Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Manliness and a woman

David Warren writes on Manliness (and Mansfield’s book). Charming and true. In this, he praises Oriana Fallaci’s new book. Read them both. 

Discussions - 34 Comments

Heh, that’ll get ’em going. **Where is his evidence??!!??** blah blah.

After going around and around on this my entire life, I have come to the conclusion that the test of manhood in the modern world is the willing submission to the military with its danger of combat.

The ultimate test of womanliness is the willing submission to pregnancy and the chore of raising a child.

I flunked and will always feel inferior to those who didn’t.


Please tell me that your comment was sarcastic . . .

Nope Cassandra, you have it all wrong. I’m going through a divorce and from what I have lived through, the test for manliness is that the guy have the balls to love his family instead of his job and to love his wife as he should,
Anyone can shoot a gun, it takes a real man to be what he should be in his family and marriage.

In Fallaci’s latest tome, "The Force of Reason," she states that Muslims "breed like rats." Just a tad ironic, isn’t it, that the exact same sort of imagery invoked by the Third Reich would be used by someone concerned with contemporary anti-semitism. Fans of "Manliness" might want to hunt for a possible companion volume (a His & Hers set, perhaps?) in Fallaci’s 1961 book, entitled "The Useless Sex: Voyage Around the Woman."

But whether "they" breed like rats, rabbits, or ummm... people, I guess this just plays right into the concerns/obsession that both bloggers and commenters here have espoused about the birth rates of liberals vs. conservatives, white Europeans vs. Arabs & Muslims, etc. Interesting. If the Others, whoever they may be, "breed like rats" and you out-breed them, what does that say, exactly?

Cassandra, are you serious? Thinking carefully about the meaning of "submit," do you really believe that women should become pregnant by "yielding or surrendering (themselves) to the will or authority of another?" This sounds like an experience akin to rape. Or, even if one assumes that you meant the less hostile form of submit, as in "to allow oneself to be subjected to something," this certainly sounds like an experience far less pleasant or rewarding than the joys of motherhood.

Manly. Have you found your chest yet? Hoping NLT keeps up the good campaign for manliness!

Men and women are not interchangeable, however, men and women can share various roles.

I am a police officer. I work the street. I deal with many situations that some have argued women are more apt in handling, however, generally, men gain more respect on the street than women and, generally, gain more non-physical compliance than women. Maybe this is due to a social bias, maybe not. I work with several female officers and they all do well, very well I might add. As soon as a woman hits the street, they come to the realization that they have it harder than the men, generally that is.

The same can be said of men who are not big and/or tall of which I am one. I am not tall, 5’08’’, but I do weigh 210 lbs (and no, that is not due to a lot of excess fat ... I can bench 300 lbs without straining too hard). However, my job as police officer can sometimes be a little harder than other taller officers because of the bias society has for us height-challenged folks ( ... snicker ...). I realize that and compensiate for it and, no, I don’t have a Napolean complex, but to gain non-physical complaince I sometimes have to do more work than a taller officer might have to do.

One thing is for sure, women, generally, tend to like men who are ’manly’ or are in ’manly’ professions. I used to be a software developer. Some of the stuff that I have contributed to or exclusively wrote went nationwide and some even went international. I made very, very good money. My uniform for work was jeans and a shirt. Putting that on never once made a woman gush, even my wife never did that. However, after donning my cop uniform (vest, gun, baton, TASER, cuffs, pepper spray, boots, class ’A’ pants and shirt) I have had women give me a ’once over’ so to, speak including my wife. I am also military reservist and in that uniform I get the same treatment.

It appears to me that even with all of advancement in women’s rights and in changing the roles of women and women, we, as humans, still harbor very traditional notions of what it means to be a man or woman.

It should be noted, though, that I have never thought my role as a man was to just work and bring home money. My primary role is to my family, which does include work, but also includes many other things like cleaning the house and wiping noses.

This obsession with manliness has been going for a while on that blog, right?
I am inclined to agree with Lisa on the type of manliness that should be valued the most.

