Manhood Matters: Reviving the Manly Virtue

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We should ask ourselves, ‘What does it mean to be a man?’

During the Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked the nominee whether she could define the word “woman.” Jackson replied in the negative, adding, “I am not a biologist.”

Given the postmodernist debates and confusion over gender and sex in our culture, we can safely guess Blackburn’s question might have left even biologists scratching their heads.

In his recent film “What Is a Woman?” Matt Walsh poses this question and encounters many educated women and men who hesitate or refuse to define a woman, who believe that human beings endowed with a Y chromosome and male reproductive organs can nonetheless claim to be, and are, women.

This inability by some people to define a woman gives rise to certain dilemmas. How, for instance, do we speak of women’s rights or women’s sports if we can’t define a woman in the first place?

Which raises a related question: What is a man?

The Basics

My online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a man as “an adult male human being.” Another part of this biological picture is, of course, chromosomes. Nearly all males have XY chromosomes while nearly all females have the double X.

But now, my trusty Merriam-Webster has clouded the meanings of these basic terms. Added to the definition of female is “having a gender identity that is the opposite of male.” The definition of male now includes this addition: “having a gender identity that is the opposite of female.”

In other words, those of the opposite sex claiming to be male or female wipe away chromosomes and any other visible features of their birth gender. The 20-year-old male who identifies as female is, in fact, female.

In light of this muddled state of affairs, maybe we should ask a different question.

Reframing the Question

Rather than seeking to answer “What is a man?” let’s substitute this inquiry: “What is manhood? What does it mean to be a man?”

By Jeff Minick

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