March 6, 2009

"Courage is not solely for men, but it is mainly for men."

"The Greek word for courage is andreia, which comes from he-man and also means manliness. The Greek philosopher Aristotle was, however, critical of the implication in his language that courage was for men only. He said something not so definite: men find it easier to be courageous than women, and women find it easier to be moderate than men.... Giving women equal opportunity for displaying courage does no obvious harm if the need for courage remains clear. It would not be good to measure the amount of courage we need from the willingness of women to produce half of it. Less obvious harm might result from the loss of tenderness, and the loss of esteem for tenderness, in women. Do we really want two tough, aggressive sexes instead of one tough, the other tender? And do we want to dispense with gallantry in men, which is related to protectiveness in husbands?"

Harvey Mansfield is at it again.

(Via A&L Daily.)

106 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

Misandry, then, would be hatred of courage, especially as it is displayed by men?

molly said...

Note there's no mention of men possibly becoming more tender to balance things out. Just like how the question was always "are women allowed to dress like men?" rather than the other way around.

k*thy said...

Courage is simply fear that's said it's prayers. It takes many forms and anyone can do it.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

What do they got that I ain’t got?

Courage!

You can say that again. Huh?

Balfegor said...

He said something not so definite: men find it easier to be courageous than women, and women find it easier to be moderate than men

Haha. I see what he did there.

Pat said...

Uhhh... Would somebody please tell me again why "courage" equals "loss of tenderness", "toughness" and "agression"?

I guess I didn't get the memo...

ricpic said...

Bottom line? Little girls don't walk to school in the morning with a knot in their stomachs about whether or not they'll be able to face down the schoolyard bully.

John Althouse Cohen said...

It's telling that this blog has about 4 times as many posts under the "masculinity" tag than under the "femininity" tag.

Seven Machos said...

Pat -- That's because you are not well read and don't read well.

Cedarford said...

molly said...
Note there's no mention of men possibly becoming more tender to balance things out. Just like how the question was always "are women allowed to dress like men?" rather than the other way around.


I would postulate that you really don't want men to become "more tender" or dress in woman's clothes

Unless they 1st address to basics: Men are protectors, women nurturers...and unless you give men their due in this critical role...then in the name of gender equality you end up with craven men and the mythical "female warrior" such sensitive men can hide behind.
And that construct is absolutely unworkable. Leading to mostly fake or ridiculous stories about Hero PVT Jessica Lynch, mowing Evildoers down, fighting to the death. Or how some caring San Francisco stay at home Dad is an incredibly exemplary "New Age" man because while his lawyer female live-in who bought the Chinese babies goes to court, he is at home, wearing fake breasts full of wram milk the power lawyers children can suckle at 24/7.

In Sweden, the female politicians have demonized male aggressiveness and praised Females as In Charge enough that Swedes are mystified that 4 native Swedish girls were gang raped on a train by Muslim and African immigrants while 50 or so native Swedish men stod passively by, not wanting to "make trouble"..

Hoping the native Swedish girls would just "show some courage" and fight off their attackers.

(Pity the Swede men were not fitted with "Manssiers" full of sweet Arab minted tea they could have offered the gang rapists to suckle off of - Distracting the rapists with their succulent fake man-boobs, allowing their women to get free..)

Ann Althouse said...

That's because femininity is easy. Masculinity is hard.

Ann Althouse said...

That last of mine was @Jac.

John Althouse Cohen said...

molly: Excellent point. But I think it's surprisingly difficult to say whether this bias is a greater burden on women or men.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Just as 'democracy' is not the opposite of 'totalitarianism' -- for they answer two different questions: who has power? and how much power? -- courage and tenderness answer two different questions.

Courage is also not the absence of fear. Instead it is moving forward in spite of fear.

Few things are more off-putting than fake courage, but you see it all the time and I sense it is intended subconsciously to mask the lack of a core.

For the last generation or so we've all encountered way too many males who are hard, harsh, and brash on the surface, but lack anything solid. Unfortunately, a common male response to this has been to display a prominent soft surface demeanor, surrounding the same mushy innards.

Neither is genuinely masculine, which I suggest ought to resemble the finest plush velvet ... surrounding a core of steel. As we lose more and more of the World War II generation, that sort of courageous man has become altogether too rare.

Ern said...

That's because femininity is easy. Masculinity is hard.

I'm not sure that I agree with that as a general proposition, but I certainly agree that femininity is easy but masculinity is hard for women. In my experience, masculinity is easy for men (although, thanks to various factors in society that weren't present, say, fifty years ago, harder than it used to be), while femininity is hard.

In my experience, also, femininity is rather a rare commodity among American women. I frequently hear or read that women are the nurturing sex, but what I see sure doesn't bear that out.

Bender said...

I'll say it again -- anyone who thinks about and talks about and writes about what constitutes manliness is not very manly.

Real men don't spend all their time pondering their maleness or manliness, they just go about the business of being men.

Seven Machos said...

Maybe so, Bender, but the world's a much better place because of Harvey Mansfield.

Zeb Quinn said...

Bottom line? Little girls don't walk to school in the morning with a knot in their stomachs about whether or not they'll be able to face down the schoolyard bully.

Actually they do.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I'll say it again -- anyone who thinks about and talks about and writes about what constitutes manliness is not very manly.

