Wow! There was a lot of heated debate while I was on vacation. I was expecting there to be given the controversy of the topic.

Thanks everyone for their comments. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

38 Patrick March 30, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I think in order to have a “menaissance” we will at least need this or the next generation of boys grow up and learn some character, if boys don’t have a good example of a respectable father figure to grow up to how are they gonna figure out how they should properly act?

I figure a lot of the problems that men and women face come from their families when they were growing up. If a boy grows up with a father who’s never there and a mom who has to keep the entire household going how is he supposed to learn respect and the proper way to act?

Boys need a positive role model and a hero to model themselves after, without one i figure men in the future may spiral down into a very unmanly, disrespectful type of person. Question is where is the role models for boys these days? Politicians? Television? Musicians? We first need to have some men step up in order to get a “menaissance” going.

39 Brett March 30, 2008 at 6:55 pm

@Skellie:

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. It definitely has given me something to think about. It wasn’t my intention to attack feminism or come off as a chauvinist. I didn’t even consciously think that men should dominate when I wrote the questions.
I agree with you completely that we should move away from the idea that men must dominate over women.

My problem isn’t with feminism. My problem is that there wasn’t enough discussion about what men’s roles would be in this new world. I think you did an excellent job articulating the problem: After thousands of years of defining masculinity as dominance, how would it be defined after we rid society of this hierarchy? I think that’s the big problem. For some reason it really didn’t get done (or done very well) and as a result men are confused.

That’s one of the ideas behind Art of Manliness- help men figure out how to define masculinity in today’s world. I don’t have the answer and I felt no one was really trying to give one. Hopefully, through writing and engaging in awesome comments like yours, we can come up with an idea.

40 Brett March 30, 2008 at 7:47 pm

@pakcobra:

Your last question was exactly the point I was trying to make. Now that men and women have more choices, now that there is less of a gender hierarchy (there still is one), what does that mean for men? How do we manage this dramatic change? My argument is that there haven’t been many answers. Especially from men. I hope this site can be a forum to discuss that question.

41 Oracle of Delaware March 30, 2008 at 8:40 pm

How in the hell did “Menaissance” become a dogma tutorial on feminism?

Why do the female commenters here, after lengthly dissertations about themselves, think they know anything about being a man?

Judging men thru the lens of “womanly charms” may get you favors, but does you no favor. And most certainly blurs your vision vis-a-vis manliness.

If the object here is to promote “The Art of Manliness,” you should find a better reference point than endless lists of women’s complaints of oppression by men.

If you believe that a notion such as menaissance is a relevant topic of discussion, you must have trouble grasping the fact that feminism is just another politically correct device used to control the thoughts and actions of perceived enemies. And, of course, perpetuate myths that men and women have different pay scales for the same jobs. That’s illegal, and total rubbish.

I suggest you get a man-handle on your own manliness.

42 mattam March 31, 2008 at 2:08 am

Probably this discussion evolved towards (anty/pro)feminism and male dominance as it is easier to define things through what they’re not. I’d argue that it is easier to achieve what you want than what you don’t want. I’d be very interested in learning where, in your opinion, this menaissance is leading and what could be the little steps or goals along the way.

Another thought would be that the definition pursued in this discussion would fail on… say a ship manned by 100 males (ie. no women!). Can one not ‘be man’ with only men around?

I’m in this funny country where, if I open the door for a lady, I’m being called a gentleman. Cracks me up every time and makes me think of getting a job at a proper hotel where I could do this all day long… tis good for the ego. Anyway, the fact is I don’t discriminate and will usually do the same for lads. When I was young I was taught this is just plain curtesy. But in minds of many this is displaying ‘gentlemanly posture’ – why not give it a go – perhaps it would be an option to start with the basics? Perhaps if we fish out all these basics, that somehow got lost in the modern culture, the list will be quite long and challenging… the right thing for a man to step up to?

43 Santa March 31, 2008 at 5:20 am

I watched the movie Secondhand Lions this past weekend. Great example of why we need a Menaissance. There are too many wimpy, prissy, metrosexual men out there who have been “brought up sucking on their mom’s tit and never been shown dicipline.” (that line is from the movie. lol) But seriously I think the root of the problem is also that the past few generations have become what I call “fatherless generations.” Children grow up in a world where dad’s aren’t around. A lot of women today end up pregnant and the father is no longer in the picture. It’s considered cool today for men to leave their wife and children for a younger woman. All this weakness in stepping up to be a dad carries on to the children, and so the sons of these fathers end up doing the same thing because they were never shown what it means to be a man.

