What Can Manly Men Expect of Women?

by Brett & Kate McKay on December 20, 2009 · 200 comments

in Blog

Awhile back, Leo posted these delightfully nostalgic and funny “Marital Rating Scales” from 1939 in the Community:

wifechart2

husband2

After having a good laugh, what Kate and I both noticed after reading through these charts was that while we could imagine a modern day woman expecting her husband to live up to most of the standards on the Husband’s Chart, if a man expected a woman to adhere to the Wife’s Chart, he’d probably be met with the look of death.

Now obviously some of the expectations on both charts are just silly, and part of the reason that the Wife’s Chart seem even sillier is that a woman’s place in society has changed far more than a man’s during the last 70 years.

But it’s also indicative of a new double standard that has emerged in our modern age. Women are still free to flog men for their shortcomings and expect a lot from them, but if a man has any expectations for women, the conversation is bound to go something like this:

sexist

_________________________

It seems like men are catching onto to this movement to recover some of the good things of the past, while holding onto the progress we’ve made. I was just reading this interesting article in the NYT about how 20-something men are rejecting the whole casual, let it all hang out Baby Boomer vibe that’s dominated society for the last few decades and are starting to want to dress up and look sharp. This quote, from a college professor, particularly stood out to me:

“But the younger generation is looking at getting dressed up and making their mark,” Mr. Cohen continued. “It’s a real generation gap here. I teach at three different colleges, and I am amazed how dressed up some of the students are. Girls still come in their hoodies and pajamas, but boys come in their suits.”

In some ways, the new movement towards a return to traditional manliness needs women to be on board to be successful. After all, if you have men opening doors and asking women on real dates, and they’re just laughing in your face, that’s clearly not going to work out too well. And if you have men striving to be their best, but they feel like women aren’t even trying, you’ve got a recipe for creating strained relations between the sexes and bitter and disillusioned men who think all women are an unappealing mess who are not worth the trouble of dealing with (something you already see in certain online communities).

We often get emails from women who praise us up and down for the mission of the Art of Manliness. “This is just what men need!” they say. “I love the idea of bringing back traditional manliness!” they tell us. We love that women are on board with the movement, but it makes us wonder, “Okay, if men are manning up, what are women going to do to follow suit?”

After all, if women say they’re not in favor of a genderless society, and they want men to be men, then they have to be prepared for the flip side of that equation. A world where women are women.

Now don’t get me wrong. A man’s desire to man up should really have little to do with women and their opinion of him. Basing their lives around the opinions of women is exactly where men have gone wrong these last few decades. A man should want to seek true manliness out of his desire for confidence, honor, and self-respect.

But it’s also wrong-headed to think that womanliness has nothing to do with manliness. It would be hard to define manliness unless it was juxtaposed beside femininity, the way we wouldn’t be able to define dark, without the experience of light.

And it’s also indisputable that men used to be motivated to be honorable men because they felt they got something in return from the women in their lives. Manning up involves some sacrifice, but men didn’t feel like they were the only ones making an effort. Men dressed up, took women on dates and paid, brought home the bacon, took care of their wives, and acted as the rock in the family. In return, they could count on women to look classy and attractive, be charming, cook dinner, take care of the house and kids, and make her man feel like king of the castle.

But these days a new double standard has emerged where it’s okay to celebrate men manning up, but telling women they need to recover some of their femininity is offensive. To wit:

A woman telling a man to stop looking like a slob and dress up. Awesome!

A man telling a woman to stop looking like a slob and take care of herself. Sexist!

Saying that men should stop hooking up with women. Awesome!

Saying that women should stop sleeping around. Sexist!

Saying that men should get off the couch and go to work. Awesome!

Saying that a woman should be nurturing with kids. Sexist!

Saying that men should take the initiative in relationships. Awesome!

Saying that a woman should let the man lead (ever!). Sexist!

Well, you get the idea. The are a few reasons for the disparity. The first is that men spent most of world history in a position of privilege (although there were real downsides to being a man during this time, too). Then the women’s movement happened and they lost that position. So when it comes to recovering  aspects of traditional manliness, men are excited to get on board (not because they want the exact same position back, but simply because they see the past fondly). Women, on the other hand, fought for the last few decades for the position that they now find themselves in. So even if they aren’t totally happy with it, looking back to recover what was good about the past makes them feel like they’re betraying what their sisters fought for. And if anyone suggests that bringing back some old school femininity might be a good idea, it’s been ingrained in them that they should be offended.

Second, women have historically been put on a pedestal, as the protectors of morality, while men have been disparaged as being baser in their nature. So it’s always been socially acceptable to castigate men but not women, because of the implicit understanding that women were just naturally pure and didn’t need much external encouragement to be “good.” Some feminists still seem to hold to this idea-that men and women are equal, but really-wink, wink- we all know that men are actually pigs. A real head scratcher to be sure.

But these days women say they don’t want to be on a pedestal, that putting them there is sexist! So now that we’re on equal footing, can we admit that today’s women need some work too?

Could we perhaps say that equality shouldn’t mean embracing and outdoing men in things that were traditionally considered masculine? That making out with other chicks for attention and lifting your shirt for beads and getting smashed and burping the alphabet and dressing in sweatsuits really has very little to do with being “liberated?”

That if men are going to know their way around a kitchen, that maybe women could, too? (I know lots of women my age who couldn’t cook to save their life.)

That you can’t insist on both being treated like a princess while also being a totally “independent woman?” (And that these dual impulses are driving men nuts?) And that a lot of relationships are falling apart not because there aren’t any good men to be found, but because women are so paranoid about “losing their identity” that they can’t settle down and give themselves over to being with a man? (Did you know that 2/3 of divorces are initiated by women?)

Now don’t get me wrong. We’re certainly not advocating a “Get back in the kitchen!” movement. Just like traditional manliness, recovering traditional womanliness will require sorting through which is the baby and which is the bathwater. And that sorting seems like an even more difficult task than it is for men. A veritable minefield where PC-ness, reality, history and progress collide.

But that is where I’d like to start this discussion. What aspects of femininity do you wish women would once again embrace? If you’re manning up, what do you expect of women? I’m also interested in what our female readers have to say about the subject.

1 Patrick H. Ouzts December 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm

I need a woman who is an encourager. Being a man is hard, and I couldn’t do it without the support of a strong woman. “Behind every strong man is a stronger woman” is a true statement. The best attribute of womanhood is support. Being supportive doesn’t mean being secondary or second class, it means finding the good and encouraging it.

2 Brew December 20, 2009 at 9:16 pm

A great notion here. I’m immensely blessed to have a woman that praises my manly side and delights in her feminine side; this post make me appreciate her even more. Thanks for your thoughts!

3 Dan Hughes December 20, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Gutsy article, guys. My compliments on sharing some much needed insights.

What I think it boils down to, really, is that women have a lot of the same responsibilities that men do. The virtues that this site has used to define manliness apply to women as well.

edit: Off-Topic, but I want to let you know that I tried post my comment using the Facebook Connect, and it wouldn’t go through.

4 D.J.K. December 20, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Something happened today that drives me nuts… I live in the Boston area and we got more than a foot of snow. Light, powdery snow, but snow nonetheless. What was I expected to do today? Carry two baskets of laundry up two flights of stairs (she is the girl, she can’t lift all of it by herself!), shovel out and brush off both cars (we only have one shovel, and it is cold out! Let us ignore that she could brush the cars while I shovel rather than me doing both), clean the cat litter (something I regularly do), take the dog out (it is cold!), cook dinner (it is Sunday, you always cook!). What did she do? Washed two pans in the sink that were there from me making breakfast. Sure, most days the chores are somewhat even (though, amazingly, I tend to do more… which is usually fine) but there are always those days where I do everything. There are never the days when she does everything.

If I balk at, say, carrying the laundry upstairs right away it gets harped on me all day (and becomes me never doing what she asks). If I ask her to do something and it isn’t done right away, she’s always busy doing something else that is more important.

This all goes back to the fact that, as the lead article said, it is more than acceptable for a woman to rag on a man’s shortcomings but a man can not do the same for a woman. Don’t get me wrong, I love her and most domestic duties are (roughly) equal. But it is never okay for me to bring up the fact that yeah, I worked my ass off today and then came home and did half a dozen chores that you ‘asked’ me to do (‘Do you want to take the dog out?’ ‘Do you want to go get the laundry?’). She worked her ass off and then fell asleep on the couch at 8pm watching HGTV. After I paid for the pizza. Again. And did the dishes afterward.

Women (in a sweeping generalization) want things to be equal for them. But there are always little ways in which things are far from equal.

I like holding the door open. I like letting her snuggle by the fire with the dog while I shovel the driveway. I also like coming in from shoveling to see our meal prepared and ready, rather than having to also do that myself. And if I point that out, I’m being a jerk.

5 Brett McKay December 20, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Dear Sky-

Your comment was not deleted because I disagree with you but because it violated our comment policy in 3 key areas. It was “excessively snarky” and “did not make a valuable contribution to the site” and you did not use a “valid email address.” The comment policy can be found here-I suggest you read it before commenting again.

Dissent is always welcome. But if you’re looking for respect, please make an actual, well-reasoned argument as opposed to a passing, snarky remark. Thanks.

6 Daniel C. December 20, 2009 at 9:38 pm

This article brings up a lot of uncomfortable, but very important truths.

A lot of women today think that being liberated means that they can have all the good stuff-have their man take care of them-while not doing anything themselves. I know a couple of women who are stay-at-home moms because they don’t want to work but they also don’t want to do housework. So their husbands work 9-5 and come home to a mess, and they have to cook dinner. Where’s the equality then?

7 Heidi December 20, 2009 at 9:51 pm

As I read the checklists, I immediately noticed how things had changed for the women but not for the men, so I was pleased when this article picked up on that point and carried on with a discussion of it.

My husband was a child of the eighties, and as such he grew up determined to be a good husband and not one of the “male pigs” he always heard his mother and her friends talking about. He’s succeeded! He helps around the house, spends time with the kids, and never complains about chores that go undone or tasks that are unfulfilled. I, in turn, take on some of the more traditionally masculine roles like yardwork, bill paying, financial phone calls, etc. Still, this article reminded me that I need to not take advantage of his good intentions by failing to keep up my share of the traditionally feminine roles too. Thanks for the discussion!

8 Alexander Ververis December 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm

This is an important issue. I have had arguments with many a female friend – but had to tactfully call it off before it got too messy. Women my age (20) feel very strongly about this. I live in Germany, where people are already on the defensive about any form of discrimination because of German history.

I believe that there is an intrinsic quality in women that differentiates them from men. I believe that this is a quality stems from the fact that human mothers give birth to children that can not fend for themselves and must be taken care of. These soft babies require nurturing and love from someone – their mothers. I am aware that this is overly simplistic but that is the general gist of what I believe.

For me – and I consider myself lucky for being able to say this – it is my mother who embodies the aspect of femininity I most want women my age to embrace. My mother is the glue that holds my family together and she does so willingly and lovingly. We (my family) love and honor her for her choice to use her strength of heart (motherly instinct?) to ensure that our family stays together. I believe the role of the mother is the epitome of femininity.

This is of course “sexist” and most definitely old fashioned. In this day and age, it is impossible to make broad, generalized statements without angering someone. That is why I acknowledge that this is just a quality I look for in women. I don’t expect this from women in general. But these are the ones that – at least in my book – are really worth it.

9 Angelia Sparrow December 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm

I agree that letting yourself go, ignoring basic survival skills and letting the other person carry the physical, financial or emotional weight in the relationship is laziness and selfishness. Everyone needs to pull their own weight or work out an equitable agreement.

I may be a cranky old truck driver, come home with battered boots and filthy jeans, but when my husband comes home, I’ve had a shower and am in fresh clothes. (My day runs 4 hours ahead of his) . I may not adhere to the photoshopped impossibility that is modern beauty, but taking care of myself is just sensible.

He pulls more of the financial weight than I do. I do more of the housework. We’ve been married 20 years.

The women I know who refuse to settle down have often had a bad prior experience. Abuse, neglect, wastrels, they all figure in there. I can’t say I blame them as I watch their trials with their exes.

It’s really all about respect. Do you respect yourself and others enough to put your best foot forward? Or are you sloughing through life, being a guy, being a gal and never growing out of your parent’s basement?

10 digital_dreamer December 20, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Thanks for this article. It’s about time this subject matter came up. in this day and age of ‘political correctness’ this subject matter is considered taboo.

But, part of being a man and ‘manning up’ is talking about things no one wants to talk about or, more specifically, addressing sensitive issues that some may not like to hear. Yes, that may mean having to be ‘in the doghouse’ or ‘sleep on the couch’. If that’s true in your case, then it demonstrates who really wears the pants in family and pulls the strings. You have some thinking to do and some adjustments to make.

I’m all for women’s rights and privileges, but most of feminism (as of late) has been about unearned special privileges and entitlements, not about gender equality. Sadly, this has had a detrimental affect on qualities in men traditionally considered as masculine. They are lacking! And, why? Because such qualities are demonized in popular media and education.