Real men don't spend all their time pondering their maleness or manliness, they just go about the business of being men.


Well, I just don't think that's true -- and, more to the point, there's no real way to know whether it's true since we can't read people's minds. Just because someone seems to be effortlessly masculine doesn't mean he isn't trying hard. And anyway, manly men often do seem to be trying hard at it.

Another thing: Masculinity and femininity are interesting topics to think about. They have to do with the basic dynamics of social interaction. If that's not manly, then fine -- I'm not manly. So what?

Paddy O. said...

Andreia doesn't 'also' mean manliness, it primarily means manliness. Courage is assumed to be part of being manly. Meaning andreia is really a lot more like saying "be a man" than "be courageous".

Good admonition for warriors and other men.

The Greek New Testament uses that word in First Corinthians 16:13, but that's not the only word that gets translated as courage. tharseo is the imperative used in John 16:33, Acts 23:11, 27:22, 25. The noun tharsos is used in Acts 28:15, "Paul thanked God and took courage." In 1 Thessalonians 2:2 another word is used, parreisiazomai, to mean "have courage".

So manliness is mainly for men, but courage isn't, and there are more words to be used for those times it's more broadly meant. At least in the later Greek of the New Testament.

chuck b. said...

Is courage is so manly, why did they give it a girl's name?

commenter said...

John Althouse Cohen,

Manly or not, you are twenty something. I would say you have only one fourth of your manliness figured out, unless you have experienced the manliness of being eighty years old, alone in a nursing home with a diaper on, and the recipient of a small chocolate, plant, or handmade Christmas card from a five year old little girl.

Give it time.

chuck b. said...

I guess if naming a boy Sue to toughen him up, we can call courage Andreia. "OMG! When you totally picked up that grenade and threw it back, you were, like, so Andreia!"

Salamandyr said...

For those who haven't, click the link. Ayaan Hirsi Ali replies and partially rebuts Professor Mansfield. I think both of them have some interesting things to say.

The main thrust, as far as I can tell of Mansfield's argument, is that we should not lose sight of the importance of traditionally masculine virtues, simply because they tend to be less evident in one sex or the other. And that, the idea that "As a woman, I can do anything" is possibly insulting to men, who are quite aware that they are not able to do all the things women can.

I think Ali makes a good point as well. To some extent, the demand that men be allowed to be "the protector" is a statement to women that "You're not allowed to defend your life. It's too valuable, to the man, to the society, whatever. Only a man owns his life to the extent that he can throw it away whenever." And that kind of attitude often morphs into an attitude of "You must do what I say, for you owe me loyalty for protecting you."

My wife and I have somewhat blurry traditional gender roles. I tend to clean, she tends to do home repair; I tend to be more concerned with clothes, both hers and mine than she is. She's also considerably braver than I am; I tend to be much more aware of potential dangers, and do my best to avoid them. And at 6'3", she's actually physically capable of defending herself. However, we still abide by the traditional role that I stand between her and danger. She sees herself in the role of "pioneer wife", who picks up the rifle and keeps fighting after her husband falls. My job is to thin down then enemy to manageable levels.

Fortunately we live in a largely civilized country where such a thing is largely a thought exercise.

fcai said...

John Althouse Cohen said...
I'm not manly. So what?

Thanks for that report, Captain Obvious.

Richard Dolan said...

"Do we really want two tough, aggressive sexes instead of one tough, the other tender? And do we want to dispense with gallantry in men, which is related to protectiveness in husbands?"

Statements like that sound like they're saying something important, on the order of "Do we really want to import the green cheese that the moon is made of?" or "Should the stimulus package provide for full employment of Martians?". Who is this this "we" doing the "wanting" or "dispensing" and how exactly does that "wanting" and "dispensing" show up in daily life? What on earth is this guy talking about?

It seems obvious, when you but aside all the tinsel and overwrought classical allusions decorating Mansfield's fanciness, that, while "courage" and "tenderness" may be social constructs, they're not made in any stamp-it-out process, they're certainly not one-size-fits-all, and the conduct that can sensibly be described using those terms varies widely depending on context.

The history of ideas and the etymology of words are interesting, and it's always nice to learn a little Greek along the way. But Mansfield really goes off the tracks when he segues from classic ideas about courage-in-battle (think Achilles and Hector), to ruminations about men and women generally. Talk about a one-dimensional view of a three-dimensional object. So rather than repeating the mistake of thinking that statements like Mansfield's are profound (or profoundly mistaken), it may make more sense just to recognize that he's offering a lot of fancy gibberish.

Eva said...

Courage is not the opposite of tenderness. I have often found that it takes courage to be truly tender, if tenderness includes a measure of transparency or vulnerability. I guess he is really talking about physical courage, which I gladly leave to manly men everywhere, and hopefully right next to me. (Bats eyelashes)

molly said...

ricpic: That's true. Instead you're terrified that your best friend is going to suddenly betray you and make every other girl in your class hate you for a day.

John Althouse Cohen: I agree, it's a tough call. I think men are definitely more restricted in the acceptable options they have for expressing gender. Note the comment of outrage above at the idea of someone being a stay at home dad. (Another thing I think is unfair -- when women don't work and instead take care of their children, that's seen as a completely acceptable career option.)

traditionalguy said...