44 iamsofaking March 31, 2008 at 7:47 am

@Patrick
Role models? That is supposed to be us. I’ll do my best, you do the same. I think we can do this.

45 Sarah March 31, 2008 at 8:37 am

I think there is a bottom line:

Men if you dislike the role models then become one. If you don’t like how you act, change it. Don’t blame how you feel about yourself on feminism and what women are doing. You chose how you act this goes for women as well as men. You chose who you look to for guidance and help. If you don’t think you are getting that, then find someone else to provide it, or just decide on your own to move to your own tune.

My husband made a choice a couple of weeks back and all I wanted to do was jump up and down shouting “Yay, my husband is no longer a sheep! He has found himself, by himself and is now moving forward.” So men if you need a change or can’t find what it is that is lacking, then change something. Don’t rely on anyone other than yourself to move forward and through your life to being whatever it is you are wanting to be.

46 BrokenJohnny March 31, 2008 at 7:13 pm

If Men and women are equal, Then how come every major inventor was male, every major world leader has been male, the majority of successful musicians are male, most soldiers are male, most politicians are male, and 70% of all prisoners we’re raised by single mothers?

It seems to me that Men are clearly the better sex.

menarebetterthanwomen.com

47 Art Gonzalez April 1, 2008 at 12:28 pm

@John. I understand your comment and my intent wasn’t to suggest some type of master-slave relationship with one’s wife. This verse from the Bible what suggests is a relationship at an equal level but appealing to each gender’s specific needs. Men need to feel respected and acknowledges as the head of the household. Women need to feel loved and treated gracefully. Men and women are equal to the eyes of God and it should be like that in society. But men need to regain and women have to acknowledge, God’s given leadership to the head of the household which is the man. A man, in the fullest sense of the word, must take care and provide of his wife and family and love them deeply. I do have a wife and an 8 year old daughter and I love them deeply and respect them as the special women in my life.

Many blessings,

Art Gonzalez
Check my Squidoo Lens at: Quantum Knights

48 Matt April 1, 2008 at 5:10 pm

It is interesting that so many women commenters freely give advice on what men should do as if they understood what it is to be a man.

In fact, this isn’t all that difference from feminism. Feminists have an abundance of opinions on how to make men better.

Listening to women about being a man is the reason why a “menaissance” is needed now.

Ladies, men would much rather take advice from a strong male role model than a “strong independant woman” about what it is to be a man.

Unfortunately, with so many bastard children being raised by single mothers, this problem will most likely continue until we find a way to re-establish strong families as the norm in our society.

In many cultures a woman is shamed for having children out of wedlock (excluding widows). There is a connection between the confusion among the sexes and the decline of strong families.

49 El Gordo April 2, 2008 at 2:53 am

Your article raises an interesting point about the type of male characters portrayed by the media. I have no problems at all with the idea of male grooming (after all, a dandy is a very manly character). In almost all cases, men are expected to be lager drinking, Loaded reading morons, quite content to sit on the sofa watching football. Women have the equivalent role in the media of the Heat-reading idiot secretary who eats nothing but Ryvita.

Both of these stereotypes are dangerous and damaging to society.

50 Billy April 7, 2008 at 7:21 pm

For hundreds of thousands of years we have evolved under certain roles. Then in a few short decades this was all turned upside down. Yes, it is a fantastic thing that women have equal rights and equal opportunities, but men need to re-learn what it means to be a MAN and this needs to be taught and re-enforced.

In my own searching I have found a very important fact. EVERY woman wants a MAN. Not a male, a MAN. And by MAN I mean a male who is dominant (not domineering), takes charge, knows what he wants in life and goes after it, doesn’t put up with second class behaviour, has healthy emotions and allows them to be displayed along with a host of other factors which create a MAN. And every woman (not lesbian) without exception wants one. But fewer and fewer men of quality are around today than ever before.

It is in women’s best interests that males become MEN again. It’s in society’s best interests that males become MEN again.

51 Jacob April 18, 2008 at 12:41 pm

I think the fact that women come onto the “Art of Manliness” board and start telling men what they should be doing is exactly why we need a menaissance.

To put it bluntly to the women who have commented, pi$$ off. Your kind of comments are exactly why we need a menaissance…women keep trying to tell men what to be…..MEN define men; not women.

