“we (modern society) make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
With plenty of sound advice, handy tips, and useful information, you too can become a man. The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man written by Brett and Kate McKay tell their male readers to “man up!” Instructing men on the art of chivalry and how to start a fire without matches, The Art of Manliness is a how-to manual of sorts but has that wise old grandfather speaking to his grandson feel to it. With many historical facts and references, the authors make sure to point out how things were back in the day when men were men and manliness was not only accepted but expected. But somewhere in generations past, men lost their way and fathers no longer passed manlike know-how to their sons paving the way for deadbeat dads, cheaters, slackers and misguided muscle-heads.
I’ve read both positive and negative reviews on this book thanks to Goodreads (those who comment are brutally honest). Some critics believe the book to be too superficial, only skimming the “man issue” surface and not delving deeper. Others took this book for what it was, an attempt to bring light to the fact that boys and young men come to believe using their fists, looking and acting bad ass, being disrespectful and treating women like crap is somehow manly. This book tries to dispel those beliefs while placing importance on gentleman-like behavior.
Although I truly believe it takes more than a well intentioned book to teach guys how to be men, I think it’s a step in the right direction. There is definitely a huge misconception out there about what “manly” actually is. Some women think “caveman” or “controlling jerk”. But I believe some women think “manly” and all of a sudden their female empowerment instincts, that have been drilled into us since the mid ’60s, kick in and we become resentful. We’re not suppose to rely on men and we’re suppose to wear the pants now. Comedian Dave Chappelle once said, “Chivalry is dead and women killed it”. I asked my husband if he agreed with that remark and he responded with a resounding “yes”. He argued that if women want to be treated equally then there would be no reason for chivalry. “You should open the door for me too, it’s only fair,” and yes, that seems kind of wussy but my husband had a point. But just so you know, he opens the door for me anyway.
Ultimately, it’s up to the parents to teach their sons of the new generation how to be productive and honorable members of society. Women may not be the damsels in distress or Peggy Sue homemakers they once were but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the respect, support and admiration they deserve. Boys should know how to tie a necktie and male adolescents should learn how to conduct themselves properly on Facebook. Yet again, The Art of Manliness is a beneficial tool but by no means a magic wand that will turn a boy into a man.
If you don’t want to read the book but want to learn more about this, check out the authors’ website also titled The Art of Manliness.
So what do you thing of The Art of Manliness? Would you read it? Tell us your thoughts.