We still have the USMC and the Airborne with Rangers and Seals. The real man still needs men in leadership over them to train them how to get their jobs done. As to whether women have courage, it is obvious that many do. In my analysis, the personality type is more of a determiner of the courage trait than the Sex equiptment. But even the courageous women need male leadership to learn the direct, brutal and violent ways of warriors. Althouse herself is a profile in courage, but I suspect she still knows the value of the rude, violent men dedicated to protecting her from other men who hunt female prey as a blood sport. My suggestion for an antidote to the new cultural of cowardly men is required amateur wrestling for all boys. That is an excellent male educational experience in thinking under competitive, violent stress while totally forgetting what fear is. Of course that was the first sport to be cut to pay for "equality" in Women's scholarships in the gender segregated womens sports.

Anton said...
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Anton said...

"Courage is not solely for men, but it is mainly for men."

An interesting assertion, whose veracity is prima facia true.

TosaGuy said...

Men have to be taught how to be manly. Man yielding to his basic instincts is not manly, it is simply nature in action. A boy needs to be taught how to harness and embrace his basic instincts and use it productively with regard to society and relationships with others. Teaching a boy to ignore man's basic instincts is destructive to society because either the instinct will take over without the benefit of moderation or the person will essentially be neutered.

In my personal defination of manliness, a man takes responsibility for himself, his actions and for those around him. This comes in many forms from the father who provides for his family to the soldier who defends the citizens of his country. These individual acts protect and enable a society. A guy who knocks up a girl and abandons his responsbility is not manly. A guy who is a skilled mercenary is not manly. These acts, while encompassing the same basic instinct of man as the father and the soldier, are not manly because they are destructive to society.

Henry said...

Am I the only one that finds this essay strangely vague? There are two aspects of its vagueness.

One is definitional vagueness. What is "courage"? What is "moderation"?

The other is vagueness in application. Given how few of us are soldiers, firefighters, or mammoth hungers, how is "courage" supposedly manifested?

Consider this postscript:

One last point: In the age of sexual liberation, every woman not protected by poverty and extreme old age needs the courage to defend her virtue.

Courage is good, but a handgun helps. (As an aside: Even this sentence is foggy. It reads as if women are protected by poverty and old age. Does he mean to say "left unprotected"? Then what all the middle-class middle-aged women?)

I think the thesis of the essay lies in the posted quote, about halfway through:

It would not be good to measure the amount of courage we need from the willingness of women to produce half of it.

Mansfield thus is not actually defining courage as limited to men. He is requesting that men be allowed to pursue courage excessively -- or at least more aggressively than a moderate culture really cares for.

My wife's cousin is a skydiver and underwater welder. He volunteered, unpaid, to be an ambulance driver. Manfield is saying, let's celebrate this crazy guy; he's doing good.

molly said...

Also, I just want to add that I have no idea how "courage" excludes the experience of going into childbirth not knowing whether you will live or die, which was the case for almost everyone until very recently.

Henry said...

...mammoth hunters.

...then what about all the middle-class...

Paddy O. said...

Maybe it's a cultural thing as well.

After reading traditionalguy's comment my thoughts turned to Boudica. A Queen who led a rebellion against Rome.

The Celtic women were a force to be reckoned with. A brief search turned up this list:

Quotes regarding Celtic and Gallic Women during the Roman Occupation

Tacitus: "armies on the point of collapse have been rallied by their women pleading with their men, thrusting forward their bared breasts, and making them realise the imminent prospect of enslavement."

and "the victorious Romans were confronted by women in black robes who stood at their wagons and slew the fleeing warriors - their husbands, brothers or fathers - and then strangled their own children and cast them beneath the wheels of their wagons before cutting their own throats."

Plutarch: "here the women met them holding swords and axes in their hands. With hideous shrieks of rage they tried to drive back the hunted and the hunters. The fugitives as deserters, the pursuers as foes. With bare hands the women tore away the shields of the Romans or grasped their swords, enduring mutilating wounds."

Dio Cassius: "the Romans pursued the Celts to their wagons and fought with their women."

Diodorus Siculus: "The women of the Gauls are not only like men in their great stature, but they are a match for them in courage as well."

Ammianus Marcellinus: “…a whole band of foreigners will be unable to cope with one [Gaul] in a fight, if he calls in his wife, stronger than he by far and with flashing eyes; least of all when she swells her neck and gnashes her teeth, and poising her huge white arms, begins to rain blows mingled with kicks, like shots discharged by the twisted cords of a catapult.”

Also, in Aristotle tharsos is the word used in contrast to cowardice, meaning more confidence, bravery, and such.

So, "andreia" for Mansfield is mainly for men too cowardly to let their women be strong.

reader_iam said...
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David said...

Childbirth.

Now that takes some courage.

Shanna said...

She sees herself in the role of "pioneer wife", who picks up the rifle and keeps fighting after her husband falls. My job is to thin down then enemy to manageable levels.

I kind of enjoy this description! Plus, your wife is 6’3’? Wow.

Also, I just want to add that I have no idea how "courage" excludes the experience of going into childbirth not knowing whether you will live or die, which was the case for almost everyone until very recently.

Excellent point. Not to mention that because of the difference in physical strength, there is a certain amount of courage required just to go about your daily business, go on a date, whatever, when you know it’s quite possible you can be easily overpowered.

TosaGuy said...