52 Keith April 26, 2008 at 5:57 pm

” Do you think society is turning men into metrosexuals? ”

Men are turning men into metro’s. Like I read on this site, men are getting lazier and in getting lazier letting women ‘dress us up’. We have to look better because our women look better because they’re no longer holed up in the house, and we have to keep taking it to their level just to fit in.

When women didn’t leave the house, a man could be a slob and no one would care, because they wouldn’t compare him to how his wife looked. Especially if she’s wearing the pants. The whole metrosexual craze is actually an indirect cause of feminism, if indeed what the first poster said is true in that feminism isn’t meant to detriment males. Because of women wanting to look pretty, and now having the overwhelmingly abusive ability to do so (plastic surgery and olay creams), men need to compensate for women somehow outdoing us in some aspect of life.

Going metrosexual is the mans way of trying to adapt to be at the level of the women he wants to hang out with/attract, b/c usually men who aren’t metro’s have no chance in hell of picking up the bombshells.

The men know who the men are, that’s all that matters.

53 apollonian May 16, 2008 at 9:23 pm

First tenet of the Menaissance: the Menaissance mustn’t be framed against feminism.

The impulse to cast the “Menaissance” (this term is hard to take seriously; maybe “Masculism”?) as a response to feminism is evident in most of the responses to this article. When defenders of male values engage in wildly speculative arguments against feminist detractors, the Menaissance becomes a dependent of feminism. Obviously, men shouldn’t appeal to feminists for permission to undertake the project of describing and promoting manhood. Arguing to sway feminists against trenchant ideology reeks of seeking that which more men must divorce from: female approval.

Just as feminism expresses a female world view, the Menaissance must unapologetically define women in terms of the male ideal without appealing to feminist scholarship.

When Masculism is self-describing it can play complement to feminism, though it need never do so.

54 Brett McKay May 16, 2008 at 9:37 pm

@Apollonian-

There’s no way to describe the need for a resurgence in manliness without exploring the reasons for it’s demise. That would be like administering a cure without diagnosing the disease. (Although let me be clear that I do not think feminism is a disease, this is just an analogy). If we are to resurrect manliness, then we must explore the reasons for its demise. It’s not feminism per se that I have a problem with, it is just the vacuum of manliness it created by shifting the focus to women’s value and issues that is problematic. Therefore, as you said, there’s no need for defenders of manliness to attack feminists. But it is inevitable to make reference to it now and again.

55 apollonian May 16, 2008 at 10:01 pm

@Brett

I agree it might be useful to examine the current fuzziness of “manliness” as a motivation for describing and promoting manhood, but I think there is some danger of the Menaissance turning into a sort of revival against feminism. Coalescing the best male values into a sort of coherent platform for manhood is work that should be accomplished without a vindictive motive or feminist intrusion.

56 Dan May 23, 2008 at 8:45 am

“If you believe that a notion such as menaissance is a relevant topic of discussion, you must have trouble grasping the fact that feminism is just another politically correct device used to control the thoughts and actions of perceived enemies. And, of course, perpetuate myths that men and women have different pay scales for the same jobs. That’s illegal, and total rubbish.”

*Hear, hear!*

If no-one minds my saying so this has strayed from what seems to be a very sensible idea and one I’d support wholly to a mini gender war.

My partner and I have a very stable and more crucially, an equal relationship in everyway with regards to the relationship itself. People need to realise that there is no such thing as ‘gender roles’ with regards to the distribution of tasks any more other than those set by literal biological gender differences and we (my partner and I) choose to take on these tasks based solely on circumstance.

I do most of the cooking because I enjoy it and have the most experience however, if I were to have a rough day and come home obviously weary my partner will take on the cooking, and cleaning for me. Not because it’s her job to do the cleaning and she’s taking on the cooking for my benefit but because she loves me. Although she does, she doesn’t need to know that I would do the same in return, she does it out of love, as I do in return. Where does gender come into that?

I do however believe I have responsibilities as a man, just as my partner has hers as a woman…

I come from a single parent family, consisting of me (the youngest member and only male) my mother and my two sisters. I was a real problem child and I now know that it was caused by a lack of male influence. I was never scared of my mothers’ diciplinary actions as I was always stronger and therefore never really received any. Most of my outbursts would never have been if it weren’t for the fact that I had no suitable role model. In the same way, my sisters heavily influenced my development as they were my only peers.