Cassandra - you should not think that you failed in the ultimate test of womanliness. If you feel that pregnancy requires "submission" and raising the child is just about chores that I am glad you don’t have children. Children do not need martyrs for their mothers. They need parents, who can enjoy parenthood and have fun while parenting. By your standards, I passed the test of womanliness and I am happy to report that my pregnancy was quite enjoyable and my daughter is bringing me so much happiness that sometimes it feels unreal. It is unthinkable for me to analyze motherhood in term of submission and chores. This is not to say that I see motherhood as pure pleasure. Yes, it involves many duties and responsibilities but I don’t have any problem with that. Perhaps, it is because I share these responsibilities with the right man. I bet, he would laugh at what you guys discuss here as manliness.

Finally, moving to the subject of Oriana Fallaci - I am surprised and somewhat disappointed that such mediocre writer like her gets mentioned here. Her most recent book is nothing more than bitching of an old bat and it’s about islam. How creative and original? Academics, including many on the right dismiss Fallaci as emotional old lady and Muslim-hater, who ignores facts and data. So, Ashbrook Center should dismiss her as well. Unless, Ashbrook Center wants to stoop to her level, it should ignore Oriana’s pathetic attempts to get attention.

Is gender a traditional notion or an inate trait? That is the question. Is it not coming to seem as if "inate" is the answer?

Frank, you misinterpret Cassandra’s statement. The submission she cites is to pregnancy and the chore of raising the child. It is a chore; you are taking on a considerable burden.

Lisa, yes, the man has his role in the process and it is not merely insemination. In fact it comes to seem like a battlefield, and I hope that makes Cassandra feel better. But not just anyone can shoot a gun to good effect. I could not. And there must be more to war than that or we would not have so much of it. But, Frank, to work well with a man in the process of child-rearing, some measure of womanly submission makes it all a lot easier. And we do subject ourselves to motherhood. Again, C has that quite right.

Sorry "innate" which I did not see till I posted. Haste makes stupid spelling errors.


A shorter, but STRONG, law enforcement officer from Texas with well-considered conservative viewpoints?? Have you been featured on the tv show COPS yet? If not, someone needs to give them a call. There needs to be a special "Everyday Heroes in Policing" series, and you could be the first featured officer. Ready?

It’s funny how few women post comments on this blog until the issue is over manliness. It seems the femenists pushing for an equality of outcomes among the sexes truly are the screeching minority on the issue. Despite what Hollywood suggests, I don’t think we’ll ever see a female Navy SEAL.

It’s the big push to make everyone essentially genderless in an attempt to make everyone equal. Rather than focusing on each other’s strengths, and dare I say weaknesses, which could very well create BALANCE when combined together, an attempt is made to erase the line which effectively separates men from women. This creates confusion and disharmony. If Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus, then Earth is supposed to be the place we balance each other out...

It’s the big push to make everyone essentially genderless in an attempt to make everyone equal.

Who is making this big push? I certainly don’t know a single person who wants to "make everyone genderless." The way you guys spin things is just insane.

Brook is exactly right. Many academics talk about gender being "culturally constructed" in whatever "___________ Studies" course they are teaching. The assumption is of course that there are no natural differences between men and women. The reconstruction of human nature and differences of the sexes is the only "spin" going on here.


What are you talking about? You said that,

The assumption is of course that there are no natural differences between men and women.

I don’t know of a single person in academia who would tell you that women and me are different biologically and usually hormonally (is that a word?). No one denies that a woman is at a disadvantage (in the work force, anyway) because she is the gender who carries the child in the reproductive process. Or that men have an advantage while they’re backpacking through the woods (to make an extreme example) because they can take a piss standing up more easily than a woman can.

Some stereotypes are "culturally constructed". The idea that a woman’s place is in the home is culturally constructed. Any sort of biblical view of a woman should be considered (in my opinion) as a cultural construct because we have adopted the biblical way of thinking about these things into our culture. Sure, there will be some in academia who believe that human nature is a social construct, but then I’m not really sure that we can attack their view on gender alone. If you want to say something about that, you really need to attack their fundamental premise.