Men have become feminized – taking on more female-like traits. Women, on the other hand, are taking on more male-like traits. The end result is a human culture that lacks desirable, attractive qualities designed for long-term relationships.

Just as an example: think of all the leading men of the movies of the past. Now, think of the leading men in today’s movies. Today’s are typically goofy, accident-prone, incompetent, wishy-washy, etc. Is that a reflection of society at large or is it a product of today’s politically-correct environment where it is okay to demean men, but not so with women? I’ll let you decide.

MAJ

11 Treb December 20, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Fantastic article; reminds me of a favourite saying:
“Chivalry is not dead, it’s on the couch where you made it sleep.”

12 Tyler December 20, 2009 at 11:10 pm

I’m trying (among other things) to embrace dating again and actually court women instead of hanging out, but it isn’t easy when so many girls my age are becoming increasingly finicky and contradictory. They talk with their friends about how they wish they could find a good guy and how jealous they are of their recently engaged friend, but then when the good guys come a-knockin for a date they send him away. One trend that I personally detest is girls citing the “rule” of the “two function assumption”, wherein the girl cannot be seen with the same guy at more than one event or date because others will assume they are a couple. Personally, I can’t decide after one date whether to never talk to the girl again or make her my girlfriend, so a second (and third and fourth etc.) date is pretty important for getting to know the girl better and deciding if a connection is there and if it is worth pursuing. Obviously this is difficult when girls don’t want to go on the second date for fear that others will read into it too much. Another thing I have observed is that while it is wrong for guys to compare girls physically to models and actresses (and rightly so), girls won’t date a guy who isn’t mentally and emotionally identical to their favorite character from Grey’s Anatomy, Twilight, etc. They idealize men and will accept nothing less than what they consider the perfect man based on various media. Many of their criteria are impossible in the real world and just not practical. However, in saying all this I realize not all girls are like this and in no means do I want to stereotype, I’ve just had the misfortune of encountering too many who fit this mold.

13 Athene December 20, 2009 at 11:14 pm

I feel this is an importand issue, because everyone seems to be looking for someone perfect, when no one is perfect. Finding a partner is all about finding out what you must have in a significant other and what flaws you can live with vs. what flaws you cannot tolerate. Women and men need to take a look at themselves and notice their flaws as well as their partners. Can some of them be changed to maintain the relationship, are some so ingrained that they are a part of you and thus you need to find someone that can accept them as they are.
Both my husband and I are modern people. We’ve both traveled extensivly, lived alone, gone to school, have partied (a lot) in our younger days. I’m a bisexual victorian goth and he’s a bisexual preppy jock. He grew up in a family with multiple step-parents and half siblings, as well as many step siblings (his parents were each married 4 or more times), My parents married their highschool sweetheart and have been together for 30 years. Instead of looking at these things as a reason why we can’t have a good relationship, we used these experiences as lessons of what works in a relationship and what doesn’t . That has made him a wonderful husband and father, and I believe made me a supportive and loving wife and mother. Though he ownes his own buisness and I own mine, my hours are less then his and I work from our home so I can stay home to care for my 2 year old daughter and my ailing parents, whom he has taken in as if they were his own.
He cooks dinner, because he likes to, and I take care of all other meals for the household as well as keep the house tidy. He takes out the garbage and does the heavy lifting, as I have back problems, but I do as much as I can from laundry, mending/making clothes to grocery shopping. Instead of going out with friends on the weekends we spend quality time with our daughter and each other, even if that involves getting his toenails painted pink! When we want to go out we go together, either alone or with friends we both like.
Yes, there are things I can improve on (sometimes I wear jammy pants all day) as can he (sometimes he leaves his muddy boots on the clean floor), but these are minor. We take care of each other, and that’s what matters. We split waking up with the baby at the crack of dawn. When I can’t get the laundry done- he steps in and takes care of it. When he’s too tired to do the bills, I handle them. We are a team, and that, I feel, is the meaning of woman’s liberation. Instead of me being his quiet little dutiful wife, I am his best friend, his partner in life. Though we both carry some traditional roles, we also take on non-traditional roles. We each do what is nessissary to keep our family, love, respect for each other and ourselves, and our relationship thriving. Though we’re very different people we complement each other and we work every day to maintain our relationship. Men can be men and women can be women, but together we are an equal partnership.

14 Kate McKay December 20, 2009 at 11:27 pm

@Tyler-

“Another thing I have observed is that while it is wrong for guys to compare girls physically to models and actresses (and rightly so), girls won’t date a guy who isn’t mentally and emotionally identical to their favorite character from Grey’s Anatomy, Twilight, etc.”

Your comment reminded me of this:
http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs51/f/2009/329/a/6/Twilight_Moms_by_InLoveWitEdwardC.jpg

Athene-
“We are a team, and that, I feel, is the meaning of woman’s liberation. Instead of me being his quiet little dutiful wife, I am his best friend, his partner in life. Though we both carry some traditional roles, we also take on non-traditional roles. We each do what is necessary to keep our family, love, respect for each other and ourselves, and our relationship thriving. Though we’re very different people we complement each other and we work every day to maintain our relationship. Men can be men and women can be women, but together we are an equal partnership.”

I loved your comment. You relationship sounds a lot like mine and Brett’s (well minus the bisexuality). :) Brett and I are equal partners in pretty much everything, but we still enjoy our the things that make us uniquely male and female. It can be done!

15 Cathy December 20, 2009 at 11:53 pm

While I think this article makes a lot of good points, it also misses the mark on a couple of things.

As a female interested in the mission and principles of this site, I’ve often wondered what an “Art of Femininity” I could really agree with would be. Unfortunately, women CAN’T look back at traditional womanhood and say “This is what a real man does,” like men can. As this article pointed out, womanhood for most of Western history has been defined by the expectations and edicts of men.

What feminism is really about is finding a woman’s individual strengths, interests, and personality and encouraging them. Whether that results in a woman who is physically strong, nurturing, assertive, passive, whatever. Saying femininity is inherently about being attractive and charming is fairly offensive. Charm and allure are what MEN want in a woman, not necessarily what a woman wants for herself. Maybe she aspires to be an inventive leader. Maybe her ideal traits for herself are exactly the kind that the AoM champions. While an ideal man strives for these things, there’s no reason why a woman would not as well.

I’m a little disappointed by some of the comments on this post, which tend towards the “all girls want is Edward Cullen” viewpoint. This is not only a ridiculous generalization, it’s also dead wrong. What women who love Twilight (or Pride and Prejudice, or a variety of other romances) want is simply a man who is deeply in love with them. This can’t be that hard to understand. I would imagine that most men want a woman who’s deeply in love with them, too.

There are also a lot of mixed concepts, stereotypes, and ideas being employed here. Women who want to be thought of as princesses RARELY can burp the alphabet (an admirable achievement). And feminists do very, very often like to be traditionally feminine. I would really recommend an occasional look at the likes of Jezebel.com and maybe a glance at Bust Magazine. Intelligent, thoughtful, and yes, LIBERATED women rarely subscribe to negative stereotypes of men or themselves. I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

16 Justin December 20, 2009 at 11:58 pm

Brett,

I think in the same way that men are returning to these traditions “out of his desire for confidence, honor, and self-respect,” so too women should seek out those things that bring them the same. This is why I believe Athene really hit the true point of woman’s liberation right on the head. I think the idea of equality gets corrupted into this vision of everything being split perfectly in half, and that is simply impossible, especially in relationships. Equality is really about each side being equal members in a partnership, even when that partnership is the extent of all society. And just like business partnerships have the creative guy and the money guy, different roles can be taken in relationships without loss of equality. So if we know what we are looking for for men, we can apply that to women and achieve equality. So, to do that, we must ask: What roles will bring women confidence, honor, and self-respect? Of course, there is no answer that will exactly fit, same as there is not for men, for whom your own book has eight viewpoints/chapters!

@Athene:
Thank you for the amazing point of view! Truly inspiring.

17 Michael December 21, 2009 at 12:11 am

I think some of this is self-policing: for the most part, men look for women who can be women, and the best men end up with them. It’s subconscious and instinctive. The women who fall further from that ideal wind up with guys from the shallow end of the gene pool.

Oh, and for better or worse, any woman who would nag at me to change something is a woman who will soon be looking for a new boyfriend. I tackle any “issues” in the spirit of supportiveness, and I expect my women to do the same.

18 Frank December 21, 2009 at 12:18 am

Unfortunately, Cathy falls into the same double standard trap that the post is addressing! As she is basically saying that there is one way to be a man, or at least there are some definite characteristics of a man-but women get to be whatever the heck they want-like a traditional man or like a traditional woman. And if she is not saying this, and she thinks that both men and women can be whatever they want and there isn’t anything unique to the sexes, then you’re back to believing in a genderless society. Which I guess some people support, but I find to be an idea that simply does not match reality.

19 Seth Q. December 21, 2009 at 12:23 am

Interesting article. I hope some good discussion comes from this. It’s something people don’t like to talk about, but when they do it usually devolves into flame wars.

I think Cathy makes some good points especially about feminism being about finding a woman’s strong points and traits and encouraging them. Who can’t get behind that?

What I think Cathy misses is that many women today have taken on a form of corrupted feminism thats bad for both men and women. Like the article mentions, I know lots of women (usually in their 20s and 30s) who want to be treated like a “princess” ie have men fawn at them, buy them whatever they want, etc. but still want to be treated as an equal. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t put yourself out there as a person that needs to be taken care of and coddled, but then get upset because men patronize you. They basically use feminism when it’s convenient for them and it’s not fair to men.

Many women (particularly in their 20s and 30s) have also corrupted feminism by arguing that becoming sex objects to men somehow empowers women. They argue that by being as promiscuous as men, they’re somehow getting on an equal footing with them. Consequently, we have porn stars and Paris Hilton being idolized by young girls because porn stars and Paris Hilton and other women like them get success by using their bodies and being sex objects. Betty Friedan would be rolling in her grave.

I’ve noticed you don’t see this sort of thing with older women who were a part of the feminist movement in the 60s and lots of them have no problem embracing traditional gender roles. I don’t know if it’s just their maturity or they’re just a product of their times but the women today could sure take a lesson from them.

And in regards to Jezebel, I’ve tried reading it but got turned off because the comments become snarky and catty. Feministing.com is worse. Women there are absolutely cruel to each other in the comments. AoM has been the best place I’ve found for these types of discussions. Always civil, respectful, and intelligent.

20 Beth December 21, 2009 at 12:23 am

I read the above artical and I have to say that I agreed with a lot of what was said. I am a woman who wants my independance and equality but I also want a man to do his “manly duties”.

One thing that I would like to add it that I wouldn’t find it sexist if my short comings were pointed out, but I do want expectations to be realistic.

It was not long ago that I was a stay at home mom living with a man and raising our children. I didn’t mind that I was expected to the housework, that was my job. What I did mind was that I worked 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. That I was looked down apon when I asked my ex to watch the kids while I cooked dinner (he got home at 4 in the afternoon). That it was a problem that I asked him to bathe the kids while I cleaned up from dinner. Not to mention that we were living with my mom and he felt that she should come home and do house work after working a 10hr shift when he only worked a 6 hr shift. He believed that he shouldn’t be asked to do anything. Needless to say the relationship did not last.

So I guess my question is “When does the work day end for the stay at home wife? And if she goes to work how is the house work to be divided?”

That was another problem we had. Before our 2nd child was born I worked outside the home and I was expected to still cook clean and do the laundry and we were suposed to do yard work together.

There is the saying “A womans work is never done”. That is what I want to see changed. I want equality and I want to be able to stand behind my man and to make him feel manly while in turn feeling like a woman. I want to know that if I stay home and take care of the children and the house that I can step outside that, and that it won’t become my identity. I also want to know that I am not expected to do it all, that when my husband comes home he will say “honey is there something I can help you with?” and then do it.

Thanks for the artical and for letting me share!

21 Brett McKay December 21, 2009 at 12:28 am

@Cathy-

“There are also a lot of mixed concepts, stereotypes, and ideas being employed here. Women who want to be thought of as princesses RARELY can burp the alphabet (an admirable achievement).”

The problems with some women described in that section are not meant to describe a single woman or group of women. They are pointing at various groups and types of women. Women who are uncouth and burp the alphabet (I really did have a woman do that for me) would represent one group, while women who want to be treated like a princess would represent another group.

As far as checking out sites like Jezebel, I actually have. But I was immediately turned off by the snarky tone and dismissal of anything related to traditional manliness. They would assuredly rip something like AoM to shreds. For example I recently read their write-up of the new Dockers campaign. While it is only an advertisement, I quite like their idea, and their “manifesto” is essentially a summary of the principles we espouse on AoM. Jezebel ripped it up and down and so did all the commenters.

http://jezebel.com/5420105/the-dockers-man+ifesto-pants-pants-devolution

22 theimmortalgoon December 21, 2009 at 12:59 am

I must say that in regards to the NY Times article, there is something of an east-west gap. Where I’m from, in Oregon, the state senators and governors tend to wear blue jeans all the time. This wasn’t derived from the same kind of “dressing down” that occurred in the east, but it was sort of a continuation (or revival in many cases) of being of and from the west. In 1814 Osbourne Russel described the western American male fashion as such: “his personal dress is a flannel or cotton shirt…leggings, a coat made of Blanket or Buffaloe robe a hat or Cap of wool, Buffaloe or Otter skin his hose are pieces of Blanket lapped round his feet which are covered with a pair of Moccassins made of Dressed Deer Elk or Buffaloe skins with his long hair falling loosely over his shoulders complets his uniform.” The flannel/pants/wool cap/long hair/cloth shoes combination became a standard during the 90s when everyone wanted to be from Seattle, but that’s been the standard here for a very long time. I’m not saying that I embrace that, but I will say that I’m not going to turn my back on it for the sake of what people are doing in New York.