When I reached my early teens this got to breaking point, living in foster care and in remand homes I came to realise what it was that was wrong and why. I had spent years unconsciously looking for male role models and failing, as I was not wise enough to make a good choice as to who that role model should be. Thankfully, I had two older friends that realised what I needed and what I was looking for and over a few years of friendship, taught me what it was to be a man.
Now I know, and it’s got nothing to do with who does what and when, it’s to do with maintaining an equilibrium.

When my children come into this world I shall teach my boys how to be a man and my girls what a man is. It is my opinion that girls need to be tought what a real man is to be able to avoid the hormonally impaired single parent factory scum of this world. If I show my boys that I have no respect for these people they will not respect themselves if they become anything like them and ergo avoid growing up to be one. I’m not implying that this can only be done by a man but I believe a woman would find it harder to impart this information upon their offspring as I would find it harder to teach my girls what it is to use a tampon or wear make-up.

Personally I think it’s as important for a man to express his gender with a straight back, square shoulders and a strong loving hand as it is for women to do so with expertly applied make-up, beautifully kept hair and a soft loving embrace.

I for one can’t wait to see my boys standing with a straight back, squared shoulders, chest out, head high and a proud grin. impersonating me, their dad, a man, and damned proud of it!

P.S. Bring back the hat!

57 Priya May 24, 2008 at 3:38 am

“Men are no longer needed. For the past 40 years, the role of men in Western society has diminished immensely. Before men were seen as providers and protectors. It seems the only thing men are good for is providing sperm for species propagation.”

I disagree, right now strong male role models are needed more than ever. As I work closely with teenagers, I have seen a pattern where young underachieving boys almost always lack a father figure in the home. Boys need to learn how to be a man through what they see in their family. An male authority figure is essential for a child when growing up. Many boys brought up in a single-parent family either become quite soft and ‘prissy’ or (more often) end up struggling with authority and often have very low aspirations.

Some men seem to think that being the provider and offering financial security is their main role as husband and father. With equal opportunities in employment, and the current economic climate this is no longer the case. In my opinion children need to grow up in a family with both parents showing them how to behave and teaching them values and a work ethic. So obviously men are not redundant, both parents are equally important in the family unit. A man to me is far more than someone who ‘provides sperm’ and money, this is just a small part of what a man provides.

Children need to learn how to form relationships, and they do this by looking at their parents. I want my children to see how important trust, mutual respect and love is in a relationship. I also want them to learn a strong work ethic and be kind, honest and know how to handle themselves. I need my partner to be there to show our children what a man is, so I am all for a ‘Menaissance’ if it gets you men to be confident and start to embrace your role as father/ husband/ partner. You need to understand that being the provider is not the main part of being a man.

Unfortunately in the UK with the Benefits system being abused by so many, it has become the case that single parents are entitled to more money than families that stay together. This has led to people not trying to form healthy and sustaining relationships. This is having a huge negative impact on society and has led to ‘CHAV’ culture in the UK. I strongly believe that if children have a strong relationship with their father, who provides a male figure than they can look up to then things will change for the better.

“In the midst of solving one problem, however, we’ve created another. While the feminist movement focused on the role of women in society, little discussion was given to what men’s role in this new world would be. As a result, we’re left with men who are confused and lost about their purpose as a man.”

I don’t think feminism has much to do with the change in the role of a man. Surely just because women are now in the workforce and have campaigned for the vote amongst other things- men should not be left questioning their purpose as men? The media is often at fault for the way men are shown to be inept and needing their wives to bail them out. This is evident in The Simpsons, and many other programmes. You can’t say it is because of feminism that men are feeling depressed as many of you admit to not knowing what feminism is. I’ll give you a very brief overview- feminism is divided into three waves.The first wave was in the 19th and early 20th centuries and refers to women’s suffrage movements which was concerned with women’s right to vote. The second wave was in the 60s and 70s where it was called women’s liberation and feminists campaigned for legal and cultural equality for women. The third wave is from the 90s to today.

Feminism is concerned with issues such as a woman’s reproductive rights, including the right to choose whether to have an abortion, access to contraception, protection from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape, equal workplace rights (things like maternity leave and equal pay) and other forms of discrimination. I think most men will agree that these are positive actions, and shouldn’t make men feel threatened. Come on men make this ‘Menaissance’ make men believe they can be what they want to be. What women do shouldn’t come into it!

58 Dave September 29, 2008 at 5:07 am

Great article. Men have had their balls cut off and it is pitiful.

