Man and Masculinity

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Encarta dictionary defines masculinity as “those qualities conventionally supposed to make a man an excellent specimen”; but what exactly are those qualities? Many would say that physical strength, ability to compete in sports, or even the ability to hold liquor are all parts of masculinity. In ancient Greece, they called this quality andreia, literally meaning “manliness”. In truth, masculinity is a much deeper trait that can be viewed differently by a variety of people. Realistically, masculinity cannot be defined universally. A man who is considered masculine in France would most definitely not be considered masculine in the Middle East, simply because the cultures in those areas of the world are vastly different in their beliefs and social norms. This essay will not attempt to give masculinity a meaning across the globe, but merely in Eurocentric cultures, including the United States. The existence of every human can be broken down into three general categories: physical, emotional, and spiritual. This essay will define masculinity based on these three areas, but also on an area that is a combination of the three- sexuality.

When it comes to the physical qualities of a man, it is typically thought that a man must be strong to be considered masculine. Whether this means having the ability to lift heavy objects, to run swiftly, or to endure physical pain, some sort of strength is expected of a “masculine” man. Although this idea sounds very shallow, strength is quite a necessary attribute of masculine man. Without some sort of physical strength, a man will find himself incapable of performing acts that would be considered masculine or manly. Essentially, the body of a masculine man must be useful for some purpose. Even they are not necessarily strong, fast, or tough, maybe they have a specific ability to play sports, engage in firearm combat, or complete an important task in a physically demanding job. According to this definition of masculinity, it doesn’t...
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