The point is, and I think everyone will agree, there is a dignity in tradition. I am going to retain my tradition without being a bastard, it’s just a little different from the tradition in the article.

23 Natasha December 21, 2009 at 12:59 am

I loved the first couple of comments – positively-framed answers to the question in the post’s title: “What can manly men expect of women?” Support. Encouragement. Thank you for these answers. They are constructive, and a breath of fresh air to those of us trying to become better women, or indeed human beings.

Some comments follow a variant of “please don’t be _____”: nagging, discouraging, self-centred. These are insightful because they reveal the sources of pain and discord. I believe they would be even more encouraging to women if phrased in a positive light. e.g. “I respect women who are _____.”

Please, let’s hear some more. Iron sharpens iron.

24 Kristin December 21, 2009 at 1:16 am

@ Seth Q. “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t put yourself out there as a person that needs to be taken care of and coddled, but then get upset because men patronize you.”

I think it’s worth differentiating etiquette from substance; I don’t think it’s inconsistent to want men to hold the door for me AND to take me seriously in the boardroom. The reason why is because both things come down to respect.

There’s a lot of nuance to some of these things and no one is entirely one thing or the other. For example, a “princess” can want you to hold the door for her, buy her things, and compliment her appearance. Depending on timing and motivation, any one of those things can be a matter of etiquette or a means to take advantage of someone else. You will know one from the other based on how she treats you in return.

I do agree that feminism (and I do class myself as a feminist) has lost its moorings. There was a brilliant article (I believe in TIME magazine) back in the 1990s during the age of Ally McBeal about how third-wave feminism is essentially “me” feminism. It focuses on eating disorders and body image, whereas prior waves of feminism were about economic and political power. Hopefully we are starting to see a return to the things that were worth keeping – a sense of decorum and civility in public and private life and the knowledge that sexual modesty is not necessarily a bad thing.

25 Dallin December 21, 2009 at 2:33 am

I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that there are no clear cut roles and that women’s liberation lies in being treated like an equal partner, not a pretty slave. I think it comes down the classic I-it vs I-you philosophical concept. When one starts listing off duties and making specific assignments that he expects the wife/husband to do then they are in the I-it mode, when one thinks as his wife/husband only as his wife/husband (an “it”, an object) instead of another living, functioning, human being with whom he/she has a relationship. I think the problem comes when we start making demands, “I do X and so you should do Y”. However, does that mean we cannot have expectations from the opposite partner? Absolutely not. But when we are in the mindset of “You are the woman so you should do this” or “You are the man so you should do this” that is getting into the I-It mode, we are thinking of the partner only as a man/woman, not another individual with whom we have a relationship. I think really the relationship should be give and take, co-equal partners, both willing to sacrifice in behalf of the other person and just ebbing and flowing, doing what needs to be done and figuring out how to best tackle it as equal partners, the specifics worked out for what is best for the specific two.

For a simple explanation: “An I-It relationship is a relationship between a self and a thing or a collection of things. An I-You relationship, on the other hand, is a relationship between a self and another self as a self. Two selves may relate in the I-It mode, or in the I-You mode: it is a question of whether the one self recognizes the other one as a genuine self, equal to itself in reality and integrity; or whether it merely interprets the other one as a stiff, inanimate portion of the external world. [Which many times I feel that in failing relationships the partners view each other as "its", husbands/wives, males/females]” http://www.goertzel.org/books/complex/ch12.html#3

I hope that makes sense.

It kills me to hear men blame the feminist movement for their own relationship problems. Many times it’s only a cop-out, the feminism movement becomes a straw man and half the time their problematic relationship could easily be fixed by a behavioral tweak on their part but instead they blame something outside of their control and then play the victim while disparaging all the good that came from the feminist movement.

That being said, I think many of the qualities that define great men or great women in the end are the same. When I think of a great man I think of someone who is educated, empathetic, responsible, confident, self-respecting, respectful, stands up for what he believes in, self-honest, intelligent, etc. the list goes on. But really what of those qualities are confined to masculinity? I think those same qualities belong to femininity also. A man who is all those things I think also expects a woman who is all those things. There will always be those ignorant men/women who create all the negative stereotypes but I think(hope) they usually end up together.

But while many characteristics are the same I do believe that there should be a certain male/female dynamic and there are certain ways that those characteristics could be manifested masculinely or femininely. I believe that most women would want a man who can make them feel safe and protected, one who would stand up for them and be protective of them and I think that is where the heart of the male/female dynamic lies. Maybe the masculine role is to provide a sort of protection, but that’s just my working hypothesis.

So in boiling it down, I’m still not sure exactly what exactly defines masculinity and femininity, but I think what defines greatness is the same in both.
In the end I think it really just comes down to mutual respect. I-You relationships both ways.

As a side-note, I’ve been reading the site for a while now and this is my first time commenting. I just wanted to say I love the site. Keep up the good work.

26 Luke December 21, 2009 at 4:11 am

For everyone out there with access to a bible, look up Proverbs 31:10. Other than that it may simply come down to two principles. As a man I am more than willing to provide and protect my future wife. This is my greatest desire, to be able to save money for my family and teach my children how to be truly human. To sacrifice my blood and sweat so that my wife will be safe and comfortable is something I have no problem with and even look forward to. Yet, to come off of that notion I desire a wife that will take care of me. I expect my wife to “tend to the fields of my heart” removing all the bitterness and pain of a long day so that I am still able to care for her. A warm meal, a quick back rub, and wonderful and uplifting conversation over a glass of wine may very well be all that I need to keep going. From what I see, the best societies are the ones that specialize and support each other from different aspects of life. The baker makes bread for the soldier and teacher, the teacher teaches the sons of the other two people, and the soldier protects them both. More so, what is society but one large family structure?

Criticism, praise, comments would be wonderful!
The Peace be upon all of you

27 D.J.K. December 21, 2009 at 4:20 am

Luke – Then again, the rubies wouldn’t be bad either.

28 Richard Shelmerdine December 21, 2009 at 4:42 am

Great article. The people at my university used to dress in Pajamas. It looks pretty cheap and nasty.

29 Nate December 21, 2009 at 6:30 am

Being a man with a semi-stay-at-home-mom wife, this is something we have struggled with. For a while she was doing an internship (8-16 hours/week) and working 8 hours per week, while being a “housewife.” This really didn’t work very well because both sides of her life suffered. Meanwhile, I was working 40 hrs per week, taking 5 classes per semester, and trying to handle housework as well. Now that she is pregnant, she has stopped interning and working, but she still struggles with the idea of being responsible for the majority of the housework. I think this is because the negative aspects of the feminist movement have made her believe that she has less value if her contribution to her family is taking care of her family and her home, and have made her think that no matter what your situation is, you can’t take on the majority of the housework and child rearing because this means your husband is “using” you. She has trouble embracing that this contribution is just as valuable and necessary as my earning a pay check. I would like women to be at peace with the idea that its ok to do an amount of housework proportionate to the amount of outside the house work you do. I.e. if you both work 40 hrs per week, split it down the middle. If she works 40 and he works 10, split it 80/20, and if he works 40 and she works zero, split it 10/90 or 5/95. But the man’s attitude and how he treats her also probably plays a role in how long this would be successful…

30 Methos Furey December 21, 2009 at 7:11 am

I believe that what we assign to ‘manliness’ has more to do with being a good person, not just in terms of morality, but in terms of one’s ability to survive. Women should be respectful of their minds and body, they should have the skills to take care of themselves and anybody else in need, and they should have good manners. Just like men should.

31 Matt December 21, 2009 at 7:39 am

I liked this, and I liked some of the comments even more.
What can we expect from women? Good question. It’s nice and healthy, I think, to have manly men and womanly women, but how do we define which traits belong to which side? Another good question.
Most of the virtues promoted here, courage, honor, loyalty, intelligence, passion, creativity, respect, are just as admirable in women as in men. So what are the differences? Is it a matter of style and delivery, that women can be brave and honorable, but in different ways?
It seems like I’ve still got more questions than answers this morning, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it would be nice to offer something wise and insightful.

Concerning the Dockers/Jezebel article: It’s just an ad for pants. The fact that someone managed to link khakis to sexual assault statistics (which do represent a failure of manhood) was somewhat nauseating.

In any case, maybe where we should start is by making a list of what characteristics we do admire in women.

32 Will December 21, 2009 at 8:09 am

I admire my wife’s sweetness, her eternal willingness to be kind to people who aren’t kind, her sharp insight, her reasonableness, her emotional stability, her engineering skills, her ability to beat anyone she plays at Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, etc., and her ability to see the humor in things.

But it was her sweetness that made me notice her.

33 Brian December 21, 2009 at 8:24 am

The interesting thing to me on this is that even though there is significant validity in questioning what should be the gender expectations in today’s society and more specifically that if a man is willing to sacrifice and adhere to a goal of personal development, what should be the reciprocal sacrifice and goal of the woman? I have thought or two on that and they are below.

But first, I have an question to pose. And that is, how much of this perceived disconnect can be attributed to the pervasive sense of entitlement that we live with today?
In each of of the comments and points made in the original argument, there seems to be a common denominator of some group in general feeling like they are owed either for historical wrongs or current individual (and some times group) sacrifices.

I have noticed that finding instances of “unfairness” is a favorite hobby of way too many people today. Now, I am not saying that there are no groups in our society that should not own up to mistakes from past generations and look for ways to improve their current activities as well as make amends for those actions. But, not ALL groups fit those categories (which do is a topic for an entirely different discussion), and those that do; should not have vengeful and unrealistic expectations placed upon them now.

Okay back on target – What should a man expect from a woman?

For me, nothing. That is to say that as a group – I have no expectations of women. As an individual and as a man, I feel that it is more important for me to treat each person I deal with on a day to day basis as an individual rather than a stereotype. Hard as it is (and I often do not succeed), I should at all times avoid pigeon holing any one person based on any characteristics. With that said, I do have exceptions individually of the women in my life. The details vary person to person, but in general I expect consistency, equality, honor (truth & courage), and respect (love) for others. To break this down further:

Consistency – This is that there is a continuous and reasoned interaction that includes a voiced or unspoken agreement of the manners and civility we will use with each other without any double standards. In other words, don’t expect me to hold the door if you won’t at least thank me for it or worse if you ridicule me for it.

Equality – This is more about recognizing that in any relationships (love, friend, work, etc), each person brings a unique set of skills and weakness. As partners in the relationship, it is our responsibility to not find fault with a particular weakness but rather find a way to compensate for it or correct it. Also, it is a responsibility for each of us to use our skills to the betterment of the relationship and/or the partnership goals. The key here is that we each have our burdens that support each other while our deficiencies are covered by the other. And finally, there is no tally sheet. It isn’t about who did more work or who gets recognition. Its about the partnership succeeding.

Honor – For me honor is about being true to yourself and having the courage to maintain that truth in public as well as private. For me, the first step of adulthood is simply acknowledging that you, individually, have certain strengths and weakness and to then not try to hide either. Now that doesn’t amount to “if you got if flaunt it’. Rather that is to recognize you are imperfect, but gifted and to not to be ashamed of either. In this particular discussion, why this is important is that gender brings certain strengths and weakness. So, a woman should not be ashamed or try to hide this fact (physical, emotional, reasoning, etc) and should rather strive to take advantages of those strengths while looking for ways to compensate for those weaknesses. What exactly falls into either bucket varies based on a number of factors. One of those pertinent to this is discussion is whether or not they seek (or are involved in) a long term relationship(romantic or otherwise) with a man. The strengths and weakness specific to the individuals involved are largely defined by the type of relationship and the people themselves. They key is that we are truthful to ourselves about these and have the courage to be truthful with others.

Respect – This for me is pretty much the same as the love for our neighbor that Christ taught us. It is about recognizing each person is a unique miracle never to be repeated in this world and especially not in our lifetime. It is incredibly hard (and I fail frequently), but no matter how much another person upsets us, hurts us, or abuses us (and I’m not talking extremes of murder, torture, despotism, etc – again – another subject) – they are unique and we only debase ourselves by falling into a spiteful or vengeful relationship with them. The challenge is that when that “fellow” cuts you off on the freeway – try to recognize that they truly may have somewhere more important and more urgent than you to get to. :-)

So what this boils down to is that if women (as a group or individually) expect to be treated by men in a certain way, they should be consistent in that expectation with recognition of an equitable contribution on their part. Additionally, they should be honorable in their behavior while treating the men in their lives with respect.

