Monday, May 3, 2010

On Masculine and Feminine Virtues

Not long ago, Ulysses wrote an interesting post that was inspired by some writings of Edmund Burke and Mary Wollencraft. In responding to that post and thinking more about it, I stumbled across the idea that virtues and the expression thereof, are rarely androgynous. There are many virtues that definitely are more masculine and many virtues which are unquestionably more feminine in nature. Some virtues are not especially polarized, but vary substantially in their expressions, from one gender to the other.

It's easy to determine whether a virtue is more masculine or feminine. The masculine virtues always involve elements of clarity, firmness, hardiness, rationality, missionality or a black and white view of the world. The feminine virtues always are more graceful, smooth, nurturing, peacable, social and flexible. Examples of masculine virtues include: ambition, diligence, persistence, endurance, accountability, bravery, confidence, commitment, assertiveness, defiance, punctuality, discipline, focus, determination, fortitude, loyalty, honesty, dependability, justice, honor, majesty, orderliness, restraint, steadfastness, chastity and wisdom. Examples of feminine virtues include: cleanliness, compassion, mercy, thoughfulness, kindness, cooperation, discretion, flexibility, gracefulness, peacefulness, sensitivity, unity, tranquility, tolerance, innocence, hopefulness, consideration, helpfulness, care and prudence.

While all of these virtues are valuable and desirable, it is also desirable that they are held in certain proportions within a person. While a man should be well developed in all of the virtues, it is especially needful that he possess a sufficient amount of masculine virtues. If he is lacking in some areas of the feminine virtues it is not nearly so dangerous and unattractive as if he is deficient in one of the masculine virtues. For example, if a man is more peaceful than he is bold and courageous, such that he lacks assertiveness concerning things that are important and vital, he would rightly be perceived as a wimp and a coward. While it is desirable for a man to both be bold and be peaceful, it is more desirable that he be bold than that he be peaceful. It is more of a vice if he lacks assertiveness than if he isn't as agreeable as he should be. Similarly, while it would be preferable for a man to be both dependable and flexible, if he is to lack either virtue, it is preferable that he be lacking in flexibility, rather than being a man who is unreliable. For a man, he must primarily emphasize the masculine virtues in his own personal and spiritual development. Development of the feminine virtues, while wholesome and worthwhile, must always rest firmly on the foundation of the masculine virtues.

A man's efficacy in the world, his command of respect from other men, and his attractiveness to women are all intimately tied with the proportion of his character traits. This balance is vital and necessary. A man lacking ambition and diligence is a man who is lazy and accomplishes nothing. Men do not respect him in that area, and women will find his lack of those traits quite distasteful. Recently, I was conversing with my pastor and we were discussing the necessity of a man providing for his family. He recounted to me a couple that he knows who have been married for 10 years. Their family is still lacking in stability because the husband is inconsistent and undisciplined in keeping a job. That family is struggling because of the financial instability and poor leadership caused by the husband's deficiency in the masculine virtues of ambition and diligence.

Similarly, for a man to be a protector of his loved ones, he must be strong, tough and unrelenting. So long as a man is willing and able to fight when needed, it is perfectly good if he is merciful and compassionate. However, if a man lacks those vital masculine virtues, his possession of the feminine ones are of little comfort or help. For a man to be rightous, he must have a well-developed sense of justice and mete out punishments that are proportionate to the crime. A man who is forgiving and forbearing at the expense of being just is permissive to a fault. Whereas, a man who metes out reasonable punishments swiftly and efficaciously is even more respected when he offers forgiveness and mercy on appropriate occasions. When the feminine virtues exist aside well-developed masculine virtues in a man, they are quite respectable and admirable. However, a lack of any essential masculine virtues in a man cannot be counterbalanced by any quantity of corresponding feminine virtues.

