“A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it confirmed only by other men. Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all.”Camille Paglia
In the modern era, society has become confused as to what ideas hold true. The confusion in the present has affected every facet of human consciousness to include the very gender or identity of modern man. Phrases like gender nonbinary or toxic masculinity have men confused as to what it even means to be a man. Men yearn to be accepted in a society that seemingly has no interest in their well being. What does it mean to even be a man anymore when everyone can claim to be whatever gender they wish? How does someone identify themselves where identity is treated as a character stat in an RPG?
One possible answer to the question of what the male identity is comes in the form of a book entitled The Way of Men by Jack Donovan. The book itself covers various aspects of manhood in the past, present, and possibly in the future. The book itself is not long, but it covers a lot of ground on aspects of masculinity. For the purposes of this post, the discussion will focus solely on the Four Virtues of Manhood as described in The Way of Men. Each virtue will be briefly examined and dissected for the purposes of using them in one’s daily life if possible.
The Four Virtues of Manhood are:
The first masculine virtue to be considered is that of Strength. Strength, in its most basic definition possible, is the ability to exert force. Strength helps men perform tasks to resist the pressures of nature’s wrath to survive and continuate the species. A man in every civilization was expected to have the strength to be able to fight for, build, and maintain the tribe to which he belongs. Without strength, man simply cannot exert his will onto the world or any obstacles he may face including predators or opponents from another tribe. In all civilizations, a man without strength either mental or physical is considered useless to his group. A man without strength is not respected and will have a difficult time obtaining or maintaining a woman to bear his children. In the present, this is still true because weak men still complain as to why there are no women who like nice guys. Weak men still get picked last or picked on in life. Strength is simply the first default virtue of men even to this day.
The second masculine virtue in the book is that of Courage. While strength is useful, strength without courage is useless to any tribe. While strength may be the ability to exert one’s will upon the world, courage is what is necessary to use that strength in the first place. A strong man who is not willing to do something that requires genuine risk will be less respected than a man who although might be weaker than him, is willing to do the hard work to get the job done. Courage is respected in every generation in every society. Men who display courage when the pressure is on are the ones with the best chance of obtaining whatever they seek. No risk. No reward.
The third masculine virtue is that of Mastery. Mastery is simply the virtue of being able to perform a skill well. A good hunter, soldier, or even a plumber is respected due to their usefulness to their family, community, or nation. The respect one is given for their skill in today’s society is usually financial. No mechanic will fix an engine for free, so one will show him the respect of his profession by paying him for his labor. The more expensive or troublesome the problem, the more respected and compensated one is if they have mastered the ability to solve that problem. Men get rich or higher status by solving expensive, difficult problems.
The last virtue is that of honor. Honor, to put it simply, is the custom of not disrespecting your fellow man by either lying, betraying, or otherwise breaking promises or traditions of one’s tribe, family, or society. Honor binds men together through mutual trust in one another. A man who lies, cheats, and steals from his brother in arms is looked upon with shame. If his dishonor is shameful enough, the man will be exiled from his community. There is not a nation or tribe on earth that respects people who will disrespect their fellow man. That stands true even today with religion, law, or philosophy as the moral framework to ensure that honor is respected.
With these rules laid out as basic as possible in Jack Donovan’s book, there lies a question that will have no answer that can satisfy everyone. Such a question poses the risk of even angering the very author of the book currently being examined. Then again, isn’t questioning the work of philosophy the point? The examination of masculine virtues in a forum that dares to question any and all philosophy in order to make it useful today bears in mind a question: Can women apply the Four Masculine Virtues in their lives and how would their use of the virtues differ from men’s use of the Four virtues?
If one were to honestly answer the question as to whether a woman CAN apply the four masculine virtues into her life, the short answer is yes. There are numerous stories of women who are strong, courageous, have mastered skills, and can honor their peers. Women can and some will apply these virtues in their lives to achieve their goals. The difference between women applying the four virtues and men doing so lies in the fact that, for women, the application of the four virtues of manhood is optional. A woman who displays these virtues in her life is widely respected by both men and women. She won’t be faulted for not applying them though. For men, to simply be considered a man worthy of any modicrum of respect, he MUST apply these virtues. A man who fails to be strong, brave, masterful at any skill, or honorable, is seen as nothing more than a child in a man’s body. No society will respect such a man and no woman will love him. For men, to fail at applying these virtues in his life can mean exile from his community or worse.
Tell me what you think in the comments below. That will be all for now. Be sure to read The Way of Men by Jack Donovan when you get the time.