To me, each of the previous posts where a “partnership” and equitable treatment with out unfair expectations adhere pretty much to this formula. Being a man or a woman today can’t be boiled down to a simple set of equations as it has in the past. But, neither can it be a one way street with only one person (or group) shouldering the lion’s share.

So for me, I strive to man up every day regardless of the behavior of others around me. And those people who have long term occupancy in my life are there because they contribute to the partnership and appreciate my contribution.

34 Earl December 21, 2009 at 8:44 am

This has indeed been a very interesting read and one that I applaud AoM for bringing into the open. I have read some posts that are very excellent and constructive and others that I tend to believe are from both disgruntled men and women.

I know for me and my relationship with my wife we are trying to be strong in our marriage. Marriage takes a lot of work from both of us. We both work. I think our professional lives are equally stressful but in different ways. While I make more money, I have other expectations in my line of work that she does not and when I get that call at 2am, she gently reminds me why I make more :). I can be expected to work late and be on call 24/7. Occasionally she works late. We have learned that each of us have strengths and weaknesses and try to compliment each other. For example, she does the bills. Does she want to? No….but our attitudes are different in how to handle that arena. When I was doing it, debt was coming down fast but we literally had no money for a social life. We were eating ramen and eggs…when she does it, she balances it much better. It just worked out that way. If we paint a room, I do all of the trim and wall to ceiling because she’s great at broadstrokes, but unless the ceiling needs painted, we both know I have that responsibility. Other things we figure it out…we have a maid service come by every 2 weeks again. Why? Because we are both kinda slobs :) But WE know it, accept it and try to figure it out.

My point is I try to treat her with respect, love and admiration. While we still dont agree on every point, I love her with all my heart and would protect her with my life which is what is important. I try to fill her needs as best as I can and she mine…

The original point I am reinforcing is that I have seen and interacted with friends and family who fall into this description. My sister, who is openly gay, expects her partner to treat her like a princess but expects her partner to be more manly. It’s bizarre for me to watch this and juxtapose it against my marriage. Unfortunately, I believe my sister wants to be empowered just as this article describes and yet treats her partner with unreasonable expectations…yet she is the embodiment of this article and nobody here can reasonably argue that point given that both people in the relationship are women. I attribute some of this to our upbringing, but at what point should she be expected to be accountable and learn to change? I hope she figures it out…heck…I hope I do after being with my high school sweetheart after 20 years.

I think its more important for the man to analyze this individually and mark the attributes, characteristics, and traits of the ideal woman. Everyone has different tastes and that doesnt make it right or wrong. I have found I could not stand being in a relationship with someone less intelligent than me. My wife earned a 4.0 GPA from kindergarten through the Masters degree. If I want to talk about cars, computers, or relativity, she is game and she hangs better than 99% of them men I know. She’s terrifyingly beautiful to me in ways that dont show on the surface and thats what matters.

For me, it boils down to this. What can a man expect reasonably from a woman? Figure out what you need and want by priority and go find it. If you want a blond bimbo, you’ll find her. But remember rocket scientists need love too and we all look the same in the dark. Find love first and everything else will fall into place.

35 Laura December 21, 2009 at 8:57 am

I am enjoying the insight provided by everyone’s comments. I am dealing with a situation right now where I have been told that “I love you” but I am not “in love with you.” It all boils down to what each of us is seeking from a relationship and how much we are willing to work or sacrifice for a partnership – and I am not just talking about division of labor. True love, friendship relies on intimacy with a small “i” and above all trust – that you will not be betrayed and a believe that the other person can and will trust you.

As a woman – as a person – I offer complete support. If you are my friend you are my friend and I will be there to hear you bitch about your bad day at work, to hate your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend simply because they have hurt you,

Sadly we have raised a few generations of “entitled” people who feel as if they are owed something. A gorgeous blonde who’s owed a slobbery devoted boyfriend because she is nice arm candy – he’s LUCKY to have me! A hard-working guy with a big wallet who can provide you with jewelry, a nice address, fancy clothes and a car BUT is always at work, never there for the kids, doesn’t know how to slow down.

Keep the dialogue going …. it’s very interesting.

36 Earl again December 21, 2009 at 9:01 am

Brian,

I just read your post and I concur with most if not all of your opinions. I believe we are communicating the same essence of a realistic and mature view of this subject while the delivery is different. One subject you discussed was the sense of entitlement. I found that to be the crux of this entire conversation.

I personally am more involved in AoM more than any other site. It’s not because I want to do this to improve my career or my relationship…it’s because I want to live my life without regret from making poor, selfish choices. I desire to lay my head to rest every night feeling good about myself and what I’ve done that day.

Women have the freedom to choose who they are, who they love, and the direction of their lives more than any other time in history.

The only expectation that we at AoM should have of women is that they do what is right for them as an individual and do everything to love and support them in that.

The expectation we should have of ourselves as men is being strong enough to change the things we can (usually your inner being) and accepting those that we cannot (others).

37 Els Withers December 21, 2009 at 9:06 am

One of the best things a modern woman can do is opt of the whole “negative body image” game. How many times has this little dialogue played out between a woman shopping for a swimsuit and her husband or boyfriend?

Woman: “How does this one look?”
Man: “You look beautiful.”
Woman: “My thighs are too big.”
Man: “No–you look beautiful.”
Woman: “My butt is ripply.”
Man: “Darling, you look great.”
Woman: “I think I’ll go for the flapper-era style with the long skirt.”
Man: “Why don’t you try on a bikini?”
Woman: “You pervert.”

–whereas a man with a 200-pound gut will cheerfully walk along the beach wearing nothing but a Speedo.

This is one version of the game, wherein a woman tells herself she is old or too heavy to even try looking attractive–it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The other, more insidious, version (as reported to me by female friends) is that a woman who doesn’t buy into the “negative body image” meme becomes a target of resentment from other women: “What’s so special about HER?”

Consider a group of girlfriends going out for lunch:
Friend 1: “I’ll just have a salad.”
Friend 2: “I’ll have a salad with the dressing on the side.”
Friend 3: “I’ll have the extra-small salad.”
Friend 4: “I’ll have a cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake.” Guaranteed, all the other women will look at her like “WTF?”

38 Earl again December 21, 2009 at 9:11 am

Sorry to keep going, but I must…

Laura,

As my father in law would likely say…”What in the sam hell is that supposed to mean?” I am referring of course to the statement “I love you but I am not in love with you.” I am not belittling your post at all. As a man, I see this as a guy stringing you along and it frankly makes me more than irritated. You have labeled your relationship as he’s lucky to have you…it sounds like you are settling.

I would have said similar garbage when I was in high school but that’s in the distant past. I would never ever say that to someone. It’s misleading and confusing. He is lucky to have you. But you sound intelligent enough to know what you need to do but perhaps lack the strength at this moment to deal with it. But your post also betrays an inner strength which to me means that you will deal with this situation when you are ready.

A woman scorned… :)

39 Earl again December 21, 2009 at 9:19 am

Sorry guys, but this is just too much fun!!

Els,

Consider a group of guys going out for lunch:
Friend 1: “I’ll just have a double cheeseburger
Friend 2: “I’ll have a triple cheeseburger.”
Friend 3: “I’ll have 2 double cheeseburgers”
Friend 4: “I’ll have 3 doublecheeseburgers and a chocolate milkshake.”

Friends 1,2,3 are awestruck and tell Friend 4 – DUDE YOU ARE THE MAN.
This really happened.

BTW – my wife would have been friend 4 in your scenario and pretty much told her “friends”…”What the blank are you looking at?” God, she is an awesome woman :)

40 Ordinary Guy December 21, 2009 at 9:21 am

By the numbers, I expect divorce from women followed by heart ache and financial servitude. America has one of the highest divorce rates in the world of about 190 countries. America´s rate, including California, is about 60% where women initate about 80% od divorces (90% if she has a college degree) Further, I expect the woman with the help of the government to get your children, 18 years of your income and over half your stuff in about 85% of divorces.

Mark Rublov wrote that a woman´s double DDs (dating and divorce) will bankrupt many men. In general , I oberserve this to be true.

41 Be Cautious Dude December 21, 2009 at 9:27 am

American women:
- highest maintenance (I’ve never heard of a foreign bride demanding her husband buy expensive house & cars)
- fattest in the world
- most likely to cheat
- highest rate of divorce (60% – US-US marriages; 20% – US-foreign marriages)
- largest payout in divorce court (you´´ll lose most of you property, kids, and about 20 years of you income….while being called dead beat and thrown into debtor´s prison if you miss a payment))
- b!tchiest
- most likely to nag constantly
- most likely to believe in feminism and “equality”
- most likely to hate men
- spend least amount of time with her children
- worst at cooking and cleaning
- she´ll make more than you, but you pay for the dates, her wedding and the house.

42 Kevin December 21, 2009 at 9:32 am

Great article! I’m in my mid-40s and it appears to me that one result of the Feminist Movement is that women today have picked up many of men’s terrible behaviors and run with them. I’ve worked in large law firms for over 20 years and I am always surprised by the comments and actions of women in the work place that are tolerated and accepted. If a man acted in the same way or said the same thing, a sexual harassment lawsuit would ensue.

43 Kent December 21, 2009 at 9:34 am

Angelia Sparrow got it right. It’s about love and respect. I know this site doesn’t spend too much time on the spiritual side of things but when a woman is unconditionally loved she tends to become the woman she really wants to be. And when a man is unconditionally respected he tends to become the men he really wants to be. What I am afraid we are discussing here is keeping score which turns into an if-then relationship. Yes, it is seems a societal fact that women get a pass on a lot of things and men are dogged for a lot more things but the truth remains that when a person is loved/respected unconditionally, they tend to go to great lengths to be more loved/respected which in itself sounds Pavlovian but the alternative is one waiting on the other to take the first step and neither getting anywhere. And frankly, if I am a man acting worthily of respect and if my wife (of 30 yrs) is acting worthily of love, we will be working from within a relationship rather than from without one because one or both of us where demanded to be loved/respected first.

44 Terri December 21, 2009 at 9:43 am

Honestly I wish I could have found an American wife with all the qualities of my foreign wife. I could not, because they do not exist. Here is a partial list of her loveliness

1: Sensible and good with money.
2: Genuine commitment.
3: Very family oriented.
4: She enjoys housework.
5: Hard working.
6: She does not have to diet to look great

Foreign women are comfortable in their femininity. As a male I am attracted to this. And I love her with all my heart.

I believe that American women have priced themselves out of the marketplace. Too needy, too many headgames, too easy to divorce.

Not many foreign men want American wives either.

However, I notice that after 3-5 years while in America foreign women quickly become ´Americanized´ – demanding equality, yet men mostly pay expenses of relationship, do all of the heavy lifting while doing some or most of the light work aroud the house – hardly equal.

45 Marc @ YoungArchitect December 21, 2009 at 9:44 am

While the post is extremely thought provoking, if I were to show it to my wife, I think she would stare me down and then think that the whole website was a male-chauvinistic he-man manifesto. Then I would probably say something like “I know…its ridiculous right?”

46 Steven Copley December 21, 2009 at 10:21 am

I enjoyed the article and the subsequent comments.

Some of the comments are very revealing about our society.

I’m thankful that my wife is so incredibly awesome. She let’s me be “the man of the house” and still takes pride in knowing her own strengths and filling those roles, as a woman. She is my Queen, and I try to treat her as such, and yes, she treats me like a King.

47 Chris December 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

I expect double stanards from women. For example, It´s OK for them to talk about women in women organizations, but not OK for en do to the same.

Or if a share with other people that men that our education system is failing our boys or that three quarters of all suicides are male or on average men live seven years less than women.
That men do the dirty, dangerous jobs in the places… women will not go, and his hard work, sacrifice is taken for granted or that a father’s unborn child can be aborted without his knowledge or that adoption services give children to strangers than the father, among other things, ff I mention these, that I´m a woman-hater. But is OK for women to support causes that benefit only women..

If you want to be see trouble, just wait for the woman to pick up a check at the end of a meal, even though she has a job and may make more than you.

I´m surprised that feminsts (men bad, women good) have not closed this website. Is Maniness operating on an off shore island? yayayaya

48 Angelia Sparrow December 21, 2009 at 10:46 am

Earl again
I totally understand the “I love you but am not in love with you.” There are many kinds of love and English lumps them all under the same small word. We all have friends we love dearly but are not “in love” with.

Personally, I tend to define “in love” as the brief-lived eros-based infatuation stage. It’s moon and June and Ferris wheels and skyrockets and everything. It is good in its time. But it is a launching pad for more mature forms of love.

Settled love is knowing he will like something and picking it up. It’s making certain foods, because he likes them, even if you’re not a fan. It’s thinking about his long-term happiness and comfort rather than your own arousal.

I don’t have skyrockets and butterflies about my husband. When I do have is a deep, near-telepathic connection. I know his needs. I know how he likes things and I meet his needs and accomodate his likes.

@Marc,
I thought it was, originally, until I read it. But it covered the stuff I’d been missing in modern men. I like men who are confident and know themselves, who are capable and not buffoons. My oldest son will be getting a copy of the book for his 15th birthday.