Just as the masculine virtues are primarily desirable and necessary for a man, a woman must possess a proper proportion of virtues within herself. The exercise of feminine virtues serve to enhance a woman's beauty and ability to have a nourishing, lifegiving effect upon her family and the world around. Just as it is crucial for a man to have well-developed masculine virtues, a wise woman will primarily pursue the development of feminine virtues within herself. Upon the foundation of feminine virtues, developing masculine virtues can be a good thing, but if they are emphasized at the exclusive of the feminine virtues, a woman will end up quite unbalanced, unfeminine and consequently, unattractive. A woman who is just but lacks compassion and tenderness, will be quite an unaffectionate and unsympathetic person. Is it perfectly reasonable for a woman to exercise a proper measure of justice, when needed, so long as compassion, love and empathy are always predominant.

A woman who is graceful and peaceful is a refreshing woman to be around. However, a woman who is abrasive and confrontational is a troublesome and repulsive woman to be with. It is fine for a woman to be able to confront where confrontation is needed, as long as she is generally a gracious and peaceful person. But, in the absense of those virtues, assertiveness and defiance mark her as a shrew. Similarly, as long as a woman is primarily a nurturing and caring person, it is no vice to have a measure of ambition and drive. However, a woman who places her goals and life pursuits above being a nurturing and caregiving wife and mother is not an attractive woman. When a woman demonstrates her possession of feminine virtues, she actually appears more beautiful. A woman who shows kindness is beautiful. A woman who chooses her words carefully in order to preserve unity and tranquility reveals a lovely spirit. When a woman with strongly developed feminine virtues develops a few of the masculine virtues, this serves to make her more balanced and well-rounded. However, if a woman possess a greater degree of masculine virtues than feminine ones, it greatly inhibits her beauty, her polarity and her ability to bless the world the way she is meant to.

Thus, for both men and women, it is right and proper to pursue the development of various virtues in accordance with one's own gender polarity. A man who wishes to be strongly masculine (as men should), must primarily focus his efforts on developing masculine virtues. To the degree that he masters those virtues, he will be attractive, respected and powerful. A man who is strongly masculine may develop some feminine virtues to smooth out some of his rough edges, but this will always be a secondary pursuit. Deficiency in any critical masculine trait is a major weakness. Likewise, a woman who wishes to be delightfully feminine (as women should), must primarily focus her efforts on developing feminine virtues. The woman who successfully embraces those qualities will be beautiful, kind, peaceable and a blessing to her friends and family. A proper understanding of the desirable proportion of virtues for men and for women is necessary to work towards a properly polarized soul. Even in their possession of virtues, men should strive to be men and women should delight in being women.

25 comments:

  1. Ah, I forgot to check back; your commments were quite acute and well put.

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  2. Nicely done, Silas.

    I was going to suggest you offer your take on it, but you obviously didn't need encouragement.

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  3. I can't imagine why you actually think men SHOULD be STRONGLY masculine. I don't know where this is coming from. And why women should be delightfully feminine. This is one of the most sexist posts I've ever read. I hope you do not actually espouse this view or express it to others. It is sure to offend.

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  4. I agree. I think this kind of language is morally wrong and completely representative of what Sarah Hoagland calls "Heterosexualism." Silas, you need to read some feminist literature so you can begin to value women's experience and anyone associating with the LGBTQ community. Further your post offend any men who find themselves possessing an equal amount of feminine and masculine virtues or any combination other than your myopic views.

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    1. Feminist literature suck and so do those who read it. Let's just be free to be who we are and not try to be something we are not.

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  5. Wow! This is an appalling and backward post!

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    1. Not as backward as you brain dead ideology :O

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  6. Unbelievable. Silas, you should be embarrassed.

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  7. An abuse has been reported on this Blogger Profile for "sexist posts." Your Blogger account will be deactivated in 3 days.

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    1. Sexist Realism is fundamental to freedom and freedom of expression. Those who try to gag free speech are enemies of state. If I could, I would require you and millions like you to be more open and liberal or take a course in being a Human Being rather than a promoter of perversion.