"The West’s preoccupation with personal expression of gender is causing it to become distracted from an enemy who has never had that same luxury. It would be prudent to keep this in mind."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

reader_iam said...
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Freeman Hunt said...

Also, I just want to add that I have no idea how "courage" excludes the experience of going into childbirth not knowing whether you will live or die, which was the case for almost everyone until very recently.

Well, sort of. You don't have a whole lot of choice about it. Once you get pregnant, that baby's going to come out no matter whether you're courageous about it or consumed by cowardice.

Another thing I think is unfair -- when women don't work and instead take care of their children, that's seen as a completely acceptable career option.

Molly, just to clarify, do you mean that you don't think that should be an acceptable career choice for anyone or that it should be acceptable for both men and women?

I know a couple stay at home dads. One thing that has always puzzled me: Why do strongly career-oriented women usually look for strongly career-oriented men? If you view marriage and family as a team endeavor, wouldn't it make more sense to look for someone who's more oriented toward raising children? Most of the successful, career-oriented men I know look at marriage that way, a team with room for different roles. Why not women?

Trooper York said...

"It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken."

Frank Perdue.

k*thy said...

I guess he is really talking about physical courage

Eva, yes I would say that that's all he's talking about. As someone here said, courage is the moving forward in spite of fear - and I'd add - real or imagined.

And as for femininity being easier than masculinity - baloney. Neither role is a walk in the park - some are comfortable in it, some run to it for cover and some flee. It's too much of an individual experience to define in those kinds of terms.

rhhardin said...

Wm. Empson

I should take as an example, for instance ..., these very straightforward and martial words of Dreyden:

The trumpet's loud clangour
Invites us to arms
With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.
The double double double beat
Of the thundering drum
Cries, heark the Foes come;
Charge, charge, 'tis too late to retreat.

(Song for St. Cecilia's Day.)

It is curious on the face of it that one should represent, in a mood of such heroic simplicity, a reckless excitement, a feverish and exalted eagerness for battle, by saying (in the most promenent part of the stanza from the point of view of final effect) that we can't get out of the battle now and must go through with it as best we can. Yet that is what has happened, and it is not a cynical by-blow on the part of Dryden; the last line is entirely rousing and single-hearted. Evidently the thought is that it is no good running away is an important ingredient of military enthusiasm; at any rate in the form of consciousness of unity with comrades, who ought to be encouraged not to retreat (even if they are not going to, they cannot have not thought of it, so that this encouragement is a sort of recognition of their merits), and of consciousness of the terror one should be exciting in the foe; so that all elements of the affair, including terror, must be part of the judgment of the most normally heroic mind, and that, since it is too late for him to retreat, the Lord has delivered him into your hands. Horses, in a way very like this, display mettle by a continual expression of timidity.

(Wm. Empson, 7 Types of Ambiguity, p.198)

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I remember reading something like this by C.S. Lewis:

"It's not 'Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever'; it's 'Be good, sweet maid, and don't forget that that involves being as clever as you can.'"

I don't think it's for a man OR a woman to try to limit the amount of courage a woman ought to show. I think everyone ought to be as courageous as possible (assuming you're defining "courage" as acting as one should when fear would dictate otherwise, not "Hey Bubba watch this") and let the chips fall where they may.

If I, a woman, am courageous, how does that lessen a man's courage? If a man thinks I'm supposed to be a wimp in order to make him look good by comparison, I don't know what to tell him.

Trooper York said...

"It takes a tender man to molest a tough chicken."

RH Hardin

rhhardin said...

Then there's Marge Piercy For Strong Women.

molly said...

Freeman Hunt: Molly, just to clarify, do you mean that you don't think that should be an acceptable career choice for anyone or that it should be acceptable for both men and women?

I think it should be an open option for both, and both men and women should be prepared for their choice to be unacceptable to some partners. Like you said, I think that those type A career professionals tend to attract one another. As someone who is not one of those people, I look forward to sharing child care responsibilities with my husband. Considering the careers we are hoping for, I doubt either one of us will have the ability to stay home with children the majority of the time.

I personally don't think I could be a stay at home parent without having at least a volunteer job, but that is just what I would need to be fulfilled. I like the idea of having a responsibility to the community outside your home, whether it's paid or unpaid.

Eli Blake said...
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Eli Blake said...

The thought also has not escaped my mind that with the debate going on about prop 8 and gay marriage this kind of post may be directed at advocates of the freedom of marriage by suggesting that somehow homosexual unions are lacking in some quality (though I've known several gay couples, of both kinds, and I can personally attest to the fact that they all have both tenderness and courage in their homes.)

Balfegor said...

Re: Paddy O.

After reading traditionalguy's comment my thoughts turned to Boudica. A Queen who led a rebellion against Rome.

Of the rebel queens, I have always preferred Zenobia over Boudica -- Boudica is a barbarian through and through, and utterly savage in her treatment of civilian captives, worse than Shaka Zulu.

Zenobia of Palmyra has the benefit of some civilisation, and if she was occasionaly brutal or cruel, I have at least read no reports of outstanding savagery shocking to the conscience, etc.

The Rani of Jhansi is another stirring example of female valour, albeit against the British rather than the Romans.

Trooper York said...

I much prefered Red Sonja until she started hanging around with Mark Gastineau.

And then when she started banging Flavor Flav, I mean really.