@Kent.
I write unconventional romance novels (e.g. a PTSD Iraq vet in love with a legless phone psychic) as a sideline income. I spend more time than most thinking about the underpinnings of human relationships

49 Bruce December 21, 2009 at 10:53 am

It seems that women today are more bitter, spiteful, confused and unhappy than ever before. (However, I don’t know there is any real validity to this, or if it’s just the result of prejudices influencing my observations).

It strikes me that in an attempt to garner “equality” with men (by burping the alphabet, etc.) they’re turning their backs on their “womanliness”. Could this be one of the reasons why they are so unhappy? Or am I completely off-track here?

50 lady brett December 21, 2009 at 11:01 am

very good article. i’m mostly pointing out disagreements i have with it below, but i don’t want that to negate the good things y’all say – and, most importantly, that you’re hosting the conversation.

those marital charts are pretty cute. but i think the issue with them is not, as you say, that men are still expected to follow it and women aren’t. i think it is that couples are still expected to follow it – but not necessarily in the gendered way it was written. what i mean is that, yes, it is sexist to tell me “you’re the wife, so you should cook, and it ought to be ready on time,” but only if you don’t know anything else about me – cooking isn’t really “women’s work” anymore, and maybe that’s mare his thing than mine. on the other hand, it is absolutely, completely reasonable to say that if dad cooked dinner, mom should “come to the table promptly,” to take an example from the chart.

from a feminist point of view there is very little wrong with those charts as an expectation of how to make a relationship work – they basically say everyone ought to do their fair shake. the problem is when it says the man has to do x part, and the woman y.

i am a feminist who really wants nothing more than to be a housewife for my girl. sometimes that statement does get the kind of “ugh, how regressive!” reaction from other women, but more often than not, people are really, genuinely supportive. especially feminists. because the idea of feminism is that we ought to be able to choose our path independent of our gender/sex. so, don’t look down on me for wanting to be a housewife (i’ll not get into that being primarily unfeasible in most modern situations), nor at a woman who would rather work 80-hour weeks as a lawyer, nor at a househusband.

because it is damned manly (and very womanly, if i may) to be responsible and happy, however you get there.

(on the flip side, yes, burping the alphabet is unfeminine, but it’s distinctly unmanly too!)

51 Jonathan Cunningham December 21, 2009 at 11:08 am

I’m not sure what the age demographics are on this site (perhaps a subject for future article Brett?), but as a young man in my early twenties I found this particularly interesting. I normally don’t talk about such things, because, well, I’m a dude. What on God’s green earth do I know about women’s issues. Still, I think here I can safely add my two cents.

I agree that there is a double-standard when it comes to gender treatment and I’ve seen particularly disturbing examples of this at work in certain places. However, I think before men can ask what men can expect of women, men need to ask what women expect of themselves.

From here on out, I will be speaking in generalities. As with any random distribution, there will be statistical outliers and deviations from the normal line. I am not addressing these, I’m addressing the 80-95% statistical norms.

Men have had a single model for masculinity in any given era. The Macho Man. The Coporate Tycoon. The Sensitive Guy. The Metrosecual (the one I most vehemently hate). Occasionally you will have dueling standards (The Macho Man vs The Metrosexual, neither of which are healthy models) but for the most part it boils down to money, muscles, and lookin’ good. I’m not saying this is correct, I’m simply stating what I have observed in the mass media.

Now, compare the vast array of media targeted at women. Or heck, just take a look at a magazine rack in the check-out line sometime. Women live with a constant cacophony of voices, giving them different models of womanhood. Be a corporate tycoon. Be a sex-pot. Be a princess. Be a house-wife. Wear designer clothes. Ignore fashion and wear whatever’s on sale. Buy designer clothes on sale. Get a good man. Ignore men except for the occasional one-night stand. Be corporate tycoon sex-pot with a tamed, submissive man. Couple that with the stupid idea that there’s only correct model of womanhood and all others are “betrayal of the sisterhood of women everywhere” and you’ve got a recipe for utter confusion. For both genders.

I think it is necessary for women, on an individual basis, to decide what their model of womanhood is. Just as there are multiple types of manhood (Brett did a post on this a while back, November I believe), I think there are multiple variants of womanhood. The question that I’m not sure men ask (or heck women ask for that matter) is what those variants are.

Okay, so that was more than two cents worth.

52 Adrienne December 21, 2009 at 11:11 am

Interesting article, and I love the comments. I feel like Athene took the words right out of my mouth as far as what the point of womens liberation is.

I found myself mostly agreeing with the article, but a few things made me raise my eyebrow such as:

“That you can’t insist on both being treated like a princess while also being a totally “independent woman?” (And that these dual impulses are driving men nuts?) And that a lot of relationships are falling apart not because there aren’t any good men to be found, but because women are so paranoid about “losing their identity” that they can’t settle down and give themselves over to being with a man? (Did you know that 2/3 of divorces are initiated by women?)”

Agreed you can’t insist on being treated like a princess (personally it makes me feel cheap, childish and I hate it) and being an independent woman. I’d like you to expand a little on your second point in the paragraph though, as I thinking say something like “give themselves over to being with a man” has a lot of implications but directly states nothing. What do you mean by that? Please explain how a woman gives themselves over to being with a man if you are not referring to surrendering authority? Its a vague concept, and important that you clarify in my opinion.

Bruce: I’ve never turned my back on anything feminine in an attempt to be more equal, perhaps the problem is what you believe “womanliness” supposedly is? Then again I’m not bitter, spiteful, confused or unhappy so, frankly its hard not to lump your posts with the handful of others that is basically women bashing, however more polite you may be than some.

Kent: I find it weird you think women want love but men want respect. I’d argue you are referring to the same thing in what women and men want, that encompasses both love AND respect. I do not see the difference.

53 Sean F. Glass December 21, 2009 at 11:24 am

Excellently written article. Made me chuckle but there’s quite a lot of truth to it. The thing is, if men had always treated women with the respect and (relative) equality that they deserved, what would they have needed to be “liberated” from? It’s a shame. But in any “liberation” movement the tendency to go to far the other way is very real and I think what’s happened here.

I say “relative” equality above because let’s face it. Equality *is* relative. Men and Women can be equal in what matters most (equal love, respect, opportunity, etc) but can never be completely “equal.” It’s just a fact that Men, on balance, tend to be physically stronger, more ‘analytical/logical’ perhaps, better equipped constitutionally to be the ‘provider,’ and so on. Women on balance tend to be more physically delicate, more emotional, more decorative, more ‘tender’ if you will, and so on. Stereotypical? Perhaps. Are there exceptions? Certainly. But they are just that- exceptions. I recently got into a heated discussion with a woman over an old film that portrayed 1800′s women (in her words) as “pretty, whiny wilting flowers” while exclaiming vociferously that she swung a pick axe for a living and lived in a bare bones apartment without heat, so those women didn’t “resonate with her.” Maybe not, but you can hardly expect all women (or even many) to relate to her “kind of woman” although I respect her for doing what she does.

Men are men and women are women, we should be proud of what makes what we are. I think some of the earlier comments hit it correctly: equality in the male/female relationship should mean being a team, working together, enjoying life together, and sharing each others responsibilities to an extent while retaining some traditional male/female distinctions ;P if this means that the woman has a bit more work responsibility in the household, while the man has a bit more work *outside* the household, I see nothing wrong with that and I’ll be the first to admit that many women are just plain better at “domestic” duties than I am- but then, I don’t expect the woman to shovel snow, mow the lawn, wash or repair the cars, or do heavy physical work. I see no reason why this should be offensive! :-p

54 Rayndy P. Valcin II December 21, 2009 at 11:25 am

I would like to see a return of the curtsy. I think it is a great display of womanliness and quite attractive. I’m sure our modern woman would say that it shows a sign of submission, that they shouldn’t have to bow to us, but it is not that at all. Im sure any true man would not mind bowing to a “lady”. I personally do not like to shake hands with a woman, now, that said, a kiss on the back of the hand is acceptable, but i feel that a hand shake should have a nice grip, and reserved for male to male respect.

55 Shmikey December 21, 2009 at 11:39 am

My favorite dictum is “opposites attract”. When I was dating women who were militant feminists, it was because I was not living up to my masculinity, and once I asserted my masculinity, I was no longer attractive to them. Then I met a truly feminine woman, who knew what it was to be feminine, that she embraced her role as Mother and Wife, and found joy in fulfilling those roles, then I found true joy in being truly masculine. My wife has a college degree in Psychology and was fed plenty of the militant feminist garbage growing up, and even thought that is what it meant to be a woman, but was wise enough to see that it brought her nothing but confusion and misery. The Bible is filled with beautiful archetypes of what it is to be truly feminine, and what it is to be truly masculine, and plenty of examples of what happens when you fail in that mission. That is where I look to find direction, and it has never failed for a good reason, because it was inspired by the Creator of masculinity and femininity.

56 Kim December 21, 2009 at 11:40 am

I have found that manly treatment of women, in this context, is about respect. A man’s self-respect and respect of the women in his life. If so, how can I, as a woman, express the same thing? It doesn’t take much. If my man mows the lawn in the heat of summer or de-ices the cars in winter, it only takes a couple minutes for me to offer a cold/hot drink when he comes in breathless and tired. If a man offers to pay for my dinner, whether out of respect for me or a need for an ego boost for himself, it doesn’t hurt for me to accept graciously instead of arguing. The same goes for carrying packages or other stuff I’m perfectly capable of doing myself. It also doesn’t hurt for me to do things that he’s perfectly capable of doing such as offering to sew a button or bake his favorite cookies. This applies to men who are not current or potential romantic partners, too. Some of these things are only made feminine by the fact that I’m female and I’m doing them, but that doesn’t make them inconsequential.

57 Bruce December 21, 2009 at 11:41 am

What a great post! This is such an important topic among today’s society. Men be men. Women be Women. Please encourage both genders to take upon themselves their role and stick with it.

58 Mike December 21, 2009 at 11:41 am

What security is there for western modern men in a marriage? If I cheat on my wife, she gets my child(ren) half my stuff, and 18 years of my income. If she cheats on me, she still gets my child(ren), half my stuff, and 18 years of my income.

Marriage is bi-lateral (two decides) while the inevitable divorce is unilateral (one decides) and no-fauit (no reason needed). Why should a man get married in today´s anti-father/husband, pro-single mother culture? Just asking.

Though this is no laughing matter, I saw a funny comic about this taboo issue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEjVnkk9ezM

59 Kate McKay December 21, 2009 at 12:00 pm

@Adrienne-
“I’d like you to expand a little on your second point in the paragraph though, as I thinking say something like “give themselves over to being with a man” has a lot of implications but directly states nothing.”

Giving yourself over to being a with a man means giving yourself over to being part of a couple instead of being just an individual. Is it important to maintain your own sense of self in a relationship? Sure. But maintaining your own identity has become an obsession in our day and age, especially amongst women. In a relationship both partners give up some of their individualness to become a unit; you meld your lives together. I’m me, but I’m also Brett’s wife and I love being Brett’s wife. (And he in turns loves being my husband). That’s naturally part of who we are now. But I know women who freak out and jump ship when they feel that melding happening, because I feel like they have this ingrained fear of losing themselves in a relationship.

As with all things in culture, you have a swinging between extremes. Whereas historically a women’s whole identity was subsumed by her relationship with a man, now women fear giving away any of that indentity. And as always, I think the healthy path lies in the middle, where both partners give themselves to each other and become something greater than their individual parts.

60 Sal Paradise December 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm

The only thing that these charts demonstrate is that their bygone era subjected women to a ridiculous set of stigma, and men, remaining unsubjected, are therefore praised and admonished for the same things in the modern age.

You said as much yourself: “we could imagine a modern day woman expecting her husband to live up to most of the standards on the Husband’s Chart, if a man expected a woman to adhere to the Wife’s Chart, he’d probably be met with the look of death.”

I, however, cannot see how this can possibly construed as a negative thing. Not wearing too much makeup to bed? Letting the husband sleep in on Sundays? Being suspicious, or, worse, jealous (of what, exactly, it is never stated)?

You think women get angry when you tell them they shouldn’t express the general human emotions of suspicion or jealousy? I wonder why.

***
Regarding that quote from the NYT:
I’ve spent a good amount of the past decade on college campuses, in major cities, in classes large and small, in groups conservative and anarchistic. And you know what? Never–not once–did I see a man wear a suit to class. I saw lots of them in their pajamas, though.

61 Kelly December 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Even though I am a women I love reading The AoM for it’s interesting and well-written articles. However, after a while I started to wonder if there was a website like this for women. I am in my early 20s, living in New York, and in the business of theatre management (a business still mostly dominated by men). Yet, my views on relationships between men and women are rather traditional. I often feel I’m living a conflicted life, working to gain my place among men, but still being feminine. I would love a website that discusses how women can deal with our new ‘equality’ in the workplace without isolating ourselves in social situations.

