Ladies, what is masculinity to you?

What does masculinity entail?

Is it the facial features (bushy eyebrows, square jaw, deep set eyes, etc?) Is it the hair on the chest (but probably none on the head)? Is it bellowing a lot? Is it aggressiveness? Is it wearing unbuttoned shirts? Is it some kind of grunge look? Is it having an impressive physique? Or is it something more about a person’s character?

Is Sean Connery masculine? What about Patrick Stewart? Real life examples will be appreciated. :smiley:

Masculine for me has very little to do with looks. Stubbly or bearded faces being the one exception.

Rather, it’s an ability to tinker and fix stuff, a smell of cigar smoke, a fondness for the outdoors. It’s a sense of constant protectiveness and a slightly distant confidence. Actually, it’s really hard to explicitly spell it out now that I’m trying. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s sexist, but my idea of “masculine” is heavily influenced by traditional gender roles. I personally cook and sew and mother so, for me, the ideal of masculine would be the complementary opposite of that. Does that make any sense?

Are we talking masculinity or attractiveness? Because I find Sean Connery and Patrick Stewart very sexy, but not my definition of masculine.

To me, a strict definition of masculine is broader shoulders than waistline, a thick neck, thick wrists, large hands that look like they have been used for hard work. Someone you would look at and think “He’s a lumberjack.” In terms of facial features, it would be square jawline and angular features - straight nose, cheekbones… so if I think about it, basically Christopher Reeve as Superman. He has it all except maybe the rough hands. :slight_smile:

For me, masculinity is a complex mix of physical, social, and cerebral qualities. I’m drawn to physically masculine men, but I don’t think scholarly men are less masculine…unless they’re physically effeminate. I get a kick out of the change that comes over men when they get into a group situation that is predominately male. They get louder, smile more, and interact in a very different way than when they’re with a group of women.

I’d like to answer it’s something about a man’s character. It does play a role, but I found myself agreeing with Thinks2Much’s description. Superman is a bit too apple pie for me, but it’s a good example. Along with the lumberjack types, I’d add in some tough guys, Michael Madsen and James Gandolfini are good examples. And then there’s just the all around bad-ass persona, Sam Jackson is a great example of this.

Submitted too soon, and wanted to add upon reading my post. Apparently my ideal masculine man is an AA Paul Bunyan, with the questionable pasttime of breaking kneecaps and cobbling cement shoes, most likely carrying a wallet embossed with “BAD MF”, and wearing a cape.

What I find ‘manly’ in Mr. Toes:
[li]his knowledge of cars and mechanical things[/li][li]my small hand in his large one[/li][li]the crook of his shoulder (that whole protection thing)[/li][li]the way he silently cries[/li][/ul]

I could give a different list for every guy I know. It seems to be more of an individual thing for me than anything else.

belladonna hit on my idea of masculinity with “a slightly distant confidence.” It’s very hard to describe, but it’s in the way a man carries himself, the way he speaks, and the way he takes charge of things with a calm and intelligent demeanor. He’s not an egomaniac or braggart, but when you look at him you just know he’s a bad-ass.

Masculinity in physical appearance: easily defined as male and bigger than me.

Masculinity in character: less easily defined, but possessed of somewhat stereotypical attitudes or roles, including but not limited to protectiveness, the bread-winner, the hunter, the problem-solver, the rough-and-tumble athlete, the warrior.

I find this question difficult to pin down an aswer for, because I know women who meet any one of the above traits, with the sole expection of being male.

I’m sitting here wondering about how to reply to this. Maybe it’s because I’m not sure what I think. I’ve devoted some time thinking about what it means to be a Man. I know we’re designed very differently from women, but I don’t want to be defined as distant.

But I AM distant. I’m very distant from my family, which feels just like ME and not culture. With certain buddies, in one-on-one situations, I can open up. even though I’m distant, I think I’m very lucid about my own emotional workings, and can easily articulate what’s wrong with me.
[FONT=Arial]Slightly distant confidence is, I think, the way most guys would like to look. I would. We don’t want to show weakness, and when you’re distant, you’re not too vulnerable.

Confidence is good, but it’s often not real. I don’t know if the average guy is happy with his self (not himself, but his Self) and sure that people will like him, and generally confident with his place in life.

Still wondering,

Freiheit notices that this is a thread for the Ladies.

Freiheit retreats and apologizes.