BJM said...

...and women find it easier to be moderate than men

Rubbish, obviously the opinion of someone who has not cared for cranky pre-school children trapped inside during the winter or pitched a full-on screaming tantrum in the supermarket line.

Or observed women dealing with the treachery of back stabbing subordinates. Heh.

madawaskan said...

It's a sad man who mixes up his rubber chicken with his rubber doll.

Proverbs of Shaka Khan,1980.

madawaskan said...

All femininity and masculinity posts must be in balance.

[From the Chakras of Tori Amos]

Trooper York said...

I'm gonna beat the shit out of you when we get home.
Chris Brown

Allegedly.

Christy said...

This recent spoiler scene from Battlestar Galactica is a lovely depiction of gender differences.

I once read a history of the first frontier families to leave Annapolis and head west, into the region that is now half way between Baltimore and D.C. The author praised the courage of these men for facing dangers of a territory full of hostile Native Americans. I remember thinking it was the pregnant and defenseless wives who came with them who were really brave.

Still and all, I think guys have courage forced upon them. Speaking of Roman soldiers, when Mother tells a son to "come back carrying your shield or on it" he has no option, does he?

I grew up in the turmoil of both the Vietnam War and the beginnings of the women's movement. We girls were supposed to want what men had, and I thought it only fair that if I wanted a man's job, I should be willing to do what guys my own age had to do. I worried over whether I'd have the courage to be drafted and go to Vietnam or whether I'd go to Canada. What is interesting to me now about my non-existent but still agonizing moral dilemma is that I wasn't raised to deal with it. I come from a family who didn't wait for draft notices, but who enlisted. My brother enlisted. The men just did it, they didn't agonize over it. I didn't understand.

madawaskan said...

If I were Rihanna I'd Shoot Your Ass

[Carrie Underwood, Guns and Buns 2012]

David said...

Freeman asks:

"One thing that has always puzzled me: Why do strongly career-oriented women usually look for strongly career-oriented men? If you view marriage and family as a team endeavor, wouldn't it make more sense to look for someone who's more oriented toward raising children? Most of the successful, career-oriented men I know look at marriage that way, a team with room for different roles. Why not women?"

Its an interesting question, with probably a lot of facets to the answer. Here are some thoughts:

1. Aggression and Assertiveness: Male or female, the strivers are usually agressive and assertive. Do assertive/aggressive females fear that they would dominate a less assertive male and shrink from that? My strong personality/career inclined daughters have all chosen men with equally strong personalities. It seemed to me that they wanted men who could stand up to them.

2. Sex: In my experience a rivalry of equals can set off very strong sexual sparks.

3. Traditional gender roles still persist. This maybe an element of reason 1. Women may be interested in succeeding in the formerly all male arena, but do they want to risk being the main breadwinner/striver if they change their minds? Put another way, I think a lot of women hedge their bets. They want a man who can take over the traditional role if they later decide to become more stay-at-home. (And yes men are jealous that they don't have the same option.)
4. A couple can still be a team even if they have similar aspirations and skill sets. They amplify their strengths and have a little help in minimizing the impact of their weaknesses.
5. A lot of men are more attracted to striving women if the women are also in touch with and can summon their girly girl selves. Why should women be any different?

It has been fascinating to watch my daughters and stepdaughters (five of them age 38-26) navigate these issues. Balancing all of this has complicated their lives, but I think it's made them more secure in their selves than they otherwise would have been.

Trooper York said...

I put a tracking device on her cootch.
Michael Strahan.

rocketeer67 said...

She sees herself in the role of "pioneer wife", who picks up the rifle and keeps fighting after her husband falls.

Reminds me of a old frontier adage, which I can only paraphrase from memory: "A good wife reloads for you. A great wife is too busy firing her own rifle."

BJM said...

rocketeer, reminds one of Abigail Adams, doesn't it?

traditionalguy said...

"Courage" has a definition. Courage is the commitment to fight to the death. That is not a suicide pledge, but it does rule out self preservation from the decision equation during an ongoing fight. Movie roles depicting courage are many, but Last of the Mohicans was a good example, and shows both a man and a woman with commitment "to do or die" which is courage. A famous quote from a WW2 Admiral was 'Their are no great men, there are only men who respond to great challenges". Of course he meant men with the commitment to do or die rather than accept defeat. We Welcome all you courageous women to the fight.

madawaskan said...

Once They Were Giants..

[How We Got Rid of Plaxico, The Steelers]

traditionalguy said...

Corrected quote: "There are no extraordinary men...just ordinary men who are forced by circumstances to do extraordinary things"... Wm. F Halsey,( whose second command during the Pacific War was the first Admr.John S McCain). This Admiral was Bill Halsey, but after a typo in the NYT every one him started using the nickname Bull Halsey, because Halsey ran into fights and not away from them. He shortened the Pacific war by agreeing to order the re-supply the 1st marine division on Guadalcanal in Oct. 1942 instead of leaving them abandoned with the Navy's permission to surrender. That was courage. Reminder:You should never go into a fight to the death with leadership that lacks the courage to risk losing ships/political-power to resupply you.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think it's a mistake to attribute Type A personality or striving only to the career-oriented. There are plenty of people staying at home with those traits. Certainly strong personalities often attract each other, but again, I don't think that's only found in careers outside the home. (For example, I stay home. I don't think anyone would accuse me of having a "weak" personality. Certainly no boss I ever had before I stayed home would. :) I know a lot of other women who are similar.)

