Defining and Pursuing Manliness

I recently listened to this excellent podcast, and it got me thinking.

What is the definition of Effeminacy?

The main point I noticed was the need to call out effeminacy as parents and Christian leaders. In love, in public life, in those we want to get to Heaven and in that which would otherwise lead them unaware.

The host and guest couldn't get into everything they want to say, there are limits even on podcasts. Perhaps they desire to leave defining the sin to the local pastor and parent. I thought I would briefly.

Effeminacy in men is:

  • Womanly, in dress / attitude / deed
  • Not manly. Shirking the dress / attitudes / deeds of men
  • Asexual also, see above
  • Soft 
  • Dainty 
  • Overly concerned with appearance (in dress, and body too) 
  • Denying and avoiding the role God made for men, see below

Effeminacy is not cross-dressing. It is not homosexuality. Effeminacy is not even confusion of gender roles. It is the path to these things, and also a sin of itself.

Symptoms of effeminacy include identifying and socializing better with women rather than men, being estranged from or uncomfortable among men, and a great concern with appearance. This concern with appearance looks like shopping for entertainment, caring overly about fashion, and dieting or exercise for how it makes you look.

Further, effeminacy is a learned trait. It is learned (as they say in the podcast) through entertainment mostly. The good news is that manliness can also be learned behavior.

Manliness is:

  • Accepting and living the dress / attitudes / deeds God gives to men
  • Being the complementary counterpart to women
  • Sweating and working (Genesis) 
  • Warring and defending (Judges, Kings, Psalms) 
  • Prayer, Faith, and not doubting (1 Timothy)
  • Sacrificing for their family and loving their wives (Ephesians)
  • Teaching and leading the family (Deuteronomy, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians) 

Women are wonderful, fascinating, and precious. There's no one I love more than my wife, and my mother means the world to me. That doesn't mean they are all the world needs.

I hope that when my daughter is grown she finds a man that is not at all effeminate to be her counterpart. That will allow her to be all woman while he does what he is uniquely called and qualified to do.

What to do about it

Raising a boy in this culture war makes me consider these things. The weapons we have to man up our boys (or ourselves) are these:

Calling out effeminate behavior

Just as the podcast says. When you see a man dressed like he doesn't know he's a man, say so to your young men. When entertainment or marketing nudges them to look pretty, to soften up, to be concerned with things they don't need to be, call it out. Highlight "that's for women" and "that is sin for you."

Good, manly examples

Just as you call out bad examples, contrast them with good. Point out the good manly men they should be like. Point them to your pastor (hopefully), old-timers in the church that have done some things, and other young men that are on a good track.

Further, purpose and decide to give your boys manly examples. Take them to a church workday. Take them to men's breakfasts, the auto shop, sportsman's gatherings, and the barbershop as an experience and not just transactions. Bring manly friends around and connect them.

Manly entertainment

This you won't find it in Hollywood. Books are a better source.

Young Adult biographies of interesting men like explorers and war heroes would be a good start. www.GoodReads.com should help you find some. For fiction that is manly and relatively safe morally Louis L'Amour is hard to beat. He wrote many westerns, detective short stories, and historical fiction. Lastly, instructional manuals are interesting to boys and develop skills. Books like the Boy Scout Manual, worst case scenario handbook, home science and engineering projects, homesteading books, and hunting or fishing manuals.

If your boy isn't a reader, consider audio books.

Manly experiences

Camping, shooting, fishing, and building are all staples of manliness for a good reason. They are tied to manly virtues like planning, self-control, responsibility, and the pay-off of work ethic.

Men of every age can begin building these skills and the values associated with them. Boys can shoot plastic arrows and build with blocks, making blanket forts and "camping." Young men can go camping and fishing nearby, build chicken coops and robots from kits, and shoot pellet rifles. Men can plan these trips and mentor the young, or gather with other men and go hunting, camping, and fishing afar off.

Closing thought

Not every man need be a lumberjack or commercial fisherman. We don't even all need callouses. We do need to embody the calling and responsibilities outlined above. Engineers, architects, businessmen, and many others are not that but can be manly men in every way that is important.

Did I miss something you feel is important? Please comment below

Not every man need be a lumberjack or commercial fisherman. We don't even all need callouses. We do need to embody the calling and responsibilities outlined above. Engineers, architects, businessmen, and many others who are urban can be manly men in every way that is important.

Did I miss something you feel is important? Please comment below