Here is the next post in a series of articles that relate to masculinity and becoming the man you’re meant to be. This article will cover the definition of masculinity and manliness. The definition of masculinity is “subjective” and very controversial nowadays. There isn’t much in the way of clear guidance to become a man or to help guys on a path toward it. Fathers are becoming more and more distant or are not even in the picture. Society attacks masculinity and manly behavior. Testosterone levels in males have plummeted over the years. This all leads to males that have no drive, no will to lead, no courage to stand for what they believe in and no resiliency to fight for what’s right.
The objective definition of masculinity is in the dictionary but is evolving. There is also a “subjective societal definition”, but it is painted in a destructive light.
I’m going to share my opinion of what the definition of masculinity is. I am writing this to foster a respectful, yet brutally honest conversation about how males today are failing to step up take charge of themselves and their lives. This is not meant to attack you or kick you while you are down, but rather to pick you up if you’re struggling or misguided. It is meant to help you become a stronger and more capable man, no matter where your starting point is. I have written this to set you on a path to become the man you are meant to be. Whatever that may mean in your life.
I will also give you some resources that can help you on your journey to becoming the man you should be. So be sure to read on!
Now let’s get to it!
What Is The Definition of Masculinity?
That is a very loaded question. It is why I decided to dedicate an entire article to it. I will start by covering the broad “objective” definition that is in the dictionary. This is what Merriam-Webster has to offer:
Definition of masculinity:
- the quality or nature of the male sex.
- the quality, state, or degree of being masculine or manly.
- challenging traditional notions about masculinity and femininity.
- “A style which alternates between a polished grace and blunt masculinity.”— Stuart Keate
- “The man controlling his environment is today the prevailing American image of masculinity.”— Susan Faludi
This is a very broad and indirect definition. I do not find this very helpful, if you ask me. It is certainly not helpful to anyone trying to find the definition of masculinity or manliness to become a better man.
The definition of masculinity is certainly being changed, or downright erased in today’s world. Movements like “toxic masculinity” support this claim.
So what is a clear definition of masculinity and manliness? The “correct” answer is probably going to be tailor-made to be applicable to your own life. HOWEVER, I think that there is a baseline set of values and characteristics that most guys can agree upon that is attributed to real masculinity and manliness.
Definition of Masculinity Versus Definition of Manliness
Firstly, when talking about the definition of masculinity and manliness, I want to mention a point that was made by Ryan Michler over at the Order of Man. He is one of the leaders of the “masculinity movement” and if you have not already, check out his podcast.
Michler talked about the definition of masculinity versus manliness and stated that they are not one in the same. I thought that it was very interesting and by the time I was done reading his blog post on the topic, I found myself in almost complete agreement with his point on this.
I will be paraphrasing but, he starts out by saying that being masculine is not the same as being a man. Both men and women can display masculine characteristics at times throughout life. Therefore, masculinity is a component of manliness but it does not make you the man you are capable of becoming. I agree with these statements. Just because you are a male or masculine, does not make you a man.
Michler suggested that masculinity is courage, risk-taking, physical/mental/emotional strength, aggression, and the ability to do violence. He also stated that masculinity is the effect of our hormones and physiology of our brains. Hormones and our physiology account for our ability to be courageous, aggressive, violent and strong.
On the other hand, Michler said manliness is the ability to harness masculinity in a way that will produce effective outcomes for everybody involved. I agree with this whole heartedly as well.
Physiological Breakdown of Masculinity
Masculinity is the product of a males physiology and hormonal make-up. Michler cited a book called The Male Brain written by Louann Brizendine. Using the book, he described that the hormones and physiology of the brain make us uniquely men.
Obviously we all know this but we may not know the factual details behind it. There are parts of the brain that are larger and more active in a males brain that are responsible for masculine behavior. The parts are:
- Medial Preoptic Area (MPOA)
- Temporal Parietal Junction
- Dorsal Premammillary Nucleus
The book also covers how hormones drive masculine behavior and the two primary ones are testosterone and vasopressin. If you are interested in more of the science behind how a males brain works, you can pick up the book here.