I don't think that career-oriented men are especially attracted to career-oriented women. Competent women, sure, but that doesn't necessarily entail career aspirations outside the home. From what I see, and from what so many career-oriented women complain about, it seems that the career-oriented men are often attracted to women who will stay home or will take on less demanding work in order to focus on raising children. Women often complain about it, but to me that preference seems logical.

If I were taking on an ambitious career outside of the home, I would not be interested in marrying someone driven to do the same. Who would raise the kids? I would be looking for some highly intelligent, competent person who would be happy to put those traits to use at home.

So, again, I wonder why so many career-oriented women aren't taking a cue from their male career-oriented counterparts and looking for mates who bring something complimentary to the table. Could be that David is right, and they're hedging their bets. Not a great dating strategy in my opinion.

molly said...

Freeman Hunt, why shouldn't women hedge their bets when working women still end up doing more housework and child rearing, on average, than their working husbands? They even do more than their unemployed husbands (not stay at home dads, but working dads who have lost their jobs and are looking for work). I think it'll take a generation of men giving the same attention to parenting women do to convince them. What's currently happening is unfortunate for everyone, though.

The Crack Emcee said...

I thought Nora Jones ended the who had it tougher argument with her "Black Like Me" gender book, "Self-Made Man."

She said men had it worse, and partly because of the attitudes of women.

Salamandyr said...

Norah Vincent.

I don't think she necessarily said men had it worse, but she was pretty clear that being a man was not anything like the sunshine and roses many feminists pretend it is.

It's a flawed, but fascinating book.

madawaskan said...

I Shoot Me

[The Hos Made Me Do It-Plaxico in Attica]

Freeman Hunt said...

Freeman Hunt, why shouldn't women hedge their bets when working women still end up doing more housework and child rearing, on average, than their working husbands?

I'm saying work outside the home if that's what you want and find someone who will take care of the home. Or stay home if that's what you want and find someone who will work outside the home. No need to hedge bets at all.

I don't think men can ever be expected, as a population, to give the same attention to parenting (I don't mean being good parents; I mean the day in day out tasks of parenting.) as women. I think women, as a population, are inherently more oriented to that than men, as a population. And I think men, as a population, are inherently more oriented to work outside the home than are women, as a population. I guess that makes me an essentialist.

But even if I'm right, and that's how it is on a population basis, there's all kinds of room for variance among individuals.

I also think it's perfectly acceptable, even preferable for mates to special in different things. For example, I read thousands upon thousands of pages of material relating to parenting, education, etc. My husband reads thousands upon thousands of pages of material relating to his business. There's some crossover reading between us, but if we were to each read equal amounts of work and home topics, we would not have as much specialized knowledge between us. There would be no parenting and education expert in the house and no expert on my husband's business. Together we can do more as a team, each specializing, than we could ever do if we shared all individual tasks 50/50, duplicating each other's efforts.

molly said...

I'm saying work outside the home if that's what you want and find someone who will take care of the home. Or stay home if that's what you want and find someone who will work outside the home. No need to hedge bets at all.

Yeah, but my point is that a lot of women probably find it hard to believe that a man who claims he'll be the main caregiver will actually follow through.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

At the risk of angering some of the women here I would have to disagree that the act of childbirth is courageous. Now don't get me wrong. I am all for motherhood. None of would be here without it. The whole process is amazing. However, the decision to have a child is normally done to satisfy the needs and desires of an individual (hopefully couple). Now I agree that it does involve risk and the male involved certainly owes a great deal of gratitude to a partner who is willing to undertake said risk. In reality, however, it is not a choice made for altruistic reasons. It is a personal choice.

If you don't agree with this, just take a look at that woman on the TLC show who has had 18 kids. If childbirth was courageous, we would all think she was a national hero.

AlgonquinS said...

Men are manly because we have to carry around the arrow:



Women got nothing:

David said...

Childbirth is not "voluntary." But charging an enemy position is also not voluntary in a very concrete sense. The men selected to charge are young, with young men's prewired aggression and hormones. (Yes, I know there are exceptions.) Peer pressure, societal expectation and training all go into soldiering. The same phenomona, in very different forms, affect women of childbearing age.

You may say that charging the machine gun is more dangerous. These days it is, but historically childbirth was very dangerous--probably with a mortality approaching combat.

So I think both are a form of courage, each with a biologic and societal urge behind them.

David said...

Freeman, I don't disagree with anything you say. It's a complex and individualized thing. Certainly I agree that strong personalities are not limited to those who stay in the workplace. But I still believe that couples with similar traits and aspirations in the workplace can be a team. And I know for a fact that (some) women are hedging their bets.

Alex said...

Freeman Hunt said:

I also think it's perfectly acceptable, even preferable for mates to special in different things. For example, I read thousands upon thousands of pages of material relating to parenting, education, etc. My husband reads thousands upon thousands of pages of material relating to his business. There's some crossover reading between us, but if we were to each read equal amounts of work and home topics, we would not have as much specialized knowledge between us. There would be no parenting and education expert in the house and no expert on my husband's business. Together we can do more as a team, each specializing, than we could ever do if we shared all individual tasks 50/50, duplicating each other's efforts.