As a male, I’d like to see women responding to the original post also say something along the lines of how often they actually observe in real life the qualities that they say they would consider positive masculine characteristics. I don’t mean looks, but behavior. In particular, when you talk about the “bad-ass” or tough-guy persona and point to TV gangsters, that’s a fantasy that puts most real-life men at a disadvantage (how do you feel when a man says his ideal woman is, say, Pam Anderson?). Could you really be involved with a man who gets into barroom brawls or intimidates weaker people (let alone kills people)? When does the confident “take-charge” guy become the know-it-all jerk or the belligerent bully? Forget TV. What are the characteristics that you find appealingly masculine in the real world? (References to actual men–Survivor contestants, political leaders, historical figures–might be helpful.)

We don’t limit who can particpate in threads. Certain perspectives can be sought specifically but great insights can spring from anywhere, y’know?

For me masculinity isn’t so much looks as an approach. Now defining that approach is sumpin’ else. I know when I see it, and t’ain’t sayin’ women never share some of the core traits. Having thoroughly muddied the water…

Masculinity draws its lines differently, where strength is drawn and what cuts to the core. Masculinity seems to puts what’s personal–central–in a different place. Ego siting? Dunno. It isn’t just coping with hardship or danger, or vulnerablity, but maybe coping differently? Sean Connery, Mel Gibson, etc. are okay outlines of masculinity but pretty cartoonish; superficially attractive but not very convincing. The sweaty-hunks-du-jour-action-heroes are flat out ridiculous. And this is where men mystify me. Something about them serve as ideals for men–and some women, to be fair. I don’t think “because they’re what women want” is the whole enchilada, though. They’re standards for men, by men.

I once read a somewhat cynical formula for targeting teen novels. For girls, it was a nice, ugly duckling kind of girl who ended up being loved for herself. For boys, it was a sort of ugly duckling kind of boy who unexpectedly did things under pressure.

So…masculinity? Honor. A sense of place and obligation in the world. A certain carefree disregard of things that bother women. Armor and vulnerabilities in different places.

TVeblen, you’re a woman? I have always thought that you’re a man. :smiley:

I completely agree with Reader99’s request. Real life examples, please. :slight_smile:

Retreat = non-masculine? :wink:

As Freiheit said earlier…

Confidence is good, but it’s often not real. I don’t know if the average guy is happy with his self (not himself, but his Self) and sure that people will like him, and generally confident with his place in life.

First of all, I don’t know how to quote, sorry ladies. But, I think one of the key points to being masculine, is not knowing the difference between himself, and his self. :smiley:

Also, I think Joe Dirt is an excellent example of Masculinity, he is my hero.

The confusion is shared widely. Sigh.

I tanked on real examples of masculinity, maybe due to movie-TV impairedness. Going for high profile stereotypes of masculinity, does anybody else find the (book version) of Ashley Wilkes as potently masculine as Rhett Butler? I do. Rhett ended up exactly where Ashely always stood. Ashley didn’t waver (much) or rationalize himself into a tizzy. He knew what he valued, even if it was misguided, stuck by it and did he best. Rhett was flashy and sexy as hell, but it took him forever to grow the hell up. He was rich in bucks and hormones but slow developing substance.

Lack of center.

Those guys in old movies in their homburg hats and tweed overcoats epitomise masculinity in the abstract to me.

Nowadays, it’s harder to define what I mean by masculine. It’s an awareness of maleness, I think, and the confidence that comes of having grown up as a man in what is still very much a man’s world. I can think of examples known to me, but can’t come up with a public figure as an example. The men I know can talk about their emotions, but do so in a way that to me emphasises their “otherness”, and underlines the fundamental differences in how men and women think.

It’s hard to describe, but I know it when I see it.

Okay, first Friehart–I personally like hearing from both sides on stuff like this so, as others have said, jump on in. Second, what you and TheSource are saying about confidence isn’t shocking. I don’t think the average woman feels much differently.

Third–examples of masculinity in everyday life. Well, there was this guy once who helped me when my car broke down. He knew just what he was doing (confident) and then insisted on following me to my next stop to make sure I made it (protective). Masculine. Any kind of handyman type stuff counts, a man in a toolbelt definitely masculine. And also, one that’s harder to describe but counts almost as much as anything. Caretaking, I guess you could call it. When you see a man doing things for the benefit of his family–long term financial planning, car maintenence, visiting his aged mother, making sure the furnace is working each fall, working that extra day to get his kid a birthday toy, etc. It’s nebulous, but I know it when I see it, and it’s almost always in the everyday things.

Yup. Masculine as hell!