62 Kyle December 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm

For me what it comes down to is that the qualities that make a person a good person-decency, sacrifice, courage, hard work, supportive, nurturing, loyal, kind, etc etc, are the same in both sexes. But what is different is which qualities should be more dominant in each sex. Is it cool if a woman is brave and courageous? Sure. But men don’t walk around looking for brave and courageous women. I know that wasn’t high on my list when I was looking for a partner. And is it cool if men are nurturing and supportive? Sure. But that isn’t first and foremost in a women’s mind when she’s looking for a mate. So basically I think men and women should strive to embody all good qualities, while making the ones that are traditionally masculine or feminine just a bit more dominant in their personalities.

I think Sal missed the point of the NYT article. It’s talking about a very recent trend, a break with what has gone on for the last decade. It’s just emerging right now. I do see other men dressing up more, even for class, And I myself have adopted a sharper sense of style.

63 Mona December 21, 2009 at 12:22 pm

As a modern woman I agree that we need to return to some of the womanly ideals used in the past. While I do not think this should ever be a “return to the kitchen” sort of thing I do think being lady-like is no crime. A lot of the struggle for me as a modern woman is unlearning the idea that acting like a lady is somehow showing weakness or making your self subject to disrespect.
I was born in the late 80′s and it seems like I have been socialized to think that I need to be strong, independent and equalist to get any respect at all. I have been taught to act like my male counterparts but be twice as tough. this is both unrealistic and hard to unlearn. This socialization seems to be so strong that I have to force myself to remember to be gracious and allow men to hold doors and pull out chairs or pay for dinner.
I think AoM is very laudable and would like you all to know that some of us ladies are trying to work on the art of Womanliness as well- just like what you all are attempting to learn this is a difficult project for us as it is counter cultural. Yet, perhaps if we all try to be our best selves it will be that little bit easier for us all! Peace!

64 Frankie December 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm

This is such an interesting topic. I think the idea of a manly man and a womanly woman relates more to how self reliant and functional as a human being you are. It’s too easy to fall back on purely cosmetic ideas of what it means to be manly or womanly. This is one of the many reasons why I love this site. It’s about having real skills, style, polish, and grace. So many people today lack this and to see anyone who is put together and on top of their game is appealing.

Feminism is really about equality for all genders. It’s not fair to anyone to get locked in a ‘pink is for girls and blue is for boys’ world based on stereotypes. This brings us a lot of nonsense that deprives society of a lot of talent. A friend of mine is a talented knitter who actually spins and dyes wool to make his own yarn. That’s pretty badass once you realize how hard all that is. He gets a lot of flack for his hobby and talent – mostly by other men. It is also interesting to note what is considered masculine and feminine can vary by age and culture. There really isn’t a one size fits all approach.

As it is, people as a whole tend to benefit from things such as respect, common decency, civility, and self awareness. Pushing gender stereotypes doesn’t bring us these things.

65 Jack December 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Random DNA checks prove that 20% of men who think they are father are not. This statistic is truly shocking.

There’s a whole evolutionary game theory worked out to explain this.

Simply put, a woman wants to bind a man into a monogamous relationship so he provides food and resources for her and her children, while she maximizes the genetic diversity of her children by having them with several different men.

In a culture of liberal woman´s sexual freedom DNA test at childbirth or at least divorce as the guy is on the hook for $1,000 monthly for almost two decades, ought to be required to determine the actual paternity.

Discussion from pregnancy message board:

¨It took me 2 years to get pg, we finally said screw it, stopped trying, and went to Mexico. Whammo, a vacation and margi’s did the trick.´¨

¨Your son looks kind-of Mexican, right?¨

¨shhhh- don’t tell my husband¨

66 Chelito December 21, 2009 at 12:39 pm

I’m glad to see that you’ve addressed women’s behaviour, as I have often read the articles here and thought that many of the suggestions made could apply to women as well as men. This isn’t just in regard to learning how to cook or dress, but the articles regarding living life with purpose etc. I can’t speak for every girl, as I am just one, but I can give some insight into my experiences in girldom.
I’m a early twenties student at a prominent university in Canada and I can definitely agree with what that professor said about the different dress codes with girls and boys in class, but only to a point. Most of the classes I have attended there is a liberal smattering of girls in their pyjamas or sweatpants (even the name is gross). The boys who do come well dressed, and there are many, are generally out numbered by the very slovenly. That’s just my experience of it. Also, there really needs to be a little more modesty in clothing, both male and female. For real, lady, I don’t want to see all of that.
I think the largest failing, if I can call it that without being flamed, of women today is a lack of self-respect hidden by a knee-jerk feminism. I have met countless girls, and have been guilty of it myself, who feel that they can go out and make a fool of themselves, and then when confronted by it say “Well boys do it!” as if that then makes them equal, and not idiots.
Basically I think that women, just like men, should behave as the best person they can be, not based off of how other lesser people behave.

67 Nick December 21, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Wow,

How many times have you written and proofread that article. Thanks for finally bringing it up in such an articulate and concise article. Now, you need to find a forum to effectively distribute this to women, because there isn’t much a bunch of men can do with this thing. I do have a few rules for suggestion:

Women should never, ever wear sweatpants in public. This is sloppy and should also apply to men.

If your going to stay home with the kids, do not drop them off with a sitter every two hours. This is a hideous display of a lack of priorities, and this can also apply to men.

Finally, if you have children, and prefer to work, make sure that you at least work during the day, and that you (and your husbands) salary are each significantly higher than the cost of childcare. Otherwise, both parties need to discuss why they choose to work away from home in the first place.

68 JR Seaman December 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I would love for women to say “thank you” after I open a door for them. You know someone cares if they say thank you when you open the door for them.

This is a good question to ask my wife, “If there was an Art of Elegance (AOE) blog, what would you want to see on it?”

69 Katie December 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Wow. You know, I’ve always liked The Art of Manliness because it didn’t engage in mansplaining or because it didn’t wholly engage in this, “Oh woe is me, womenz are so unfair to me!” business that I abhor in so many “men’s” sites.

The Art of Manliness has always encouraged men to be Men, as in, grown-up males. To me, this has far more to do with civility, respect and responsibility than it does with wearing a suit to your college classes (aside: while I am a couple of years out of university, I never saw a guy in any of my classes–graduate or undergraduate–wearing a suit, unless he had attended/was attending a formal function immediately before or after) or whatever it is you seem to think women are interested in. Women want men to act like adults, not children, and in a generation where Tucker Max dominates the masculine ideal, I don’t think it’s wrong of women to say, “I’d really like it if a man were as interested in cleaning his toilet–which has stuff growing in it–as he was in Street Fighter/Guitar Hero/WOW.” I don’t think the idea that people in general should be grown-ups (i.e. responsible for themselves, treat others in general with respect and kindness, and should be honorable in their relationships) is in any way sexist against men, and I am sorry, but I do not see at all how women have been encouraged to be anything less in their own lives. While we might not see wearing high heels, making you dinner every night, and deferring to you in all things so that you’ll feel like a big, strong manly man all the time as necessarily part of those things, I think most of us feel that even if we’re not June Cleaver, we still have things to offer in a relationship.

A couple of other things: “The first is that men spent most of world history in a position of privilege (although there were real downsides to being a man during this time, too). Then the women’s movement happened and they lost that position.” Men have not, in fact, lost their position of privilege. When women are shown to receive callbacks for job interviews at the same rate or the same pay, when women are not routinely treated as little more than objects of male desire and/or mommies, when women generally speaking no longer have to deal with things like this blog post (if I wear a tie every once in a while, why won’t you cook me dinner every night?).

I’m insulted, which I understand was the very thing you were commenting in this post, but the reason why I am offended is because you so wholly miss the mark. You focus so much on a handful of girls in your acquaintance who apparently belch and make appearances on girls gone wild, that you ignore the fact that in most households, women still do the bulk of housework…even when they have jobs that are just as demanding as their husbands’. While a single man might do as much. In fact, when a woman gets married, the amount of housework she does goes up each week. When a man gets married, the husband’s goes down. Even in families where they are committed to “equal partnership” this is true.

Children still overwhelmingly see housework and child-rearing as the domain of women. The advertising industry certainly backs that idea up, considering that it is still almost impossible to find a commercial for a household product that features a man. Women have the highest rates of eating and body image disorders of the sexes by far, meaning that women still receive the most pressure to be beautiful and to meet certain beauty standards. Women face the greatest difficulty after having children balancing work and family, because even in supposedly “equal” households, men still expect women to be the one who stays home when baby is sick or to take off work if the kids need to be driven from one place to the other. This is demonstrated through endless studies that have examined how women’s careers stall after they have children.

It’s just so unbelievably frustrating to read this sort of, “Oh, poor pitiful me” write-ups when, apart from some anecdotal “I know a guy who says boys wear suits to class and I know girls who can’t cook” stories, it in no way at all reflects the ongoing gender inequality or the incredible position of privilege men still have in our society. And instead of, yes, manning up and accepting that when women get upset when a dude expects her to wear her pearls all the time–while she’s also doing the bulk of the housework and the bulk of raising the children and also bringing home half or nearly half or sometimes even more than half of the bacon–because it is in fact insulting that men still overwhelmingly want to have their cake and eat it, too when it comes to women, you guys bitch and moan because we aren’t doing enough to please you.

After all, you put on a tie and held open a door for a lady! Now where is your congratulatory BJ?!?!

Ugh. Things like this make me so grateful for the men in my life who understand and appreciate that while I might not do my hair and make-up every day and I might not be able to whip up a culinary masterpiece in my pearls every night after I get off of work, I’ve got a lot of other better things to contribute to a relationship and to humanity than fulfilling empty ideals of archaic womanhood. And if my fiancee, for instance, wants to wear a tie every once in a while, I hope he’s doing so because it makes him feel good about himself–not because he’s expecting to get something out of me for doing something which, I’m sorry, has almost nothing to do with what I expect of him as a man (again, a grown-up male.) That’s just screwed up.

70 John V December 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I observe so expect American women to be mostly high-maintenance primadonnas with attitudes. I’d take a foreign born Russian or Latina woman any day. They are much nicer and normally more comfortable and less hypocritical (I´m strong, independent give me child support and assets so I can stay in the marital home that you bought) than most American women – plus they don’t worship Oprah and The View – they go to the library or perform outside activities.

Dating or being married to an American woman is like driving a beat-up Ford Escort. If you are only used to driving a beat-up Ford Escort, then you have no idea what it feels like when you drive a Bentley or Ferrari. You need to at least test-drive a Ferrari, so you’ll have a reference point on what a real car feels like.

71 Tara December 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm

This is a charged topic: Thank you for picking it up! I’ve been hoping your site would touch on womanliness at some point. The art of femininity has been lost. Much has been gained from the loss… but it’s worth looking back on what we’ve discarded and pulling from it those things that are still valuable. I’m interested to see what others (men and women) have to say on this.

Thanks for this post.

72 Adam December 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm

My agreement with this article was further solidified while overhearing a conversation where a young “lady” proceeded to tell her girlfriends about her baby’s “worthless piece of #$%^” father. She remarkably managed to use 6 F-bombs in one sentence while referring to the “gentleman”. This episode was a perfect picture of why a return to some moral standard is needed; it doesn’t matter if we call it manliness or womanliness.

73 wrathex December 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Good article, thanks.

I have been a housewife for 17 years. My duties include, doing everything in the home and garden, from cooking to cleaning, to taking out the trash, changing lightbulbs, taking care of all the pets. (no maid and no gardener, oh I also clean the pool)

He worked all day, came home and then did bachelor stuff, he took care of me financially,
so I ‘sort of’ accepted it and was willing to tolerate it up to a point.

I was the stronger woman behind this man, eventually with his mightely boosted ego,
at having a very sexy, beautiful, capable and creative wife, and an achieving son, he got himself a very young asian women (a sexworker) on the side.
(I suppose that’s how many men reward themselves)

We’re divorcing, I invested everything I had in the marriage, I was subjected to much
scorn from other females for choosing to raise my children myself and to not employ a maid.

I honestly also believe that the problems experienced with out of control children today, relates directly to the fact that their mothers are not personally raising them, and relying on
maids/helpers to raise their children.

Out of control children or children who do not reflect the same values as their parents, are a negative side-effect of feminism, a working mother is not the best mother for a child.

We should all be more careful that in out quest for equality we don’t destroy that which we hold dear.

74 srgonzo December 21, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Oddly enough, I got the best perspective on feminism from Family Guy.

“Feminism isn’t about having to do everything that men do. It’s about choice.”

The renaissance of manly virtue doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be an attempt to restore the balance of power between men and women as it existed in 1934. What it should be is an assertion of who we are and what we bring to the table as a gender. Can we appropriately identify what it truly means to be manly? I honestly believe AoM does a fairly good job of getting to that point. Granted, there is a bit of a bias toward Christianity and Western philosophy, but considering the source, it shouldn’t be surprising, nor is it offensive to my non-Christian sensibilities.

