Monday, April 14, 2014
What Is the Core of Masculinity?
We’ve covered the 3 P’s of Manhood (protect, procreate, and provide), and we’ve distilled them down to the fundamentals — the ancient, nearly universal standards of manhood that have existed around the world for thousands of years.
But in studying them, one can’t help but notice that their requirements are not exclusively manly. Haven’t women played a part in these roles, not just now, but since time immemorial? Is it possible then to drill down through these fundamentals even further, to find the role and its attendant attributes that are, if not exclusively manly, then the most distinctively masculine — the very core of manhood?
If we look at the procreator and provider imperatives, we find that they are roles that men and women share – and that what is distinctively masculine about them comes down to a difference in emphasis.
In the procreator role, it most certainly takes two to tango. The emphasis is simply placed on the man taking the initiative in getting the proceedings started.
In the provider role, men and women have shared the responsibility for contributing sustenance to their families since the dawn of time. Here the emphasis is on the husband contributing more than the wife, and making a more vital contribution (protein vs. plants, in premodern times).
It is then the charge to protect that emerges as the most distinctively masculine of the 3 P’s of Manhood. Because this role involves both defending and conquering, it might be better termed as the way of the warrior. The role of warrior/protector has been almost exclusively male up until the present day, and continues to endure nearly unchanged in the modern era.
Even in the most progressive of families, when something goes bump in the night, the man will not send his wife to investigate while he huddles under the covers. When the car stalls in the middle of nowhere, a man will not send his wife to walk miles in search of the nearest gas station while he stays to wait with the kids in the locked car.