I got a little off track there. I suppose all I really want to make clear is that "Phil" is right. No one is working to make a genderless world . . .

In Psychology, we refer to "gender" as a social construct (having to do with culturally transmitted (and varying) roles,expectations, and sex as a set of biological outcomes (chromosomal, genetic, hormonal, anatomical).

Manliness, then, and womanliness, would have to do with gender roles and culturally transmitted identity, subject to social influences like family, religion, self-concept, while maleness and femaleness have to do with biology. Both are seen as continua and not dichotomies.

Sorry, Andrew. I don’t know where you got the idea that I’m some "femenist" (sic) who is "pushing for an equality of outcomes among the sexes" based on my comment. I simply had some positive thoughts to share about TexasDude. Is there a no-women rule here or something, where if a woman posts she is lumped into the "screeching minority"? I don’t want to be a Navy SEAL, by the way.

Wasn’t G.I Jane a Navy Seal? Remember the punch line, where she finally confronted Aragorn, and showed him how tough she was? Pretty manly!

Is the idea that "a woman’s place is in the home" really culturally consturcted. Before I get bashed for not being PC, let’s forget the stigma of the phrase for a second. Obviously, women have talents and ability exceeding those required for bringing up children. But the phrase, once the stigma is removed, really seems to be an assumption that a woman can better raise a child at home than can a father. That both play different roles and that a mother’s nuturing nature surpasses that of the father, and not only b/c of experience and cultural constructs.

Is there really any doubt that a mother (not just a woman) has nurturing ability that men lack, regardless of society’s influence? To illustrate:

In property law, wild animals on private real property are considered "owned" by the landowner (if the wild animal has its "regular" home there). If a doe wandered off property onto another owner’s private lot and had a fawn with a buck, guess who "owns" the fawn...That’s right, the owner of the lot on which the doe lives. Why? B/c of societal pressures and cultural contructs restricting the doe? No. Rather, because it is in the interest of property to preserve nature’s resources. The doe preserves nature’s resources b/c it can nurture the fawn on its own, as opposed to the buck.

Men and women are not does and bucks, but it at least is an example one may want to consider.

Bob is a stay-at-home dad and his wife is a well-respected OB/GYN, who is making big bucks. They have 2 small children and both kids love dad at home. Bob likes his staying at home and the wife really likes her job. Is Bob doing inferior job compared to stay-at-home mothers? Is his wife a bad mother? I don’t think so. If you, guys are so pro-family, let families decide what is working for them. And trust me, there are some men, who prefer to stay home with kids at home rather than work within the industrial military complex.

Too bad for Bob! Fred says deer do it a certain way or something, so that proves... ok, well, it didn’t really make much sense, but still- A man works and a woman raises the children! That’s how it’s always been done and therefore it shouldn’t be tampered with! So all you "femenists" can just stuff it!

Fred- Property, ownership, law, resources vs waste -- all of these are social constructs.

Jeez, sorry I misspelled feminists, get over yourselves...

Katie C. Peters, my comment 11 was a stand-alone one, not connected to yours (10) in anyway other than the general topic, sorry you didn’t realize that. And I think most people would agree with me that before Manliness made its debut there were few women posting comments, now there are more, suggesting the conversation provoked by Manliness has a special attraction to women.

In regards to gender roles and what have you, I saw a program on the Discovery Channel a few years ago on the sexes and it showed an experiment conducted on many different male and female babies (old enough to walk, so toddlers?). They were placed alone on one side of a room with a dividing gate in the middle. Then their mother walked into the other side of the room and stood their, not going to them. After a few minutes the babies wanted her but she wouldn’t pick them up or go to them. Both male and female babies got upset, but the males generally reacted by attacking the gate seperating them from their mother or trying to climb over it or get through it. The little girl babies stood where they were and cried and held their arms up trying to get their mother to come to them and pick them up. Could they have already been taught these different approaches at such a young age by society?