The book has scientific evidence that supports this definition of masculinity and it is irrefutable. This means the definition of masculinity, which is backed by science, shouldn’t be controversial or up for debate. It is evidence that defines the masculine characteristics that a male has, in varying degrees.
How The Definition of Masculinity Forms Manliness
Thanks to Ryan Michler we have defined masculinity as a physiological component primarily present, to varying degrees, in a male. This physiological makeup manifests the characteristics of courage, risk-taking, physical/mental/emotional strength, aggression, and the ability to do violence in a male (and even females). That is the definition of masculinity.
But what is manliness if males all have different levels of masculinity? The answer is more complex than the definition of masculinity. Manliness may vary from one person to another.
When we think of manliness, images of a burly man that is rough and does all the activities associated with being “a man”. Personally, I find that to be pretty spot on with my own image of manliness. However, if we are discussing a blanket term to apply to all guys, it has to go much deeper than what you look like and what you do. My image of a man in a nutshell is a capable, strong, skilled, rough, passionate, intelligent and violent-when-need-be kind of guy. Although, that may not apply to every single male out there. One might have better characteristics that apply to him.
Femininity Can Make You More of A Man
Did I just say that feminism can make you more manly? Yes I did. The mainstream media and modern society have ruined the word “feminism” though. So I will briefly explain.
The characteristics of femininity are nurturing, compassion, empathy, kindness, and love. Ryan Michler he makes an extremely important point that I heavily agree with.
The characteristics of femininity are vital to our relationships with our loved ones. A man will recognize this and apply these characteristics within his own household.
The masculine traits, such as aggression, on a constant basis don’t make for a pleasant household. Feminine traits make for a loving environment that helps bolster us as men and helps our families grow. Love is a powerful force that transcends space and time. It can easily hurt your loved ones if you don’t express it to them. Be masculine when you need to be, express love and other more feminine characteristics in the home with your wife and children.
I am not saying to go out and get all girly or even to act feminine. It is manly to feel those “feminine” characteristics and to express that you feel the love for your family and care for them. All of the greatest men in history had a great love for something or someone. Love can be the most powerful driving force in a man.
What is Manliness?
Masculinity is a physiological component of a male. The levels of masculinity in males today vary widely in today’s culture. I feel that if you are on the lower end, then you should do what you can to bring that up. However, that does not mean that you can’t exhibit manliness.
Further, manliness is about harnessing the tools we do have and using them in a manner that is for good. Our masculine physiology, experiences, beliefs, and mindset are all tools that we can use to be a true man. A man protects his own with a fierce passion. A man provides for his family. He leads in the best way that he knows how. Being capable, skilled and teaching others his knowledge is a real man. This is manliness.
Manliness Is Ever Evolving
Over the course of history manliness has been prized and held to a high standard. It was primarily associated with being a warrior due to the need for protection in ancient times. Manliness then evolved into being based on the man becoming an artisan of some kind. Furthermore, it shifted to becoming a provider for the family.
Through my observations and understanding of history, manliness has been based on whatever society needs in that current time. It has evolved over the course of history but has always been important to society and cherished.
Bring us to the present and it seems that society believes that manliness and masculinity are no longer needed. They even feel that it is dangerous to our current society. This could not be further from the truth.
Even though the definition of masculinity and manliness has evolved over the decades, we can form a foundation of manliness that was common in all eras and use that today.
Creating A Foundation of Manliness in Today’s Society
Furthermore, after briefly looking at what manliness was rooted in over the course of history, we can see that there are some common traits that were present. We can use them to help us form our own foundation of manliness and what being a man means to us today.