It’s time for change (but not like a presidential one, a real one)

59 Jeffrey September 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm

If you haven’t read Wild at Heart by John Eldridge, you should. It really explains much of what men have gone through and are going through in our society. I loved it.

60 Aurora Erratic December 27, 2008 at 6:18 am

By all means, let’s have a Menaissance! Feminism is about creating a society in which no one is held back from his or her potential. If a Menaissance means that men are made to feel good and powerful about being men, then let’s go. I would be terribly disappointed if feeling good about being men means belittling or feeling superior to women.
Yes, I am nervous about the premise; there are already many men commitiing violence aganst women because of perceived humilation or disempowerment. I would hope an embrace of the masculine virtues would not include violence.
Unfortunately reading some of the other articles linked on this blog I do see more blaming and less empowerment than I think is good for anyone. We are strong, competent men and women: let’s take responsibility for our own lives and happiness, instead of looking for someone to point a finger at.

61 Aurora Erratic December 27, 2008 at 6:51 am

There is a part I don’t get. What’s up with wanting to make more money than your wife — i assume that is what’s meant by “breadwinner?” Why not, you do the best you can in terms of compensation and job satisfaction, and she does the best she can? Then everybody’s happy. Why would a husband’s accomplishment be meaningful only if it outstrips his wife’s?

62 Marty January 4, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Men are specializers, women are multi-taskers. Take any skill, art, ability etc. and the best person in that field will be a man. But compare your average man and woman, and the woman will be better at more things, and doing those things simultaneously, than the man.

For men to maintain their relevance in this day and age, they need to find what they are excellent at, and pursue that with all that they can muster. Men will always be leaders in their chosen path if they choose correctly.

Rather than encourage “empowerment” for either sex, I would encourage men and women to seek harmony, above all. It was this single-track obsession with power that led feminism to the extremes it is in today, most noticeable in the dissolution of the family. Notice how the divorce rate skyrocketed as the feminist wave swept through society, because they wanted power, and independence, rather than peace and harmony. Equal rights can be found in either, but the latter is far more benevolent.

63 Marty January 4, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I also wanted to add that while men have by and large lost the meaning of “gentleman,” women have lost the meaning of “lady.” Both of those titles ought to be earned.

64 Phil January 16, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Mia, you have probably never taken a Women’s studies class, probably not at a California University. What you state is common sense. What is taught in those classes from experience, is the demonization of men!

65 Courtney January 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Well, this is good if you’re talking about European-American gender roles. I’m Eastern Band Cherokee, and we have a matriarchal family system. As such, the women own the homes and do make the rules. I would shy away from the Eurocentrism a bit more and realize that other cultures have different definitions of what makes a man.

66 Mikey February 13, 2009 at 9:01 am

Metrosexuals are the way the are for attention. Today, the Gay world is getting all kinds of attention, partly because of the gay marrige laws. but assumwing some kind of role that compares you to a gay, will get you attention. Also, the macho man thing is becoming more of a mans ideal man, and less for women. Women often look for someone they can relate to in a relationship, so if you can relate to how hard of a time she had picking out shoes, and you can style her hair, it might seem that you are bringing a lot more to the table than, those who can open the door for her and change the oil. I’m not sure how relevent this is to what has been discussed here, but thats all I got

67 Alejandro March 21, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Any “Menaissance” will have to start with men having and showing as much respect for themselves as they are ordered to do for women in this politically correct society. It also will begin with men taking more responsibility for the children they bear. I don’t care what feminists or alleged child psychology experts say, both genders have something to offer children. The entire human race has survived because men and women played active roles in the lives of their offspring. The handful of hateful comments from prominent feminists Alex quoted above in a post from last year represent the minority of women, but as in many cases, they often are the loudest and get the most attention. I’ve engaged in more than a few gender-related debates with female friends and coworkers and have had the misogynist label slung at me several times, mainly because I don’t bend over backwards and agree to everything a woman says or does simply because she’s a woman. The most blatant forms of sexism in this country are directed towards men; mainly “Selective Service” and capital punishment, but also divorce court and vehicle insurance rates. We have a “Violence Against Women” act, for example, even though most acts of violence are perpetrated against men. Men just need to stop displaying so much respect for women that they allow disrespect for themselves, which is exactly what’s happened in recent years. Younger generations of men certainly aren’t to blame for what’s happened in the past, so they shouldn’t continue to suffer the repercussions. In other words, guys, hoist your balls back into your sac and stop tolerating radically feminist s***!

