The battle of the sexes today is the battle to find them at all.
In a culture that blurs males and females into a blob of humanity, it’s helpful to ask: “What distinguishes a man as a man—without being sexist or patriarchal?” If we toss aside Webster, the definition of masculinity falls to a matter of opinion.
Or does it?
Stephen Mansfield’s book, Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men, explains the author’s purpose up front.
I want to identify what a genuine man does—the virtues, the habits, the disciplines, the duties, the actions of true manhood—and then call men to do it. I mean exactly these words. This book is about doing.
The book lays out this goal in several parts:
- Part I includes “The Four Manly Maxims.”
- Part II is the heart of the book and contains chapters on character issues that make a man manly—each quality amply illustrated by a model man in history.
- Part III offers quotes, books, and movies “for manly men.”
Each of the chapters finds its justification not just in common sense, but in Scripture. The exception is the chapter on “Wildness,” which seems to find its basis in an admiration for John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart.
I found Mansfield’s “Utterly Invigorating Guide to Being Your Most Masculine Self” personally challenging and encouraging. My favorite quote in the book comes from my favorite chapter on “Suffering”:
The question we all face is not whether or not we have defects. We do. Every one of us. The question is whether we are capable of envisioning a life defined by forces greater than the weight of our flaws. (Kindle Location 2972)
True masculinity boils down to issues of character lived out—not just ideas that are spoken.
Tell me what you think: What to you makes a man masculine? To leave a comment, just click here.