what defines a good Man???

OK, here’s one that’s bugged me for years:

I believe there is value in striving to be a ‘good man’ as opposed to just a ‘good person’.

I also believe that there is no room for exclusive role domains in modern society. Traditionally ‘male’ roles (provider, defender etc.) can and should also be performed by women (as and if desired).

Given, the above, what are the values that might define a ‘good man’ which are unique to our gender?

Lets look at the most obvious problem. If there are male specific ways to be good then that inevitably means any woman who lived exactly the same life as good man would not be good, or that man who lived exactly the same life as a good woman would not be good. That seems to be clearly nonsense. It may be unlikely for a man to live exactly as a woman or vice versa, but the idea that if they did so then one could be deemed good and the other not good seems obviously nonsensical.

More fundamentally this is really just part if the question “What voluntary characteristics are unique to either sex?”. After all you can’t claim ‘goodness’ for simply having testicles or a uterus. And as you’ve basically said yourself, there aren’t any exclusive voluntary traits . For that matter there never really have been any nor should there be any.

You can’t possibly say that men should be aggressive and that women never should be, or that women should be persuasive and men never should be. Any positive traits simply can’t be exclusive to one sex alone.

Perhaps you could say that a good man will have a certain blend of positive traits. However even that is highly dubious. I’ve already given the obvious problem with that idea. But even without that where does such a concept that leave Lawrence of Arabia vs. Mahatma Ghandi. Two very different men but both still good men in their own ways.

The only answer I can see to your question is “There aren’t any”. People are people and there are as many ways to be good as there are to be evil. Men may be more inclined to be good in certain ways, but to suggest there are some things that are only good when done by men doesn’t make any sense at all IMO.

I never took it that way. I always saw it as more of an “informal code of conduct.” It’s not that it’s only good if men do it. It’s just that if you want to be a “good man,” you have certain expectations that you have to meet.

Now that I’ve got the serious response out of the way…

Q: What defines a good man?

A: Me. I am the definition of a good man. :smiley:

But the necessary corollary of that as defined by the OP (remember we are looking for “values that might define a ‘good man’ which are unique to our gender”) is that if a man behaves exactly like a good woman he won’t meet those expectations.

That makes no sense. It’s saying that a woman can be good if she meets certain expecations but a man living exactly the same life won’t be good. That’s inescapable if we conclude that there are values/behaviours/standards that are unique to one gender to the other. Unique means that they can’t apply to the other gender at all. And if they don’t apply to the other gender then by definition when a person of that gender adopts exactly the same values/behaviours/standards they won’t be good.

You’re also assuming that the characteristics of a “good man” remain constant throughout life… the behaviour of a “good man” at age 20 will not necessarily be the same as that of an 80 year old man.

One solution would be to reduce it to a common “core” of good practices, but that would dilute such that it wouldn’t be meaningful.

It’s also assuming that different societies have the same requirements for a “good man” as each other - hard to compare hunter/gatherer with modern technological society.

Aristotle had a lot to say about this.

Modesty, generosity, protection of the weak and kindness are the hallmarks of a gentle man.

Churchill claimed a ‘A gentleman never causes harm unintentionally.’ I like that one.

I don’t think that you can parse out “goodness” and “man-ness.”

Q: What makes a good man?
a) Being good
b) Having testicles.

As for what makes a person-I mean, man- good, my first criteria would be empathy.

The perspective of the person being asked.

to some , a good man is hard to find
to others , a hard man is good to find. :slight_smile:

What Blake and bizzwire said.

If we limit ourselves to a specified context, and that context is one in which males and females are exposed to markedly different situations, I suppose it might be reasonable to say that a good woman deals with <female-situational shit> in such-and-such a way, whereas, while it doesn’t make a man other than a good man to have the same characteristics, he would not be in that kind of situation. And vice versa for a good man dealing with <male-situational shit>.

But what you end up with when you do that is a list of rather specific applications of broader personality and behavioral characteristics, rather than a compendium of good personality and behavioral characteristics themselves. To give the requisite silly example: “A good woman handles the stress of childbirth with dignity and poise.” We could say that a good man would have the same characteristics of handling stress with dignity and poise, and that’s really what we’re pointing to with her as well — the “of childbirth” thing is just a context.

I think there are bad things a man can do that a woman cannot. And that is get women pregnant without the wish or ability to raise the child. Women can do a similar bad thing, which is to get pregnant without the ability or wish to raise the child. Byt these are not identicle, since the male version of this bad thing is far easier to do multiple times with multiple people than the female version.

So the gender specific good thing is for a man not to spread his seed without conscientiously being in position to raise any possible children that might be the result of his actions.