68 your name March 23, 2009 at 8:13 am

Crap the writer of this blog married a feminist and I so enjoyed reading this blog. I am lost again, adrift with no land in sight. Good heavens man, stand with us and abandon ship, she will sink you sooner or later.

69 Ron March 29, 2009 at 5:47 am

Teresa—- YOU ABSOLUTELY ROCK!!! I want a lady like you!
1] Men make damn poor women
2]Women make damn poor men
3]Women do women things!— Men do men things!

These above rules been around since time began– anybody wanting to change them is not likely dealing from a full deck. And above all why would anyone want to?? They may not be perfect but they are a long ways in front of any of the rest.
I really don’t believe that feminism and metrosexualism should even have a place in our society. We need to get back to basics!!!

70 Lori October 16, 2009 at 5:52 am

Phil said:
“Mia, you have probably never taken a Women’s studies class, probably not at a California University. What you state is common sense. What is taught in those classes from experience, is the demonization of men!”
Baloney. Sounds like you are the one who has never taken women’s studies class. I’ve taken LOTS of them, and there was no “demonization of men” in any of them. They aren’t about men. They are about WOMEN. Hence the name.

71 Spencer Nickson November 13, 2009 at 1:06 pm

I see a lot of blaming on this thread – blaming women for what men have become, for how men are valued, for how unfairly men are treated. I just don’t like what I’m seeing – don’t blame anyone. If you have an issue with your our gender is portrayed, then start with yourself. If you’re worrying about what constitutes a woman’s point of view vs. a man’s point of view, then you’re wasting time and avoiding what’s important. Stop mindlessly following what others tell you to do – get some backbone and do what you know is right. Set an example by the way you carry yourself. Are you living with these principles in mind?: Loyalty, Industry, Resiliency, Resolution, Personal Responsibility, Self-Reliance, Courage, Integrity, Sacrifice…or are you running around criticizing rather than improving, talking behind people’s backs, wasting time on trivial and meaningless chores? People will recognize and admire you when you are the one person who shows correct values and virtues and when you refrain from just being another in a sea of followers. Only then can you have an impact and help in changing how the world works. Complaining and blaming is for losers.

72 John March 30, 2010 at 6:52 am

To Teresa:

Let me thank you for everything you said. I believe you were absolutely right in all of it, and probably the wisest person who has yet commented on this blog. It seldom seems possible that women like you still exist, but I hope the wife I find someday will be as self actualized as you are. It takes a truly strong woman to be who you are.

To everyone that Teresa commented towards; you would do well to listen to her. For the most part, it seems to me like what most of you need most of all is to sit around a camp fire while your grandparents tell you stories. Trust me, you’ll learn more from that experience than from all the other stuff you’re filling your head with. TV adds, social opinion books and classes. New age enlightenment junk. That song you’re listening to right now as you read this.

To the “liberation” side of the argument: Please get over yourselves. I’ve seen it a million times, you didn’t have a good childhood. Mom or dad wasn’t home enough to give you love, and possibly the one who was home was either too controlling or to emotionally distant. You aren’t trying to be liberated, you’re just desperate for attention because you didn’t get it enough as a kid. We live in a pretty messed up world I know, and I am sorry that those situations happen to so many people, but if you want to make a difference, have a big slice of humble pie and get over yourself. Stop listening to people who tell you you deserve the best because your special and every one needs to hear about how self liberated and evolved you are. Those people are just trying to sell you something and use you for their own personal gain. I have worked with Hundreds of children in the last six years, and I can tell you children from messed up home lives end up like you are now, self centered and attention desperate. Children from strong families with a loving mother and father, and its even better with multiple siblings, end up doing really well in life. And I don’t mean they always make the most money, I mean they are happy and fulfilled.

I am sorry that came off a little more harsh then I intended it to be, but “that is my two cents”

I think everyone would benefit from taking a look at the one person I think displays manliness better than anyone else in history ever has. Jesus Christ. Remember now that the Church was and is his bride. In everything that he has done, remember that he did it for her, for the Church. We would all be a lot better off if we could love our wives as Christ loved the Church. (Ephisians 5:25) If you want to settle all this gender role argument stuff, just read all of Ephisians, and start living the way it tells you to for a few months. Everything else will follow.

To M Hunnicutt: I think you are a pompous ass and you owe Teresa an apology. The fact that you have to belittle her opinion in order to feel secure in your own shows quite clearly who has figured all this out. But to insult her and her role in the relationship with her husband is simply rude. Your post makes you sound like a child throwing a tantrum.

