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« "The concept of neighbor is universalized" | Main | "There is a truckoad of work that has to be done in Boston" »

March 21, 2006

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"Science is a particular enemy of manliness. Manliness asserts something you can't scientifically prove, namely the importance of human beings,"

It seems that Mr. Mansfield is (like many people) wrong about science. Science attempts to tell us about "man" the physical being. The building blocks that make him and how they interweave to form a whole functioning physical being.

If he is talking about the social sciences (then he is being imprecise calling it "science"), those attempt to categorize behavior and how that works in regard to man and living his life.

But I don't know of a science that attempts to explain the soul. That is the part he is talking about when he talks about manliness. That indefinable soul.

Just as science can tell us about all the elements of a building - from the atom to the steel beams, to the electricity that lights it up... it is the soul of the architect that gives us the beauty of the finished product. That is not explainable through science.

Personally I think when the world is unbalanced in favor of women - this is when manliness is threatened. Men and women both contribute to the well being of the whole - when one side has all the power - the other side loses out... thus we all lose. This is most apparent in the strict Muslim law that does not allow women any say in life...and to a far lesser extent, the current fashion of man bashing by the feminists in the Western world.

I think "superior" is a strong word too, but would it bother you as much if someone described women as being "superior nurturers", "superior empathizers", or "superior communicators"?

People have been running scared from the notion of male pride since the 60s, and this has shown itself in almost every discussion of male/female issues that I can remember being a part of.

By and large people seem comfortable with both praising women and denigrating men - you can't say anything too nice about women or too mean about men. Women will bask and preen, and men will smile and shrug - this is just how it is. Everyone knows that. Ironically the woman praising and man bashing has itself become a kind of social activity where men and women have expected roles and can find comfort therein - to me this is just as odious as the wink/nudge sexual BS prevalent in the 40s and 50s.

But I think not far under the surface many if not most of us, unconsciously if not consciously, think quite a bit on the subject of what our gender means to us, and on how we prefer to interact with family, friends, acquaintances and the world at large. Since the 60s we have all but been forbidden to even think about gender outside of the above lopsided model, and which I feel leaves many more than a little uncertain about their role in social matters.

I'll come out and say it - I think home ec classes were a cool thing and it's a shame they're no longer offered. I think they should be open to all, but don't consider it coercion or sexism to primarily advertize them as a female activity any more than I think advertizing football as a primarily male activity is sexist. That's just one example - really there is so much room for change in our culture but we're not supposed to talk plainly about it.

Probably the biggest challenge to sexual equality is actually having an honest conversation about whether gender should be addressed as a well rounded concept i.e. both sexes have various strengths and yes weaknesses, or if we want to carry on steady as she goes with the androgynous-except-that-women-rule-and-men-suck attitude that currently seems to rule our thinking.

If we decide it's to be the former, then we can grow as a culture. If not, we remain hostage to the PC stranglehold on progress with gender issues that is currently in place.

In the meantime, we compensate by overdoing it in the one area that is not totally verboten - sex appeal. People (both sexes) seem to just keep getting sluttier and sluttier, acting trashy, practically sticking their junk in eachother's faces (Janet being a posterchild) - and they're doing it younger and younger. This is what comes of trying to force a lopsided model of gender on the public - rather than turning the public androgynous it just leaves people clueless and trashy, and it's really getting out of control.

"This is most apparent in the strict Muslim law that does not allow women any say in life...and to a far lesser extent, the current fashion of man bashing by the feminists in the Western world."

Teresa, you said it better than me.

It seems that the thymos factor was weak in my outlook. As long as my family approved of me and my actions, I don't think I attached undue importance to what people in general thought. My attitude was who are they to judge. They all have their faults and weaknesses. Of course it is easier and more pleasant to be liked than disliked so one would not antagonize needlessly and avoid those who were distasteful. However, the need to be loved by others than my family was missing. Maybe that is a defensive reaction.

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