Well the obvious problem is that the traits that make someone a “good man” are not exclusive to men. Being a good provider to his family makes someone a good man, but a woman can also be a good provider and that makes her a good woman. Fact of the matter is that men and women are different and we as a society value different traits in each gender. There are also traits that we value in both genders.

The problem is that the OP only asks for traits that make someone a “good man” that are exclusive to men.

We seem to be in complete agreement that they don’t exist.

But the OP doesn’t want generic good traits of that kind. He specifically asks for “values that might define a ‘good man’ which are unique to our gender?”. Since being a good provider isn’t unique to males it doesn;t qualify as such a value.

Do we? So you are saying that if a man lived exactly the same life as woman he wouldn’t be valued?

How about: treat your heterosexual female partner*, or homosexual male partner with respect and kindness? A bit of a stretch, but I can’t let “they don’t exist” stand unchallenged. :slight_smile:

*partner in the sexual sense.

Ahunter3 already addressed that one. All you’ve produced is a very, very specific application of a general human trait.

Honestly I fail to see what your point is with such a ridiculous nitpick. If we are going to get that finicky then we are going to have to conclude that there exist differences between good black people and good white people. After all a white person can’t treat their partner-who-is-the-partner-of-a-white-person with respect. And we can apply the same to people between the ages of 18 and 18 years and 3 months, and people who are 5’7” and any other arbitrary and meaningless classification you care to name.

It’s perfectly true but it a ridiculous and tautological nitpick. It makes no point whatsoever aside from the triviality that any thing can be evaluated as ‘true’ by tautology and sematic hair splitting. If that was your point then congratulations. It was something I’m sure we were all well aware of and it makes debate impossible, But congratualations nonetheless.

Cool. So what are these?
Perhaps it’s an unfair question in the sense that postive human characteristics can’t be hijacked by one or another gender.

But I really find it unsatisfying to think that there is nothing to strive for (vis a vis ‘goodness’) unique to my gender.

I’m hugely annoyed with the idea that the only difference between a good woman and a good man might be that that the woman can bring life into the world and the man cannot. And getting naked with other guys and banging on drums in the woods doesn’t resonate with me.

Might we be looking for a sort of ‘weighted average’ of combined virtues that society (eeks, here comes that word:) should value more in men than women? That get’s us around the ‘unique’ issue, which seems to be a dead end, yet perhaps allows for a uniqie identity. For instance, I personally feel that part of being a man is to be able and willing in the last result to provide for my family should my mate be unable/unwilling (perhaps due to childrearing?). Same with defense. I am delighted to have a woman who is brave, strong and capable of earning to help support our family. However, if everything went to shit, I feel it’s MY responsibility as the man to stand in front of the bullet or work three jobs etc. Doesn’t mean that she couldn’t do the same, but I would not think less of her as a ‘woman’ if she couldn’t. Whereas I would think less of myself as a man.

Having said all that, where would this leave a brave man spending his life battling from a wheelchair or facing some other horrible disability? Less of man? I would think the opposite.

Could it be something to do therefore with the willingness to always fight the important battles (be they physical, economic or disabilities) and sacrifice oneself for the comfort and nourishment of partner and offspring? But then, what does that do for single dudes?!

A good man is a man who grows to his full potential as a human being and creates a space around him that helps his family, friends and co-workers grow to their full potential as human beings, and who generally tries to build a society that’s favorable to the same.

That’s really too broad a question to answer. I can probably think of lifestyles exclusive to both genders that might be looked down on.

Except that a man’s female partner isn’t necessarily heterosexual, and a man’s male partner isn’t necessarily homosexual.

Sorry, I couldn’t let your post “stand unchallenged.”

I know that we can nitpick the gender breakdown, etc. forever, so I’ll skip that and do my best to answer in the spirit of the OP (I think).

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m terribly old-fashioned.

I don’t think we can separate manhood from the more martial aspects of our culture-whether we’re talking about Bushido, Chivalry, or the Code of the West.

To me, a good man is someone that, when the fighting starts, you want to have at your side, win or lose. That’s not to say that physical strength is the virtue I’m thinking of- it’s the sum of a whole lot of intangibles. But I do think that strength in all of its forms is a major component of what we consider manly.

In modern society, that translates in a lot of different ways- being a good provider, a steady friend, a champion of the weak, etc. But at the core of a man is strength- something that you can depend on, something that you can build on.

Yes, i know that sounds hokey.

Actually, don’t think that sounds hokey at all. It perfectly sums up my *feelings *on the issue and I think it goes some way to expressing them in a viable definition.

So what does that leave for women? Perhaps those people we’d most like at our back?