PS. if Jesus as a role model is to controversial for some of you, then read Les Miserables (unabridged if you want to actually understand all the character development) Model your life after Jean Valjean and I promise you will feel more satisfied. Most importantly, learn humility. Its the one thing this world isn’t trying to sell you.

73 I hate misandry March 30, 2010 at 10:17 am

For all the feminist that come on this blog, here is the profile of a male born in 1980 (a real person with a name, a face, address, telephone number, SSN – Tax Payer ID) . . . Behold your son at 30 years old:

Childhood Family Unit: Mother with live-in boyfriend turned husband. “Biological” Father is uninvolved because mother did not need/want him for anything except child support.
Upbringing: Daycare 12 hours per day from birth to 10 years old. At 10 years old, school then home alone.
Nutrition: Fast Food
Health: Obese, but not diseased.
Education: Bachelors Degree
Income: $45,000-65,000
Sexuality: Probably heterosexual but he really does not know because women do not want to have sex with him.
Living situation: Lives in an apartment he shared with a friend. He had owned a decent house in a middle-class neighborhood, but sold it because he did not see the point in having it because he had no wife or children to share it with. He saves the money he would have used on the house for retirement.
Personality: Nice guy. Did short term humanitarian work in the 3rd World. Appreciates company and likes sharing his extra income with friends by paying for outings.
Marital Status: Not dating. Asked a single mother from work out on a date with the idea that she was marriage material, and the single mother said yes then canceled because she wanted to have sex with her bad boy ex-boyfriend with birth control so the nice guy decided to steer clear of single mother rather than asked her out again; the ex-boyfriend is unwilling to commit because the single mother has a child.

74 Mike March 30, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Wow . . . sucks for him.

75 LMCA March 30, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Here’s an interesting quote from my favorite novel, North and South by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell:

‘I suspect my “gentleman” includes your “true man.”‘ [female character speaking]

‘And a great deal more, you would imply. I differ from you. A man is to me a higher and a
completer being than a gentleman.’ [male character speaking]

‘What do you mean?’ asked Margaret. ‘We must understand the words differently.’

‘I take it that “gentleman” is a term that only describes a person in his relation to others; but
when we speak of him as “a man,” we consider him not merely with regard to his fellow-men,
but in relation to himself,—to life—to time—to eternity. A cast-away lonely as Robinson
Crusoe—a prisoner immured in a dungeon for life—nay, even a saint in Patmos, has his
endurance, his strength, his faith, best described by being spoken of as “a man.” I am rather
weary of this word “gentlemanly,” which seems to me to be often inappropriately used, and
often, too, with such exaggerated distortion of meaning, while the full simplicity of the noun
“man,” and the adjective “manly” are unacknowledged—that I am induced to class it with the
cant of the day.’

Might that be what the men-aissance needs to focus on?

76 Jeff March 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm

The new generations are becoming “Lost Boy” generations as a product of the dissolving family unit and its strong male/female role models from our progressive culture and society. Almost every civilization that has ever existed has had a “rites of passage” ritual in which, ONLY upon successful completion, the “boy” is recognized as a “man”. These rites of passage were established by a civilization’s ancestors and passed down from generation to generation and were believed to be SO important that it was required of ALL boys. These rites were so incredibly difficult to complete that death of the boy was likely (metaphorically, even if the boy lived through his ordeal, the boy was considered “dead” at its conclusion). The status of the boy after having passed their rite of passage had changed to that of a man. In other words, he had been tested to prove his skills and qualities of a man and passed.

In our modern society we have lost our own civilization’s rites of passage from boy to man. Male role models are weak from and by their distance from their boys and from their own lack of strong masculine role models. Because the new generations of boys no longer have this rite of passage forced upon them to prove their worthiness to the tribe and earn the right to marry and bear children, many of them grow into “adulthood” without ever achieving “manhood”.

Not all is lost, however.

Our society’s condition can be cured by creating and establishing new tribes, such as the Art of Manliness website, where those individuals seeking the knowledge of and rites of passage to manliness can gather together to pass down and/or learn the wisdom and trials of manhood. Although, our society no longer requires the “death” of the boy before bestowing manhood on the adult man, it can still be sought and “chosen” as the correct path to walk in order to achieve the status of “a modern man”. This choice to accept the path to manhood is the first step towards achieving it and I believe this website, and the community which revolves around it, to be a well-concerted effort towards “passing down” the wisdom and knowledge of manliness and I thank you for it.