So where are we on the front of men being manly? Do the manly virtues conflict with the principles of feminism? Are we capable of separating the wheat from the chaff? Personally, I don’t need a woman to have a pitcher of martinis waiting for me when I get home. What I do need is a woman who will stimulate me between my ears as well as between my legs. Do I have a problem with the idea of paying for dinner while we’re dating? Absolutely not. When we invite others on a date of some sort, it’s appropriate to provide the funding unless you’ve already established that the other person is going to pay or that you’re going dutch. In the event that my wife and I divorce, do I have a problem with her retaining half of our marital assets or more? Again, not really. While there are some books and electronic components I’d prefer to keep, she’s the one who’s going to have to take care of the kids. I’d maintain a joint custody relationship and pay a fair share of child support, but it’s unreasonable to think that I’d sue for primary custody or sole custody if my wife and I were to divorce because my job won’t allow for that.

Do I expect my stay-at-home wife to take care of things around the house, even after I get home? Absolutely. In response to the question: “When does my day end?” from a stay-at-home spouse, the answer is: “When the kids are in bed and everything else is done.” However, that does not mean a working spouse should be able to come home and avoid any responsibility for helping around the house. One would think that in being in a loving relationship, the bread-winner would come home and help out in order to make sure there might be some quality time available with the other person.

Recently, I had a woman chastise me for my lack of appreciation for the domestic engineering my wife does. She said: “If you had to pay for someone to do all of the things your wife does for you, you’d end up spending more money than you make.” My reply to this is: “If I paid someone to clean my house, take care of my children, cook my meals, and have sex with me, then I’d be certain all of these things were done to my satisfaction, and if they weren’t, I could find someone else to do them.”

However, this debate isn’t about domestic chores and who does them. I think it amounts to respect and what we want. Gentlemen, if we are going to look for women who appreciate our renaissance of manly virtues, then we need to look beyond their appearance. Sure, that might be a start, but it shouldn’t be an end. We need to actually articulate what we expect. Treat a date as an interview. The person you’re on a date with might be trying to put the best foot forward, but that person may not have the qualities you’re looking for. Perhaps you get involved beyond the dating phase and into the ‘relationship’ phase. Contemplate that as a probationary period. Do the hunting and reviewing. If you like a clean house, and this potential significant other has an apartment which looks like Hurricane Sophia just came through, then you need to decide whether or not you want to take care of the cleaning chores. I’m not sure why this became such a taboo thing to do, but dating and relationships should serve as a precursor to marriage or some other kind of commitment. If something seems a little off at the beginning; don’t wait five years after you’re married to decide it’s intolerable. Remember that half a degree of difference may not seem like much at first, but if you extend far enough, you may find yourself a million miles away from the other vector.

Men, both genders like having sex as a general rule. If we decide to be selective, we are going to find people who are going to attempt to conform to our standards. Because the people we want to have sex with are selective, we have conformed to meet their standards. Granted, both forms of conformity are going to fit into the “more or less” category, but it will happen.

75 Jerry December 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm

The Women’s Movement just can’t seem to make any progress in paying or heavy work in relationships, can they?

76 Clark December 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm

An excellent post, that was bound to be completely misinterpreted by many but cherished by both men and women as well. More like it, please.

77 MR December 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm

This article started well, but then became rather disappointing. I can understand the desire for women to make an effort in terms of wardrobe and general manners. I agree, a lot of women lack certain graces that would make them more attractive. I think certain thing about traditional “womanliness” that should be brought back are things like wearing attractive clothing, being a good listener and conversationalist, taking pride in one’s home, being a good neighbor and being considerate, calm and polite in difficult situations. But some of the more deep set changes of the past century should not, and will not be undone. More people need to appreciate that times have changed beyond simple socialization. For example, in 1950, a large family could live reasonably well off of one income, now two income households are necessary for the same quality of life. Women need to work, and so household tasks need to be divided, and they shouldn’t be divided along traditional roles but rather which each partner likes and what is fair. I am a woman who likes to be outside, why shouldn’t I rake the leaves if my boyfriend would rather cook? Exercising is traditionally male, but everyone needs to fight heart disease and obesity, why shouldn’t women play sports? Women have to work, so why shouldn’t they decide where their money should be spent and be educated about investment? I love making money, and like most people I also love spending my money on people I love, so why shouldn’t I choose the restaurant and pick up the bill once in a while? I guess what I’m trying to say is, on a shallow level, I agree with you. The fundamentals, however, of gender role have changed for the better. Few good women will be willing to give up the progress we’ve made.

78 Chris December 21, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I have to laugh as I read some of these posts focused on touchy feely things like fair, equal, respect, love, as when push comes to shove at work and at home, when the government laws and regulations are made policy and procedure, the man is always punished or suffers loss for smallest, even innocent infractions. The exception is when the man is gay, then different rules and expectations are practiced for him.

I observe in my church – WIllow Chruch Community Church – that there are double standards for men and women practised also. For example, during Mother´s Day service women are thanked and honored, while in contrast on Father´s Day service, men are challenged to step to their responsibilities and encouraged to do more for women and children.

79 Sean F. Glass December 21, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Katie: I think you aren’t reading this article in an entirely fair way.

I saw no where in the article where it implied that a man would “put on a tie” or do any other “manly” things simply for the purpose of getting something out of a woman for it. In fact, the article said this:

“A man’s desire to man up should really have little to do with women and their opinion of him. Basing their lives around the opinions of women is exactly where men have gone wrong these last few decades. A man should want to seek true manliness out of his desire for confidence, honor, and self-respect.”

The overwhelming point of this article, to me, was this: “In some ways, the new movement towards a return to traditional manliness needs women to be on board to be successful. After all, if you have men opening doors and asking women on real dates, and they’re just laughing in your face, that’s clearly not going to work out too well.”

This site encourages not only the fundamental character strengths that you allude to, but manifesting respect and admiration for women by being more “gentlemanly.” YES, open a door for her, give a little more care and attention to your personal appearance, hygiene and grooming, don’t be a skinflint, DO some cooking once in a while, don’t be sleazy, etc etc. What it’s saying is, that if men are willing to look to the past in certain areas to find what’s good and revive it, women should be willing to do the same. Admittedly, this can be difficult in today’s society with more women working and so on, but it’s still possible to a large degree.

I would agree that women still generally do the bulk of the housework. (Less so than in years past however.) I don’t find this inherently to be a bad thing. Not at all, and I don’t see why some women seem to loathe the idea so much. Many women in the past and even now take pride in having and managing a clean and pleasant house. Often women have abilities and strengths that make them more suited to “home-making” than men. THIS IS NOT INHERENTLY A BAD THING. IT IS GOOD. What I DO find unfortunate however, is that in today’s society/economy, women are often expected to do secular work outside the home to make ends meet. And I understand some women’s frustration when they are expected to do this IN ADDITION to doing the brunt of the housework. HERE is where men need to pick up the slack, if their household is under these circumstances. For instance, in my household, my mother had a full time job, and my father did nearly all the grocery shopping, my father and I did nearly all the laundry, and I did all the dishwashing. My father also would sometimes have dinner ready when she came home.
What I don’t understand is women feeling that their specializing in the domestic side of life is, or would be, somehow degrading to them. I just don’t get that.

80 Dee December 21, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I’m sure glad that you have written on this subject. I have always enjoyed being womanly and have found it so sad the coarsening of females. We have always been the ones that have brought a civiling infulence on our society. But with the women leaving the home they have also left the shaping of our society. The old saying “the hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rule the world” has alot of depth to it. I believe that when the women fell for the propagande that the womans lib bunch put out – they lost so much more than they gained. And have forgotten how to “enjoy being a woman”.
On a brighter note, I listen to Dr. Laura and am so encouraged about how so many women are finally getting it…..
It would be neat to see a web site like yours , which I read all the time and email various ones to my sons, for woman that want to keep being womanly. I have always held to the “old” standards even in the work place. I like the doors being opened for my (which I do thank the person for), I appeciate a man being a man. My husband is the silent type, but he does so much for me which I in turn do for him. Respect comes into play alot in relationships. A person has to respect themselves before they can expect respect from others. Anyway, just my few thoughts. Keep up the good work.

81 Sean F. Glass December 21, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Dee: excellent comment ;)

I agree that women gained some things but lost a lot with the whole “lib” thing. Sure, women can do many jobs now that would before have only been open to men – but I know very few women now who would not gladly give up their full-time-grind jobs to stay at home, do some cooking and decorating, and be with their children. This is just one example.

82 Pat December 21, 2009 at 1:43 pm

A manily man is a fool to marry in today´s pro-woman divorce courts. My brother grabbed his wife´s arms to stop her from hitting him. He called 911 and the police came and arrested my brother for domestic violence. He had a charge on his record that made it difficult to find a good job.

Later, when she divorced him (she was ¨unhappy¨), her lawyers used the violence charge to obtain an Order of Protection. Now because the woman and children need to be protected, my brother was ordered out of his own home (that he bought with saving he had before the relationship). This effectively seperated my brother from his children, property, home and cars, the wife was later ¨awarded¨ the children and his stuff with the ten years of $1,500 monthly – though she was teacher and made more than my brother and brought only debts to the marriage. My brother even paid for her graduate degree.

83 Matt December 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Another brilliant post Brett, thanks so much for this. Rarely have I seen this cultural problem addressed as lucidly as you’ve done here.

This movement is really the cutting edge of today’s cultural evolution, I can only hope I meet a woman who chooses to work on herself as a woman the way I’ve chosen to work on myself as a man.

84 Loris December 21, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Let’s see here: I cook nearly every night, clean, do yardwork, sew and mend, and take care of our 3 animals. I also work full-time. I buy stylish, classic clothing that flatters my coloring and figure so I look my best. I buy the best clothing and shoes I can afford and then take care of what I have so my husband doesn’t always have to be shelling out for the latest trend. If I’m in sweatpants, I’m either home sick, or have a paint roller in my hand. I make myself available to my husband so if he ever wants to get away from the computer and attend to the physical side of the marriage, I’m ready and eager. However, if it’s WoW raid night, all the lingerie or outright nudity in the world won’t pull him away from the screen.

What do I want from him? I want him to come sit with me and watch Futurama for an hour or two without a DS in his hand or longing looks toward the office. I want the occasional foot rub and dinner out. I want him to take the time to train his new puppy (who is alarmingly large and bitey) instead of complaining that he doesn’t have the time to spend with the dog and that I should learn to handle him. I want him to do things he says he will the day he says he will do them, not three days later.

Still kinda sounds to me like I get the short end of the stick, even if he did everything I wanted him to do, which he doesn’t. Am I being unreasonable?

85 Marc December 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Her Behavior
* Be a taker, a Merchant Maureen, an entitled princess whose life is the axis of the “relationship.”
* Live on a pedestal, and talk only to men who want you there. Your femininity and self-esteem depend on being chased and courted and pleased and showered with gifts.
* Men must worship and take care of you, and finance your lifestyle. Reject all men who does not worship you. You want a new daddy who will treat you like a dependent daughter!
* Use sex as a weapon/reward, based on how much he pleases or displeases you.
* Do not allow your pathetic doormat discover your secret sex partner(s). When you discover his tryst(s), punch him, file for divorce, ruin him financially, and take your children away from him.

86 Sal Paradise December 21, 2009 at 2:02 pm

@Kyle:

Fair enough, it’s a “recent trend.” But I’m still on campus, and I still see a lack of ties and an overabundance of sweatpants. And really, most professors don’t come close to putting on a tie these days. That being said, I would guess the guy in the NYT article, a “chief analyst” at NPD, is probably referring to students in MBA classes or business-oriented pursuits. And I know some folks in MBA classes, and, yeah, they dress up.

Bottom line, however, remains the same: what Brett & Kate transpose as a general trend with 20-something males (and their sloppily-dressed female counterparts) is, from where I’m sitting, lacking in evidence.

87 Sean F. Glass December 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

@Loris:

If the situation as it stands is really as you presented it, you are indeed getting the short end of the stick, and you’re expectations seem to me (as a man) to be entirely reasonable, if anything a little low. I’m willing to believe there’s another side to the story but his conduct to me sounds rather revolting!

Maybe someone needs to read this site….. ;)

88 Eric December 21, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I was actually kind of thinking about this whole subject this week. Now, what I say doesn’t mean I disagree with women being independent and successful. I would rather a woman who has dreams and aspirations and the motivation to go after those dreams.
I think that the rise of feminism has been detrimental to relationships for nice guys and women alike. Sure, women today are fulfilling their potential now more than ever. And it is getting better all the time. But with their rising independence, the need for a stable guy who treats them with respect and admiration is less and less a want of theirs. Not all of them. Just in general.
Today, more than ever, a nice guy has a much harder time being a real man and being attractive to women. Or their interest is short lived. I am in my late 20′s and seem to see this a lot. It is the joke of many movies and the joke of guys across the nation. The jerk gets the girl. In the old days, women sought guys who would provide, who would be the rock, who would care for them. I was just told the other day by a woman that I have been talking to, that she doesn’t understand why people get married. It seems stupid to her that she should have to spend the rest of her life with someone.
At least at my age, women seem to never be looking for Mr. Right. It has become Mr. Rightnow to all too many of them, permanently.
But I agree that men should strive to be a true to themselves. Being a real man should have nothing to do with women’s perception of us. It just seems to be an unfortunate byproduct to me. But hey, maybe it’s just me that thinks this.