In addition, I firmly believe that becoming the best person you can be on all levels is the epitome of manliness. Acknowledging your own weaknesses and making the conscious effort to grow yourself physically, mentally and emotionally encompasses the road to manliness.
Furthermore, Aristotle and many ancient Greeks, believed that manliness was about living a life filled with human flourishing and excellence.
I want to highlight this point and emphasize that if we strive for excellence with our bodies, minds and emotions, then we would become the best men we could be. Find the courage to face your weaknesses, make a decision to change them and strive to be the best man you can be for yourself and your loved ones. That is the foundation of manliness.
Where To Start Becoming The Man You Are Meant To Be
The goal of this site is to focus on trying to become the best man we can be and to build strength in body, mind and faith to prepare for the hard times ahead. I share my experiences that have brought me to where I am and my observations of others experiences. I share all of this to help other guys like me and guys looking to help themselves grow.
There are countless thing you can do to become a better man immediately. You only need to have the will to change for the better. Seek to do these things and you will find what it means to be a man and the definition of masculinity just through pure action alone. It is more of a feeling and it is spiritual, rather than a textbook excerpt.
Therefore, one of the main focuses is on fitness and building physical strength because the journey of truly changing your body and building real strength carries over into every aspect of your life. It builds mental strength, emotional strength, discipline, grit, resilience and it WILL humble you.
Although, I am not a certified personal trainer, I have 15 plus years of fitness, strength training, nutrition and supplementation experience.
The experience I have is not experience that I achieved through schooling either. It is experience acquired through a burning passion that I have had since before I even began lifting weights. Reading and researching about fitness all day and into the night is not uncommon for me. I want to use my acquired experience to help anyone reading get closer to their fitness goals and change their bodies and their lives. Therefore, helping you to become the best men you can be in the process.
Build Strength To Become a Better Man
To become the best man you can become, being physically strong is an absolute must. I have written other articles on how to approach strength building, nutrition and supplementation. I will link to the ones that are currently on the site (There are plenty more to come as the site grows!).
Furthermore, the importance of staying committed to fitness has so many ways it will benefit you. Being committed to it is the only way you will see any change. On the inside and out.
Whether you want to lose some fat, build some muscle or gain more strength, the process of doing so is empowering. Honestly, it is repeated so much so that I feel it is almost taken for granted. I promise you, if you commit to changing your body and make it happen, you become a different person. You WILL be more confident, resilient, fulfilled and a better man. Period.
There are so many avenues to achieve these goals, as far as what you do. Powerlifting, Crossfit, weightlifting, sports of all kinds and many others will help get you there. My experience with fitness has been mostly around strength training, bodybuilding training and powerlifting. I have done Crossfit as well but strength training/powerlifting was the most beneficial for me. It is the foundation for all other sports and training types. It will also address fat loss, muscle gains and strength. The benefits of strength training are vast.
Your Nutrition Is Your Fuel To Be A Man
What you consume has a huge affect on how you feel, how you look and frankly how disciplined you are. The prioritization on food in America is fast foods, processed foods and convenience and it shows. Obesity rates are sky high and that effects your ability to be a real man.
How does your nutrition relate to being a man?
Well for starters, here are a few examples:
- Being fat and out of shape means that you cannot do a whole lot. Your limited by the excess fat on your body. Your less capable.
- If you eat like crap regularly, then you are not only getting fat but you are messing with your hormone profile and reducing testosterone.
- Succumbing to convenient and “delicious” foods that are bad for you displays your lack of self control and discipline which are traits of manliness.
- And so on…
This just a quick rundown of nutrition. If you are interested in how and what to eat to change your body and build muscle or lose fat, read Proper Nutrition To Build Muscle and Lose Fat (An Ultimate Guide To Nutrition)
How you eat will directly dictate what kind of man you are. A fat slob? or a lean capable machine? The choice is yours.
Men’s Role As A Family Protector
I am a firm believer that men hold the role of a protector of those that need it. It is an incredible honor and responsibility to have. Not only are we responsible for protecting our families, but it is our duty to protect others as well according to Psalm 82:4.
