Monday, March 23, 2009

What is a "manly" man?

During a conversation with a friend today, he made a disparaging remark about a mutual acquaintance claiming that he is not a “man”. I happen to like this "man”. So my immediate response was "well, what is your definition of a “man”?" Are you talking of a manly "man"? As I was asking these questions I realized that if I were to answer them, I would not have an immediate answer.

What is a man (as opposed to a weasel, a "girly" man, a "I don't know what" man)?

Living in a society where values are so relative, I have gotten so mixed up to the extent that I no longer know what answer I could propose for such a question without sounding naive, unrealistic, too demanding, or maybe coming from la la land.

In a culture where lying is OK as long as you are not caught; deception is fine as long as you get what you want at the end; cheating is excusable as long as it makes you pass an exam; hypocrisy is expected even if your nose becomes the very definition of brown; I no longer know where to draw the line.

I guess the more I think about this, the more I realize that the question is really what is a good hu”man”? Be it a manly "man" or a girly "girl". Equality is not relative and what is good for the goose is good for the gander. While pacing through my thoughts, I suddenly realized that the whole imbalance and "schizophrenic" state of bliss we find ourselves in today is the very fact that we have accepted segregation in principle and we have freely extended it to sets of absolute values that should not be subject to anything except the truth.

The answer I would propose is that a good hu-wo-man is someone who is empathetic, honest, courageous, modest, generous, merciful, grounded, and most important of all just.

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

Well, I'm supposed to agree. the only problem is: if you applied that concept on a man here in Jordan, then you'll get an almost opposite image of the oriental Jordanian man, at least in the view of most people and not all. I face that all the time. in an oriental society that is heavy with musculinity, being compassionate and caring is not a manly thing.
of course, I stress that this not only happens in Jordan, but in most societies. what females think is a human 'man' is what men think is a "not-so-manly"

Marvin the Martian said...

I agree, I think a manly man is caring and compassionate, yet stands up for what he believes in. He protects and cares for his family and friends.

Tallouza said...

Tha2ir, I think what really matters at the end of the day is to look in the mirror and to like to what you see. What people think depends on who these people are. I find many of those who are so willing to be judgmental, stereotypical and so ready to throw stones are the same ones who are living in glass houses. Thank you for your comment.

MTM, I agree with you.