I'm not going to delve into the subject of how Manliness died, but I do want to spread the word on how it was dying and is now reviving. Fellow men, and young men in the journey to become men, I need some help finding sources for a speech I'm going to present.
I was largely influenced by Brett's performance at Ignite Tulsa, and I wanted to emulate that somehow. Today, I was given the privilege by my professor to present a speech on "Cultural Awareness" that is due within two weeks. He wouldn't mind if I delved into subcultures, so I wanted to do something different and difficult. I want to tell how Manliness isn't necessarily wrong. Before I discovered AoM, I believed manliness to be only what I found in media and magazines. These were buff, burly men who acted like jerks and had sex everywhere they went, gathering the women as a farmer does with wheat. I wasn't a jerk, but I believed there was a change in the way men were. Now, I know there is an alternative to this a. I have pledged to being counter-cultural, and help spread how to be a better person through becoming a real man. A man of strength, virtue, and intelligence.
Of course a man must help himself before asking others for help, so I have already found some sources myself:
And what has been a real great help, was studying speeches of other men. I had Brett's Manvotionals with me a few months ago, but I lost it. But the words of MLK and William Ernest Henley have stayed with me, even now. Pericles' funeral speech was a big booster of support for me. If anyone else has a problem with making speeches, look to other men who made great speeches.
However, there are many variables that prevent me from actually doing this:
1.) There are a lot of girls in this class. In my Speech class, there is a 2:3 ratio of young, bright young women to men who dream of a future for themselves. How bad would it be if I came into class with my ideas of reviving "manliness" in their faces? Of course I attempt to be polite daily to both genders, but the results seem unpredictable right now as I sort through what could happen. Maybe they'll raise their standards for the men they date, hopefully.
2.) I am a giant square. I try to be chaste, I never try to use coarse language, and I read books all the time. Now I will be a bigger square by presenting this speech. I shouldn't care about what others think, but someone has to think about their standing with the other students and professors.
3.) I'm very guilty of being both the metrosexual and man-boy that Brett presents in the video. I enjoy buying fashionable clothing, and I do play video games. In fact, I am soon to buy a custom computer on which that I can make mods for PC games. But I know my limits, and I never try to spend what I cannot afford by being frugal nor do I frequently play video games from dusk-til-dawn inside my room. I also try to believe there is a manly way to game but that's an entirely different discussion for another day if I manage to get there.
So please, could you help a young student? Are there any other articles, or books from the library that I can read to cite as a source? Are there any other speeches that can I study? Thank you for reading.
tl;dr version: I have a speech due in two weeks about the decline of manliness. Could you help me find sources, please?
So, your definition of masculinity is "a variety of ideals that come from various sectors for various reasons" and "a multiplicity of images that are [...] conjured up [...] (that are) multi-faceted with many layers of meaning".
If that's your definition ... I would agree that there's no way that perception of that could possibly 'decline'.
And your position on the reason for the change (not decline) in perceptions of the 'multiplicity of multi-faceted layerful images' that define manliness is -- it happens for reasons "from social to economic to political to some admixture of those or other factors [...] depending on how persuasive the writer is".
Paralysis by analysis defined. Good grief.
With that starting-point, it is no wonder you find this "a waste of time". There's not enough concrete there to stand on.
Is it your opinion that the words "manliness" and "masculinity" are are so complex and "multi-faceted" and "layered" as to be impossible to narrow at all? Are the multiplicitity of various images and ideals from variety of sectors for various reasons at all definable?
Jack-- my comments again are a framework to begin understanding a problem. That's why they are general in nature. The specifics need to be plugged in.
A specific example is "what are the perceptions of masculinity that are popular today? Who articulates them? What motivates their articulation, and what forces formed these perceptions?"
Ultimately this is a descriptive process, not prescriptive.
They're so "general in nature" that they're literally meaningless ... which is probably the point. Plug-in some specifics, if you can. I'm betting you can't ... or won't. Even your "specific example" is questions, not answers.
