What Makes a Man Manly?
When I think of a man being manly, what do I see? I imagine a man who possesses certain characteristics like honesty, trust, and confidence. Additionally, he is a strong role model for his wife and children, and he is a provider for his family. With these ideas in mind, I examined T.V. show depiction of men. I explore the characteristics of a manly man from the 1900 to 2000 through the eyes of television sitcom shows. I was curious about the comparison. How did men compare and contrast in the 1900 to men in the year 2000? Let’s take a good look at the father in Little House on The Prairie which was centered in the mid 1935’s. He was a farmer with strong religious values. He took care of his family by working a farm and doing moderate mill work on off seasons. He took pride in being a father and provider for his family. They didn’t have much, but he based his life on love, God and providing his family with the basic needs to survive. He had very limited education, but I remember in every episode after the family would all sit down to eat; he would read them a passage from a book or out of the bible and then smoke his pipe and go to bed. I see his manly characteristics as a provider, a godly man, and a strong role model that every member of the family respected and looked up to. The sitcom Leave it to Beaver was centered on a 1950’s family. The father wore a three piece suit, went to a nine to five job every day to sit behind a desk. He was a very honest and trust worthy man who took pride in being a family man. He was a very religious man who took his family to church every Sunday. He used a lot of wisdom. He allowed his children to make mistakes, and he taught them to solve their own problems with a little guidance from him. I remember seeing in all the episodes the father would come home, get his newspaper, sit in his special chair, smoke his pipe and read his paper until dinner was done. Although the times of the programs were vastly different, something’s about these men as men remain the same. To compare the characteristics of both fathers they both possessed honesty, integrity, and pride. They were both providers. Although their jobs were different, one was a farmer that did hard labor and the other sat behind a desk and worked nine to five. They still took care of their families financially. They instilled morals and values, by providing fatherly advice, and a strong religious background. From 1935 to the 1950’s all the manly characteristics remained the same. Their job classification changed and they became a more modern type of man maintaining the honesty, integrity, pride and family values. I think every man was expected to smoke a pipe. I guess that made them feel and look like a man. In trying to understanding what makes a man manly, I read an article that describes the seven pillars of what is considered to be manliness. “The seven pillar characteristics of a manly man are physical, functional, sexual, emotional, intellectual, interpersonal, and distinctive.” The article stated that if you want to be truly considered a manly man, you need to try to strive to possess these characteristics. (Phoenix) When we think physical, we usually look at the overall appearance of a man and we expect to see large muscles to consider him physically strong. Functional is being a provider. A manly man must function as the head of his house and be able to contribute to his family financially. A strong father figure is considered manly. A sexual man is considered bold, aggressive and experienced rather married or single. An emotional man can remain calm in any given situation and still remain strong. An intellectual man is logical, rational, objective and practical. An interpersonal man is self-satisfied and does not need the approval of others. (Phoenix) In reading another article I found a woman’s point of view on how women see the manly man. A woman thinks a man should have confidence and be...
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