Battle of the Sexes: The Manly Man
The concept of being a man, and the idea of manliness, has been debatable in recent decades due to acts of feminism. Paul Theroux wrote Being a Man and was very opinionated as he said the idea of manliness was wrong and oppressive. Harvey Mansfield wrote The Partial Eclipse of Manliness, and stated that the concept of being manly has diminished and been overpowered by feminism. Both of these readings have provided valid and doubtful points in the discussion of what constitutes being manly, as well as how North American culture views the stereotypical man. Both authors are very opinionated and biased in their readings as they do not have any outside sources supporting their beliefs, but they do make effective arguments which further their attitude and outlook on manliness. In Paul Theroux’s reading Being a Man, it is stated that man can be categorized as stupid, arrogant, and much like pre-historic cavemen. Theroux continued to say that if someone were born as a man, there would be limits of what he is physically, emotionally, and mentally capable of. His highly personal view of how men act relates to a time when men were expected to aspire to be the so-called perfect man. The stereotypical perfect man is theoretically defined as brash, built, strong, athletic, and overall a poor loser when it involves any form of competition. It is also claimed that the typical man should be stupid, unfeeling, obedient, and ultimately soldierly. Theroux argued that these qualities eventually create poor husbands, sadists, and potentially rapists. Although this could happen, it is very unlikely that the majority of men with those characteristics will end up malicious and violent like Theroux stated. Mansfield’s approach to the deterioration of masculinity faulted women. He believed manliness is dubious as women over the years have been referred to with manly intentions. He felt that feminism has not only succeeded, but dominated...
Cited: Mansfield, Harvey. “The Partial Eclipse of Manliness.” Reproductive Health Matters
6.12 (1998): 116-21. Print.
Theroux, Paul. “Being a Man.” Culture and Identity. Ed. Paula Fredeman.
Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2006. 133-35. Print.
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