Furthermore, there are thousands of home break-ins, robberies, murders, muggings, and kidnappings a day across the world. All of these crimes are on the rise. So protecting yourself and others from evil with the best tools to do so is a part of what it means to be a man.
That means that as men we must also become familiar and competent in the use of these tools.
Preparedness Is Key
As men we are leaders of those around us and our loved ones. Especially in times of peril and complete disaster. This is why being prepared and having a plan in place for hardship is imperative.
Whenever disaster comes, everyone always looks to the most capable for safety and security. Who better than you within your own family?
The definition of masculinity states that it’s the traits and characteristics associated with a male. Being prepared and having the know how to take care of others during times of peril directly give those characteristics meaning.
For example, more than half of the population lives in overcrowded city environments. Are you prepared to survive in the city if anything were to happen?
That is something to think about.
Mindset Is Everything
When you’re on the path to becoming the man you are capable of being, mindset is everything. How you think, what you think about and how powerful you make your thoughts have a direct effect on the actions you will take.
Sadly, too many males are on auto pilot and just coast through the day. They wake up, get ready, go to work, come home and mindlessly eat junk food while watching mind numbing television. It is a cycle that all too many are stuck in and it all comes from their mindset, or lack there of.
Fitness was the start for me to grab the reigns of my life because I became feverishly obsessed with it as I graduated high school. It helped me develop discipline, commitment, resiliency, mental and physical fortitude and humbled me. It worked so well for me because I had a burning passion to stop being the tall skinny kid I was and to become a strong and muscular man.
Becoming a true man is an never ending task based on the meaning of manliness I laid out earlier. Fitness will carry you far on your journey, but there is more you can do to shape your mindset and achieve excellence in your life.
- Read more
- Surround yourself with like minded people
- Create better habits/hobbies
- Pursue a side business/job
- And so much more
Reading is a very important part of growing yourself. I will admit that I have not been the biggest reader throughout my life. Although, it is never too late to start and it has helped me greatly. Good books are a plenty, but non-fiction personal development books are a great tool to better your mindset. There is one book in particular that encompasses most of what I am talking about on this site.
The Battle For Your Heart and Mind
“Sovereignty: The Battle For The Hearts And Minds Of Men” written by Ryan Michler. Michler is the founder of the Order of Man podcast and is one of the thought leaders in the masculinity niche. He wrote this book to help males like us become the capable men we are meant to be. It is a phenomenal resource for you in the pursuit of manliness and a better life.
“Sovereignty: The Battle For The Hearts And Minds Of Men” is a call to fully become the men we are meant to be. When we do, we can adequately take care of ourselves and who we are responsible for. Men have always been known to be capable and the ones to look to in a crisis. This book aims to create men like that once more.
It covers thirteen principles that cohesively fit into what I believe manliness is and how to become the best man you can be. They are what I preach through this site. The thirteen principles are:
In addition, Michler includes a “battle plan” at the end of the book to systematically achieve your different types of goals. It’s something you can put into action right away and has helped many males achieve a better life and become more capable men. If you’re interested, check out the book. It falls in line with the message I am trying to spread and will help you define what manliness will mean for you. It WILL allow you to build strength and become a stronger man.
Wrapping Up The Definition of Masculinity
Well that’s that for this article on the definition of masculinity. In conclusion, it is easy to see that in today’s society, the definition of masculinity is being morphed into something that it is not. That attempt has set so many males on a dead end path but all is not lost. There are plenty of masculine men out there trying to fight for what the true definition of masculinity is and help others attain it.
This article is a great starting point to get there. Hopefully it has affected you in a way that can make your life better in some form. I have included a set of values that defines masculinity and manliness, physical guidelines to follow to become a man and an mindset/mental guide that can help you rewire your mind to greatness. These resources will prove to be invaluable.
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