77 Bosshawg March 31, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Authentic masculinity can be found in the following definition: Real men;
1.) REJECT PASSIVITY. They don’t sit by wringing their hands and watch the world go to hell in a hand basket. They ACT upon what is right….what is noble. If something isn’t right, they stand against it. If something needs fixing, they fix it. They take action!
2.) They ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY. Not just for their own lives, but for the good and well being of those within their sphere of influence. That means a real man accepts full responsibility for his wife and children…for their development, well-being, etc. And he breathes a vision for the possibilities into the lives of his children.
3.) He LEADS COURAGEOUSLY! No matter of cost or consequence, a real man will step out and LEAD! That’s not just with noise. That’s leading by example. It’s leading by teaching, by showing, by modeling, by affirmation!

And here’s the best part! When a man lives his life in this fashion, PEOPLE WILL FOLLOW! And they will follow…..willingly, because this man is worthy of followship. Perhaps the greatest friction in this discussion is caused because women feel they are being forced into an ineffective and foolish pursuit! In too many cases, women are being forced to “follow” a guy who simply isn’t worthy of being followed. He is passive, he doesn’t take his role seriously enough to pursue growth in his masculinity and doesn’t have the courage to face the opposition.

When a man is noble; when he is a “lover of right”; when his primary purpose on this planet is to fulfill a role of SERVANT LEADERSHIP, their will be a line of people willing to follow. And NONE of them will resent the thought of being in subjection to this man because HE in turn does not lord it over them, but rather leads from a position of servanthood. And the person leading the parad of followers, trumpeting the strength and courage of this man….will be his WIFE!!!!!

In conclusion, it is important to embrace the idea that this isn’t a case of either / or. It’s a case of both. It’s a two way street. When the man conducts himself within the definition above, his wife will be inspired to fulfill her role as a woman. And interestingly enough, when she responds to her man in this way, he in turn is inspired to greater acts of heroic leadership in their family. It becomes a self-perpetuating healthy environment!

I could go on forever on this topic but will shut up for now.

78 Englishbob April 14, 2010 at 11:14 am

I often hear this phrase “Equal Pay for Equal Work.”

Personally, I don’t see the problem with, on average, men earning more than women. I don’t actually know if that is even the case any more (I have seen studies that dispute this). But assuming it is the case there are good reasons why men would earn more than women. Just as one example, in my experience, women are not generally as productive as men. By that I do not mean they are bad workers but that they tend to have higher priorities than work (such as children). This means they work less hours and work in jobs that allow them to spend more time with their children. This means they are likely to earn less.

Further, they tend to be married to men who earn more than them which is surely a benefit rather than a disadvantage.

As a man I feel compelled to earn more than my girlfriend. I assume this part of a man’s nature. This is merely motivation to work harder, which again is a benefit for us both. As a realist however, I think it is to my advantage if my women earns more than me. That way when we get divorced I can take half her stuff instead of the other way round (joke!).

79 Kevin February 13, 2013 at 8:51 pm

For me the question comes down to respect. I do not adhere to feminism, neither does my wife. She would like to be a stay at home mom, as we both believe this would be better for our children than dumping them off at a day care. We are both working towards this goal, but in the meantime she is at least working from the home and does not have to introduce essentially another parental figure into the home.

When I state the issue comes down to respect, I mean that both the man and the woman in the relationship respect each other as individuals, and as partners. There will always be a natural leader whenever we as humans congregate in groups of more than one, this is inevitable, but does that mean one has to dominate the other? No. And no matter how many of our feminists on this blog would like to say otherwise, in my experience, when a woman takes the mantle of leadership in almost any relationship there is a tendency to prove they are as tough as a man by being a pain in everyone’s ass. This is why so many men say they live by women’s rules, and it is easier to shut up and sit down when the wife is talking. If she had more respect for him she would want to hear what he had to say. Of course in a lot of those cases the man is not as deserving of respect. That gets us into another discussion altogether about who is suitable for marriage, but I digress.

As stated, my wife and I are not feminists, but I know she listens to me, and she knows her opinion is valued. I ask for it often, and expect an honest response even if it is not what I want to hear. Our friends often comment to me that our marriage (8 years by now) is one of the best they know. Respect your spouse, be deserving of their respect, and a lot of these issues will go away.

Oh, and guys, stop getting your nails done. Seriously.

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