4:26 PM

And in a nutshell you proved the utter insanity of the left's "equality at all costs".

TMink said...

I have had the privilege of sitting and listening and helping while 100s of people have done very difficult and brave things.

Courage knows no age, class, race, or gender. I can accept that, perhaps, men and women express their courage in different ways, but that is not my experience.

And I have been blessed to know so many courageous people. I don't think I really appreciated that fact till just now. It is humbling and invigorating at the same time to think of the people who have confronted horrid abuse, overcome horrid death, lived with PTSD after wars, you name it.

But I have not noticed that courage is a sexist trait.

Trey

Alex said...

Trey - are you a counselor?

TitusSaysHappyFriday said...

Good evening fellow republicans, how are you?

The weekend is here. It is time to sit back relax and open a cold one.

Put your feet up, take a deep breath, belt out a burb, perhaps squeek out a nice fart or for women folk a tickley little queef.

Let's all rejoice and sing from the highest mountains.

TitusSaysHappyFriday said...

For those of our Sconie commenters perhaps a Fish Fry is in the picture at a Supper Club.

Will you choose deep fried or baked? I am sure it will be all you can eat and likely deep fried. How about a side of beer battered cheese curds. Brandy Alexander? American Fries, Hash Browns, Baked Potato, Irish Potatoes, French Fries, Steak Fries or Mashed? One trip to the salad bar or all you can eat? How about a side saddle of frog legs? Mountain Dew to wash it down? Owl's Nest cheese spread for the homemade rolls?

rhhardin said...

Women do more housework than their working husbands because usually a guy doesn't see a mess as a problem needing a solution.

The guy abstracts from the mess. It's not an important fact.

Alex said...

Wait - so because I do my laundry but don't make my bed I'm not a real man, or am I? Someone please tell me!

bceagle said...

reading articles like this makes my headache and leads me to the conclusion some people don't have enough to worry about.

blake said...

There was nothing in that excerpt that encouraged me to read more. He does not know what courage is:

The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.

In some ways, the man has it easy. His courage means that, most likely, failure is death. (Talking in the prarie/primal/wilderness sense.)

The woman must then show her courage thereafter by raising the young'uns on her own.

Just stereotypically, I mean, but it's still true in a variety of ways. Yeah, maybe the man sacrifices his life, and maybe the woman must sustain courage for years after.

And sometimes in reverse.

This is not complicated, people. Sometimes it's difficult, but it's not complicated.

rhhardin said...

The laundry test for masculinity is whether everything goes in one load.

Meade said...

John Althouse Cohen said...

"Another thing: Masculinity and femininity are interesting topics to think about. They have to do with the basic dynamics of social interaction. If that's not manly, then fine -- I'm not manly. So what?"

Seems to me it takes courage to come on a blog such as this and openly question one's own manliness.

fcai said...

He didn't question his manliness, he flat out stated that he isn't manly. Big duh, that.

David said...

Hey, it takes a real man to question his own manliness. Or something.

Seattle said...

Is Aristotle this the original sociobiologist? The young fertile woman with the great boots looks for the wealthy courageous man, to marry, have his children, and be moderate.

William said...

I had a friend who volunteered for an extra tour in Vietnam. When he came back, he joined the Fire Dept. As the old joke goes, he would run into hell with a seltzer bottle. He had a nervous system that could absorb any amount of risk effortlessly. His courage did not save him from two bad marriages and a recurrent drinking problem. From what I could see, his physical courage didn't give him any kind of real advantage in life. If you were a tenant in a burning building, you could argue that his courage was not an obsolete virtue, but, for him personally, he never got much out of it......For men, for women, it is much more useful to be good at math than to be brave at accepting mortal danger.

Skyler said...

Eva wrote: Courage is not the opposite of tenderness. I have often found that it takes courage to be truly tender, if tenderness includes a measure of transparency or vulnerability.

As well-intended as this statement was, I think it's a shining example of how our culture has managed to obliterate the importance of courage by associating it with new-age mantras like "tendernous" is an example of courage.

Christy wrote: The men just did it, they didn't agonize over it. I didn't understand.

Yes, this is courage. Even more so when the danger is more immediate.

theobromophile said...

Mansfield's treatises on masculinity always make me think less of him, not more of him. As Southernxyl pointed out above, they seem to be predicated on convincing women to not provide competition to his studly manliness - a form of excellence by elimination of competition, not by besting it.

On a different note, I think that people express courage (and react to situations which involve courage) in different ways. In the animal world, mamas who are fearful of their cubs' lives are often considered to be the most dangerous of animals within that species. In the human species, it is men (mostly) who go off to war. Nevertheless, there are men who will readily die for their children's lives, and women who will risk disgrace and death, dress up as men, and fight in wars which they believe to be just, thus exhibiting not only the courage to fight, but the courage to defy a society which prohibits her from fighting.

PS - in the age of birth control, C-sections, adoption, and surrogate motherhood, childbirth (at least vaginally) is entirely voluntary. Before the modern age, though, I have to wonder about men's desire to continue to have sex with their wives who had difficult childbirths. Yes, biological urges are strong, but I'm not willing to paint all men as heartless beings who would push intercourse on their wives, knowing the consequences.

Skyler said...