89 Nathan December 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm

The aspect of femininity that I wish women would re-embrace today is modesty. We have a decent sized German Baptist community around us, and while I would not advocate returning to full length dresses and complete body coverage as a code of dress, there is something to be said for a woman that is modest. Using the German Baptists as an example, once a woman is married the only person that gets to see her with her prayer bonnet off is their husband. Strikingly simple, yet showing a modesty that respects and honors her husband and her own femininity.

90 Eddy December 21, 2009 at 2:31 pm

In the long-run, I see strong, independent women get what is due to them. For example, a friend´s mom has had three husbands, but in old age she is alone in a house with only dog to talk to. My sister is also a feminst. I have seen her eat threw men, then later call them names, he´s a ¨drunk¨, ¨lazy¨. ¨mom´s boy¨, blah blah blah. And again in her forties like most strong, independent women my sister – divorced only once – lives alone with 2 dogs.

Oddly these same women, who do not want to be ¨slaves¨ to men or domesticated in a house, pick up dog or cat poo and clean pee daily for an animal without a complant. They do not see the irony in this.

91 Chriss December 21, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I can honestly agree with your icomments as a middle aged woman. I WAS married to a man who was 12 years older than me. I have 4 children and i work a full time job, but also being a full time mother. My children ranged from infant to teenager-needless to say, I was a busy lady. I did everything! From doctor’s appointments, taxi cab, school shopping…. it would have been nice to have equally shared responsbilities. I don’t deem it a “woman’s job” or a “man’s duty”. I do believe too much emphasis is put on the “liberation”. My mom wanted me to be able to function in the real world, and be independant and fully functionally. She also did the same with my brother.
There’s too much dis-service a mother does to their son/daughter when doing EVERYTHING for them. This gives the notion their wife/husband will be the same way. Then you have grown ups who can’t do anything in the real world. Hence, the princess/prince attitude.
I guess what i’m trying to say is rather than deem something a man or a woman’s job, work together. Make it a point to learn something new or something you would never do. Pretty soon, you will realize you only need “you” to rely on.

92 Adrienne December 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I’ve been thinking about this since my last comment, and I have a few more things to say:

Looking backwards may seem like a positive step for men, but it is most certainly not for women. It definitely isn’t that I think women should give up on femininity, but it seems to be that a perverse, degrading idea of it has been pushed for so long that it IS damaging to try and step backwards and insulting to suggest that we do so.

What we need is a new kind of feminine, an attitude that has nothing to do with servitude or ones “place” in society, but everything to do with being all you can and all you want to be. Whether that be a domestic queen or ruler of the boardroom, clothed in pink sparkly dresses or in military fatigues, loud and sassy or quiet and demure. For the majority of us, what is right is somewhere in between. Frankly gents, if a woman is not appealing to you while being herself, shes not the right person for you. There is nothing wrong of course with taking care of yourself and being your best of course, but I think we all know the double standard there favours men much more heavily.

I understand the frustration that a lot of you are experiencing, though for a great majority the blame can be placed on your terrible choices in partners despite you telling yourself that is just the way women/men are, but I have to agree with Katie too. This cry that women have taken things too far, well that sounds nice and all but facts and figures prove we have not reached anything near equality yet. I was born in 1978, I’m not old, yet I have taken abuse my whole life for being into things that are “male” activities, mostly which were nerdy pursuits. That needs to stop, and until women are not being marginalized, or taught to be barbies, or worship ridiculous shiny rocks and care more about their hair colour than what they can bring to an intellectual discussion, I’m going to find it really hard to swallow this idea that we’re not feminine enough and we’ve taken any push back too far.

I had defend to at least a dozen people if not more why I didn’t feel I absolutely had to change my last name when I got married, I think that says a lot right there. I have no problem being known as my husbands wife, and I hope he is proud to be my husband, but I don’t think taking on a new identity as a couple means having to erase who you are as an individual and the double standard at play there makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.

Ever heard this saying? “Things aren’t as good as they used to be and never were.” You can pine for the past all you want, I’ll continue to be damn glad I was not forced to be a slave because I wasn’t born with a penis, and that the only person shaping who I am is myself. My husband is a huge influence on me, don’t get me wrong, as I am on him. I’d say I’m pretty feminine woman as well (though I sure hate pink and all it represents) but I want the freedom to choose what that means for me.

Sean F. Glass: I can’t believe you actually said that men are more analytical and women are more “decorative”. I am sorry those are not “facts”, those are sexist insults.

93 Frank December 21, 2009 at 2:45 pm

What I said to Cathy, I can pretty much repeat to Adrienne:

“Unfortunately, Cathy falls into the same double standard trap that the post is addressing! As she is basically saying that there is one way to be a man, or at least there are some definite characteristics of a man-but women get to be whatever the heck they want-like a traditional man or like a traditional woman. And if she is not saying this, and she thinks that both men and women can be whatever they want and there isn’t anything unique to the sexes, then you’re back to believing in a genderless society. Which I guess some people support, but I find to be an idea that simply does not match reality.”

Adrienne you say that it’s okay for men to look at the past for inspiration, but for women it’s insulting. So it’s okay for men to have a standard for manliness, but being a woman should mean being whatever you want to be?

94 Ian Stewart December 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Brett and Kate, you should check out G.K. Chesterton’s “What’s Wrong With The World” from some time in the 20s. On the one hand, it’s kinda shocking to read, in a “Chesterton’s against women wearing trousers? What?” kinda way—especially in 2009—but on the other hand, he’s arguing in the same space you are in this post. That is, if men are to be men it is going to mean, however you define the terms, that women are to be women.

Special I’m not a crazy throwback note about the commenter: My wife wears pants.

95 Adrienne December 21, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Let me clarify what I meant as that was not it at all.

Looking backwards MAY SEEM like a positive step from the PERSPECTIVE of a man, because of course things seemed rosier.

I never said anything about standards for manliness, and I certainly don’t believe or agree with any such a thing. Though there have been cultural restrictions (which I don’t agree with either) men have for the most part been free to shape what it means to be a man and do their own thing since.. well, for most of human history. The same cannot be said for women, and I think some ebb and flow is bound to occur before truly natural patterns can emerge. The best possible future for both genders lies in freedom of choice though, and I think we need to move away from a society that demands women or men follow any particular roles. Naturally men will probably tend to be more often A, and women more often B, so I don’t think a genderless society is even possible nor desirable but “standards” should not apply to either gender any more so than the other.

96 Katie December 21, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Sean: I don’t feel that I’m reading this unfairly at all. The argument seemed to be that women aren’t pulling their own weight and that women aren’t doing as much as men, particularly when it comes to wearing sweat pants and not cooking very often. My point was: women are still overwhelmingly the targets of and the consumers of beauty products and beauty culture and still strive, far moreso than men, to be attractive, as well as continue to do the bulk of the housework, including the cooking. The arguments here, both in the posts and in many of the comments, have come off heavily as, “Life is so unfair to men who do more and more as women do less and less! We’re being shortchanged!” while in all truth, men ARE doing more, but still not anywhere on the level that women have been doing and continue to do.

In response to: “I would agree that women still generally do the bulk of the housework. (Less so than in years past however.) I don’t find this inherently to be a bad thing. Not at all, and I don’t see why some women seem to loathe the idea so much. Many women in the past and even now take pride in having and managing a clean and pleasant house. Often women have abilities and strengths that make them more suited to “home-making” than men… What I don’t understand is women feeling that their specializing in the domestic side of life is, or would be, somehow degrading to them.”

The problem, Sean, is both the argument that women are better suited to housework because of their genitalia (I mean, seriously, what qualities make me better suited to washing the dishes than you?), and that women have a greater responsibility to be at home doing the housework than men. We only find “specializing in the domestic side of life” offensive when we are told that we are more biologically suited to it than men (and biologically ill-suited to do anything else); when this argument is used as justification for giving us lower pay, fewer promotions, and less general respect in the workplace (the unspoken belief that women are not well-suited for the workplace and would be better off at home); when this argument is used as an excuse for men who do not want to do their fair share of housework when they get home from work, even when their wife also has a 40-hour work week (men on average only do 30% of all housework); or when doing housework or taking care of children is dismissed by men as lowly and inferior work–and this happens both when men demand more concern and “support” when they come home from work, without realizing their wife has also been working and might also want concern and support (srgonzo’s comment is a perfect demonstration of this), or when men ridicule and chastise other men who have decided to take on domestic work or child-rearing as their primary line of work, insinuating that taking care of home and children are not “real” work.

Maybe it doesn’t bother you that after a woman comes home from her 40-hour work week, she does 26 hours of housework*, while her husband who works 40 hours a week comes home and only does 14, or that when it comes to child care, after a woman’s 40-hour work week she manages to fit in 11 hours to spend with and take care of her children, but her similarly employed husband only manages to find 3. Maybe you honestly do feel entitled to complain about how women just aren’t doing as much as you are doing. After all, after the 77 hours she spends at work and cleaning house and taking care of the kids (after a man has only done about 57 hours of the same things), how dare she wear a pair of sweatpants when you’ve got on a tie!

But if you stop and really think about it, maybe there is a good reason why a woman would rather be in a sweatsuit than a pair of high heels, or why she bristles when she’s told, when she complains about the fact that she does more than twice the amount of housework and nearly four times as much of the child-rearing as her husband on top of her job, “Well, women are just better at cleaning house and nurturing children!” It might not be as much unfair pulling of the sexism card as you think, if you bother to look further into the issue than your own anecdotal complaints.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/magazine/15parenting-t.html

97 Frank December 21, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Adrienne, a society where we acknowledge some difference between the sexes but cannot base any standards whatsoever around them is a genderless society. That is indeed what you are calling for, which makes me wonder why you would ever find yourself reading this site.

If Katie and Adrienne are looking for men to take their arguments seriously, than they should try harder not to fall into female stereotypes-such as major verbosity. Their posts are twice as long as any man’s, thus demonstrating one of the differences between the sexes-a woman is generally unable to make a succinct argument.

98 Adrienne December 21, 2009 at 3:23 pm

A genderless society would have no differences between the sexes, what I am advocating is a society that imposes no gender based restrictions or rules. Though Frank, clearly you are just looking to insult us now rather than refute anything we say. You are just being a jerk, and your statement cannot even be backed up by scrolling through the comments.

Succinct enough?

99 beshemoth December 21, 2009 at 3:30 pm

That was a very interesting article, I’ve been reading AoM for a while now and funnily enough I was wondering that exact thing only yesterday! Cos I love the articles on how to be more responsible and fix things and so forth, but I was getting a bit worried that maybe I’m not the target audience for that at all, being female, but hey, knowledge is knowledge and skills are skills and I really regret that my own dad refused to pass his on to me because I’m female. On the other hand, if I got said skills (plus personal growth) together, would I be viewed as more of a liability by the sort of man who tries to embody the same things I do? I wondered. I’m already just the wrong shape to be feminine!

Well, some of the comments were heartwarming, indeed inspiring, well done sirs and madams. I think, maybe an important part of what everyone wants from a relationship is just to be appreciated for what they’ve put in, although that’s probably already been said in other words. Obviously everyone has things they expect from their partner, but somehow, once it’s on the table that, ‘I put X into this relationship, and I expect you to do Y’ then doing Y becomes a chore. If, on the other hand, one partner does X and the other one thinks, ‘Oh, how sweet! Now I shall do Y because I know they like it’ then it’s… kinda exactly the same outcome, and yet somehow very different? Fortune depends on the tone of your voice, as the Divine Comedy said. Ahem. This is very possibly drivel.

Anyway, next year I hope to teach myself to make jam and wine, as well as doing an engineering course. Maybe I will one day meet a lovely guy who also likes making jam and engineering, hope springs eternal. Actually, he’d better enjoy eating jam; I don’t. And he’ll have to be pretty damn special to deal with my complete inability to shut up, that’s for sure. Cat ownership beckons…

But fair play to Frankie’s mate who dyes his own yarn, that’s awesome, dude!

100 Dave December 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm

In an age where common-sense, -decency, and respect seem to be out of fashion, the encouragement of this site to bring back the “old fashioned” practices of loyalty, chivalry, and self-accountability is a welcome change. Being “manly” today sets an individual apart from the crowd and has the potential to gain him respect from both men and women. However, to just say that men should be manly so women should be womanly is a bit unfair.

The ideal of manliness, while slightly different from person to person, has a general archetype that can be followed. A man is strong. A man is loyal. A man is confident. A man is courteous. A man takes pride in his appearance. A man who strives to meet this definition of a man will most likely garner praise from most individuals and be seen as the guy that “men want to be, and women want to be with”

However, women run into a significant problem for searching for their own ideal of womanliness. A woman is often conflicted in finding a definition of womanliness because while a single definition of manliness can be agreed upon between sexes, men and women view womanliness in very different ways. The traits that men find desirable in a woman (nurturing, deference, domestic) are often in stark opposition to the traits that other women will respect (independence, leadership, liberated). So a woman trying to be womanly often faces the dilemma of either losing the respect of her female friends or her potential suitors.

That being said, I’m not saying that there is no way a woman can find the common ground and be the woman “women want to be, and men want to be with”, just that she will have a much harder path and will meet far more opposition than a man who is attempting to be manly.

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