I would tell Bob that I have no problem with the manner in which he raises his family. I think it is more important to decide as a family that a parent remain at home to raise the children while the other one works. My point was based on the course of conversation within this thread. I think men and women are different. Women seem to have a keener sense for raising children, or at least a keener sense for nurturing them in a certain manner. Men seem to bring a different type of nurturing. I think it all has to do with the aforementioned difference. Basic experience (not just in good’ol boy Ohio, but around the world) seems to support my position. You’re point about the family is fine but incomplete. Families cannot be left to raise children however they want (hence child and family services, etc.), but family affairs in most cases are and should remain private. I think that a man sacrificing his career for the sake of his children and the women he loves is manly (and I’m sure seeing your children grow up largely outweighs the draw of the office).

Phil, I didn’t misspell feminists. I think my point was pretty clear.

Fung, I understand that these things are considered "social constructs" in your profession, and I see why they are called that; but common usage of the term seems to have the stigma that if it is man-made (resulting from the social and political makeup of a regime), then it must be arbitrary. This is especially true when the question at hand concerns hot-button issues [such as Feminism and the "role" a woman (which in a family would be a mother, which is different) has in the family]. However, I think the value (good or bad) of a "social construct" should be judged based on whether or not it is true and on its utility. Hence, technically social construct or not, the common usage of the term sidesteps real questions that are important in figuring out the answer to the issue. Right Phil?


Both male and female babies got upset, but the males generally reacted by attacking the gate seperating them from their mother or trying to climb over it or get through it.

See, you have to love that word "generally". So some males didn’t attack the gate? Did any females attack the gate? You all talk about men and women as if they are, from birth, somehow hard-wired to act a particular way, but not even the Discovery Channel can prove it (at least in Andrew’s example). So what if men "generally" attacked the gate? It doesn’t mean there’s any sort of natural difference in personality right off the bat.

I’m not saying you can’t convince me that there may be a natural difference (that’s not related purely to biology). But I don’t think your examples really points to very convincing evidence . . .

Before Phil catches me and bores us with a a comment or six about how I misused the word "women":

for the sake of his children and the women he loves=for the sake of his children and the woman he loves.

Sorry, perhaps I was taking the manly thing a bit too far...sigh.


I think you’re wrong. "Generally" is a good word and it does seem to speak to the natural difference. You know that human beings are incredibly complex. You know that they are unique; in their individual personalities, emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. I know that you know experience plays a huge role in development (you’ve been an Ashbrook Scholar for a couple of years now, has anything about you changed?). So it is not surprising that some (a word for "the few") did not act as most males did. However, that most, as far removed from the effects of experience as their age allowed, acted as they did and that repeated tests would have similar results is significant.

You might think I only play the experience card when I can use it in my favor, and then argue against it when Fung uses it against me. I’m not trying to do that, only trying to think about the truth of the situation.

Everything Fred said plus: I only added generally because, while the program mentioned nothing of any aberrations to the male/female split in behavior, that negative evidence doesn’t prove there were not any. So I was giving my opponents the benefit of the doubt, even though it seems like the behavior was uniform. (By the way, you guys have me everything now...)

Fred, I hate to tell you that using that prefatory "before I get bashed for being PC" remark doesn’t automatically increase the validity or power of your arguments. Nine times out of ten when I hear someone boast of being a "politically incorrect" rebel, it just means that they’re about to say something repugnant. What a meaningless phrase it is - "Sorry for not being politically incorrect, but I think that blacks and Jews are what’s ruining America these days." Or "I know the PC thought-control police are going to be all over me for saying so, but I think women are incapable of serious thinking and shouldn’t be permitted to vote." [and yes, I realize that your comment was not nearly as extreme as my Coulterish examples] Just say what you wish to say - I don’t see anyone trying to stop you - and let others evaluate it as they wish; trying to get the rebel scholar points for being un-PC is just silly. The fact that someone disagrees doesn’t make them them the PC police or you the victim, ok? Sorry, that’s a big pet peeve of mine.