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  8. Hey, Dylan and anonymous quit bitching. I can't believe you guys actually decided to tattle on Silas. If you don't like the damn post don't read it. It's that simple. No one here cares about feminism. Feminism has approached it's twilight and there is nothing you fags can do about it.

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  9. It is absurd that this post should be reported to Blogger. The gender-neutral P.C. police are trying to inoculate us against nature. Flail on, fools, you are only increasing your sexlessness and ensuring that your desire to replicate continues to sputter and dwindle. More room for us at the orgy.

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  10. this is such a refreshing post! we need more men and women to be proud of their sex and not desire to embrace it, instead of trying to be what the opposite of what God has intended...I pray that others will read and come to the truth through this post!

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  11. **correction of above post - to be proud of their sex and DESIRE TO EMRACE IT THE WAY GOD HAS MADE IT! We need women who desire to be the beautiful loving women that they are and men willing to stand up and fight for their families and the truth!

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  12. Okay... So what's that "attractive" bs coming from? As if I would only be focused on how attractive to men I am. I'm a human being in first place and a woman in second only.
    "However, a woman who places her goals and life pursuits above being a nurturing and caregiving wife and mother is not an attractive woman." Being a wife and mother is actually a goal and life pursuit for some. For others, it isn't.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. An attractive woman is not only talking about a nurturing mother. It's not only talking physical appearance or anything like that. It is talking about the summation of feminine virtues compared to the summation of masculine virtues. Just as the article read to lack a few masculine virtues and possess a few feminine ones is okay as long as you have a majority of well developed, supporting masculine virtues. I have several friends that are just naturally gentle men, but throw a punch at one of their friends and all hell will break loose. Some men don't desire a woman who is very passive, sweet, sensitive, instead they want a woman who is all fire. But don't mistake that this woman will still have plenty of supporting feminine virtues that make them attractive to a man. If a woman possess only masculine virtues than she is not going be appealing to any man for any reason other than physical appearance, and no woman wants to be admired only for their physical appearance. This is important for women's happiness because once their physical beauty fades than no man will desire them. Seriously unsure how this post could offend anyone, talking about proportionality of virtues. You may not want to be focused on appealing to men and instead focus on your goals in life, but there are plenty men that find an ambitious go-getter kind of woman appealing. It's all about balance. But a woman really can't go wrong with having too many feminine virtues where as the opposite might cause personal problems if said woman is heterosexual.

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  13. Thank you for this post. Thank you so much. I cannot emphasize the providential blessedness of seeing these ideas, which have already resided in my mind in a vague and incipient form, fleshed out so vividly and superbly. These ideas need to be spread far and wide, because they are the foundation to biblical and natural complementarianism and patriarchy -- contra the God-haters who would be so laughable and dim as to accuse this post of "sexism," as if that were a serious charge.

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  14. Dear Mr. Reinegal,

    Thank you. Your ideas are sound, and well expressed. I was born female, and I very much desire to be a woman. Admittedly, this is difficult in a world where women are expected to be men. I am not an ambitious person, for example, which grieves my feminist mother's heart, but I do love listening to people pour out the pain in their hearts, and then comforting them, that they might find healing. Because of this, there is some tension in our house, but I find kindness and gentle answers soothe the problem nicely!

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  15. Thanks for the article, this has been useful in understanding the traditionalist viewpoints. While not universal, the model you present seems desirable for some. Personally I don't agree with the proposed gender divide and seek out of more unified model for human development, but reading this has been enlightening.

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  16. An excellent article and a fine understanding. I would like you to stand in my Tavern and say it all.

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  17. This is a breath of fresh air! Thank you for sharing your insightful thoughts.
    Some people have difficulty accepting the reality of their nature, and in this case of their body, and, instead of conforming themselves and their attitudes to that reality, attempt to mold reality to their own subjective preferences. The truth is that the way we think about the world (e.g. our bodies) does not change the world. If you don't want to conform to it there's going to be a backlash. You simply cannot be happy if you don't accept yourself as you are. And the way you are is not determined by your subjective mental dispositions, moods, emotions, mind-set, etc.

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