I actually think you're aiming for paralysis by analysis here. You offer definitions that literally say nothing because any thing less wouldn't be all-inclusive enough. Any narrower definition is bothersome to somebody who buys into the "social construct" theory, so paralyze it with intentionally meaningless blather like the stuff I quoted above.
There's no way you actually believe the definition of masculinity is "a variety of ideals that come from various sectors for various reasons." You just believe there's no such thing.
Jack, I think that is his point. Once you get to the point of making a big speech, you are addressing an audience of unique people from multiple backgrounds. The best you can aim for would be generalities as you would get lost in the specifics, like this board often does with the "Is it manly" topics
I think the kicker there Jack, is in the personality differences that lead Men to be here.
Some are here because they lack Manliness and want to participate in changing the definition of what Manliness means until it fits them. These are mostly our very liberal minded friends, suburban, young adults to middle aged. They're also the first to do anything that they can to avoid measurable or palpable definitions of Masculinity and attempt to keep it as undefinable as they possibly can. You know who they are.
Some are here because they lack Manliness and want to find definable aspects of Manliness that they can pursue. These guys are all over the general discussion section, A Mans' life, etc. They lean a bit metrosexual, tend to leave the debate topics alone, they ask about career and hobbies a lot.
Some are here because they do not know what Manliness is and if they are lacking in it or not, usually inspired to seek answers by some recent conundrum or failing in their social lives. You can find these guys in the Relationship section asking about their girlfriends. Most of their questions can be answered by telling them either to leave the girl and forget her, or to run up, grab her, bend her backwards like Don Draper in a bad mood and lay a kiss on her that would make Vivien Leigh wish Clark Gable would grow a pair. Their posts often start with something along the lines of "Long time reader here, but this is my first time posting ..."
A fourth tier are here because they do not feel that they themselves lack Manliness, but that some part of their social lives and interactions are lacking in Manliness, and they're here to interact with other Men like themselves. I'm pretty sure you know exactly who they are, too.
Your discussion with Mr. Vytootus or however it's spelled is a discussion that comes from one Man wanting to redefine manliness until it fits his rather watered down ability to meet the term, and another Man who is here to enjoy interacting with other masculine Men.
The problem of course, is that there has definitely been a decline in manliness, by virtually any measure of the word. All the way down to the medical evidence of declining birth rates, fertility rates and lower testosterone levels, from more esoteric or philosophical ideas about social graces, across more measurable but still intangible arguments about how Men are just not very handy around the house these days. One could even look to the arguments over in the Great Debate section of this web site about Women in the military. It could be argued that one reason there is now room for Women in combat roles in the military is because our society just does not have the testicular diameter to really fight wars the way we have in the past. WW2 went the way it did in no small way because of sheer ruthlessness, a ruthlessness that we just don't have anymore and is arguably resulting in total failure in Afghanistan and Iraq. We're not winning anymore, because our society no longer has the stomach to "go Roman" anymore. Even our general Government has been feminized, with politicians basically just trying to out nanny-state each other.
our society just does not have the testicular diameter to really fight wars
It's not like you're signing up (or ever did...). If you want to castigate society for being ball-less wimps, you kind of have to back it up by having walked the walk. You didn't.
Tried. They wouldn't take me (medical).
And in case you missed it, I was really castigating you more than society at large.
You should probably read up on military theory and why we don't fight wars of attrition like WWII anymore.
What does "going Roman" mean? Total warfare? You pursue that and you're going to lose the battle for hearts & minds, which is a key piece of terrain in the fight. That translates to mission failure.
But this is probably a conversation way beyond the OP.
The Romans didn't care much about hearts and minds.
The Romans didn't care much about hearts and minds.
Pretty much no one did, here until right recently. In fact Id dare say that the evidence suggests that the first step in winning hearts and minds, is breaking them first.
Then again, you don't know much about the practice of war.