As for a woman’s place being in the home, I just don’t see it as a natural thing. I’ve met and known more than a few women who really weren’t cut out to be mothers (for reasons that spoke to both their positive and negative characteristics) or who WERE mothers but clearly did a pretty poor job of it, especially the nurturing aspect. Likewise, I’ve known some dads who were stuck in office jobs that they despised, and spent most of their time and energies thinking about and doing things for their kids, or who really enjoyed doing domestic tasks (cooking, cleaning, child CARE, etc.). Your example of the wandering doe doesn’t translate that well since human infants don’t typically require breast milk, and I don’t think anyone would claim that the nurturing of a human child is solely confined to breastfeeding - if nursing is what you were getting at there; I’m not sure.

Geez Fred, relax! I didn’t say you misspelled "feminist." I was just poking a little fun at Andrew.


I thought the PC comment was necessary for two reasons. First, I was repeating an earlier phrase used by someone who was assuming that this thread was based on the idea that a woman’s place is in the home (I don’t think the thread is concerned with that idea at all. It began as a thread about the role of manliness). Second, use of the phrase automatically raises, as it should, a blind shield against any argument (validity matters little when a person is working from a false premise). It is interesting that when you see someone use that phrase you perceive they are seeking the "academic rebel" label. When I see an un-PC remark without acknowledgment, I normally perceive someone detached from social mores.

I know examples of exceptions abound. I agree that they do. I don’t think that it changes the general fact that mothers and fathers naturally bring about and instill in children different quealities. And it apparently must be accepted if multiculturalism is given any credence. If such a large gap results from differencs between cultures, how can the general worldwide recognition throughout history of women being better fit to raise children (b/c of the different aspects they bring from men) be answered? The deer thing wasn’t really concerned with milk (although I think your point about syntheitc formulas doesn’t work here). A buck would not only be unable to provide milk, but would also not stay with and raise the fawn (I’m pretty sure, any animal biologists out there?), while the doe would, so nature’s resources are preserved by the doe and not the buck beyond breast feeding.

Hi Phil,



thought+haste=misspelled words

Good thing you posted that last comment, Fred- I was all set to pounce!

Fred, your effort to clarify things has only made the situation more murky, I’m afraid. In your last comment you said:

"I thought the PC comment was necessary for two reasons. First, I was repeating an earlier phrase used by someone who was assuming that this thread was based on the idea that a woman’s place is in the home."

So, the "earlier phrase" to which you refer is what, exactly? Matt Mingus didn’t say anything about PC or political correctness, and I don’t think anyone else did, either. So, I’ve got to assume that you’re talking about the "woman’s place is in the home" statement (not so much a phrase, really). But THEN you say that "use of the phrase automatically raises, as it should, a blind shield against any argument..." Ok, wasn’t that MY point about someone who claims to be saying something that is un-PC, non-PC, politically incorrect, etc.? But again, if by "the phrase" you are referring to "a woman’s place in the home" then I’m at a loss as to what you are talking about, if you are trying to explain why "the PC comment was necessary." And finally you said "It is interesting that when you see someone use that phrase you perceive they are seeking the ’academic rebel’ label." Again, what do you mean by "that phrase"? - the statement "a woman’s place is in the home" OR "not being PC"??? If you mean the former, then no, I don’t think someone is attempting to be an academic rebel by saying that. I just disagree with that assertion about "a woman’s place."

My point Fred was that the phrase "politically correct" is an all but meaningless term that anyone can use to try to present their viewpoints as The Truth that is being suppressed by the powerful cultural forces that their ideological opponents supposedly possess. I think it is often employed as a rhetorical device to appear as an intellectual rebel of sorts who is stating common-sense truths that are being suppressed by the PC "police" or whatever. I just don’t think the phrase, whether it’s used by the left, right, or middle (but I think we know which part of the political spectrum adores using it on a daily basis) adds the slightest substance to any discussion.

(Hopefully the error was self-evident, but I misquoted you in the first line of my last comment. Of course you said "Before I get bashed for NOT being PC" - I left out the "not." Sorry if that has somehow compounded the confusion.)

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