In doing some research on manhood, it has occurred to me that there are a number of different types of men, and that there is no monolithic ideal of masculinity. Here are a few that I thought of. Each group expresses one unique trait of masculinity, the desire to prove their masculinity, in different ways. It’s interesting to think the different types through.
The first model is the sportsman. The sportsman roots his manhood in outdoor activities. He views himself as the ultimate man because he lives in the state of nature–literally and figuratively. He has discovered life at its essence: hunting, fishing, and doing what it takes to survive, albeit without modern conveniences. The sportsman will often look down on other men because he sees himself as most purely expressing masculinity. Men who do not kill or journey are not fully men, and cannot be fully trusted. However, he does fulfill part of the ideal of the biblical man, in that he provides for his own and is not shy about claiming dominion over the earth.
The second model is the jock. He roots his manhood in his athletic prowess, real or supposed. The jock views himself as the ultimate man because he excels in those fields which modern society pays great attention to–the fields of sport. The jock will often look down on other men because he sees himself as most purely expressing masculinity. Men who did not play sports are inferior because they were not able to do so, as he was. For the rest of his life, the jock will subtly direct conversation to athletic matters and inform fellow conversants of his past athletic prowess. He will also reduplicate his athletic drive in his children. At least he’ll try to. The jock fulfills part of the biblical ideal in that he cares for his body and enjoys competition and engagement with others. Many virtues are encompassed in sports. However, he will have a tendency to overvalue the life of the body and look down on those who were not athletic.
Next–two more types.