David blathered: But charging an enemy position is also not voluntary in a very concrete sense. The men selected to charge are young, with young men's prewired aggression and hormones. (Yes, I know there are exceptions.) Peer pressure, societal expectation and training all go into soldiering. The same phenomona, in very different forms, affect women of childbearing age.

What a bunch of BS. Which battles were you in that led you to that conclusion? Which history books did you read that taught you that men are robots? I recall reading countless firt hand accounts of soldiers breaking ranks and running away. It takes a lot of training and courage to not do so. And even when the bullets aren't immediately whizzing past, it takes courage to wade out towards the sound of the guns after having so many friends killed in so many days past. It takes courage to run towards a fire aboard ship. These are acts of courage done by men, not automatons, who have free will to shirk or shrink, but choose not to.

William dismissed: From what I could see, his physical courage didn't give him any kind of real advantage in life. If you were a tenant in a burning building, you could argue that his courage was not an obsolete virtue, but, for him personally, he never got much out of it......

Hmm. It seems to me that you have a rather safe and protected opinion of what life is. It seems to me that whatever his marital problems, this man lived a virtuous and enjoyable life. Perhaps you don't appreciate the merits of being such a man, but I'm sure he did.

Mortimer Brezny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mortimer Brezny said...

Masculinity as properly defined is an aspirational and normative style of being and living as a natural-born man that a critical mass of the members of that population applaud. Masculinity may evolve over time and diverge within cultures, but there are trans-historical and trans-cultural aspects that any reasonable man can realistically point to through comparison using deitic adverbs. ("This is masculinity. That is not masculinity.") It is not a heteronormative phenomenon insofar as non-heterosexual males make the same denotations in whatever argot and the interactions between heredity and environment out of which the phenomenon of masculinity arises are visible in mass popular culture. As examples, James Bond, Sean Connery, Conan the Barbarian, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are masculine. When "masculine" is applied to women, the term denotes mannish features (or severe unattractiveness). That is not masculinity.

Darcy said...

Blake @ 6:49: No surprise, but I agree with you. Excellent.

Jon Sandor said...

For men, for women, it is much more useful to be good at math than to be brave at accepting mortal danger.


That's a very recent development. For all of human history up until fifty years ago, skill with math was pretty much useless to the average man and woman. Men were expected to give their life for the tribe, and women were too valuable bearing children to risk them dying in other high risk occupations. And high risk occupations meant pretty much all of them.

Bearing children was the primary purpose of women in all human cultures until, basically, just now, if you look at the broad sweep of history. it is still the primary purpose of women as far as Nature and evolution is concerned. Human ingenuity has freed all of us from the basic biological impulses which drive all life. Time will tell whether that's a good thing or a dead end, from the standpoint of the human race.

Jon Sandor said...

To the extent that Ali and Mansfield are in disagreement, it's because Ali is describing observed behavior among men in an Arab/African culture, while Mansfield is describing the Western ideal of manliness.

Bruce Hayden said...

I know a couple stay at home dads. One thing that has always puzzled me: Why do strongly career-oriented women usually look for strongly career-oriented men? If you view marriage and family as a team endeavor, wouldn't it make more sense to look for someone who's more oriented toward raising children? Most of the successful, career-oriented men I know look at marriage that way, a team with room for different roles. Why not women?

I think that a lot of this is that women, even today, are wired to marry up, not down. And I think, to a lesser degree, men to marry down. This seems to be a problem overall these days, and is most notable in the Black community, where a significant number of the college educated women there never marry (and often don't have kids either).

Interestingly, in the last election, the Republicans were the ones with the women marrying down and the non-traditional roles. At least with the McCains, the age difference likely made up for the economic differences. But in the Palin case, not only are they about the same age, but she is better educated, has a higher profile job, and he takes up the slack, which is typically the woman's role.

commenter said...

For men, for women, it is much more useful to be good at math than to be brave at accepting mortal danger.

maybe for twenty somethings who hang out in groups with a guy or two tagging along.

you aint never been an old lady (old being over 45 in terms of western youth and usefullness) alone without a man or clan and been "approached" on the street and have had to use both, a quick mind and strong legs. Thank goodness for the guy who uses both, too. The stranger on the street who dares to use his prowess to "accidently" check out the feel of a lady's legs only to notice that they were rock solid hard and realize they can kick him in the ass as well as...hmmm... what's the tropicana buzzword on billboards lately..... oh yea squeeze... put on the squeeze. Childbirth canal or something.

amba said...

Give me a fucking break, Harvey.

You mean fistfight-type courage? Sure. There's something kind of artificial about women boxers.

My notion is that women want spiritual equality and that because men have monopolized the spiritual virtues, which actually transcend gender -- e.g. artistic creation, judicial dispassion, courage -- we all get them mixed up with the masculine ones. Harvey thinks courage is for men, and some women think we need women boxers and soldiers (not just mountain climbers, judges, and novelists) to prove spiritual equality.

I practice karate and because I do, it's very clear to me that men (on average) are built for fighting, physically and psychologically, in a way that women are not. And it has at least two purposes, protection and competition.

But that doesn't mean women can't show courage.

amba said...

Seattle: "The young fertile woman with the great boots"?

One a these days these boobs are gonna walk all over you.

amba said...

women are the nurturing sex

If you think it's that sweet and simple (you wish!), read Sarah Blaffer Hrdy.