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Manhood an earned status
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We were discussing the state of being a man versus being a woman. The argument was that manhood is earned, usually through aggressive words and actions. A boy is not a man until he has proved himself, usually in some challenging or difficult rite of passage and/or by sexual conquest

Women, on the other hand, are granted womanhood by their biology and have to do nothing to claim the title, so the argument went.

It does seem that men who feel threatened in their masculine role do respond with aggressive actions. Aggression restores manhood status, relieves the existential angst. Growing old, for men, is fraught with more anxiety than for women, as they lose their abilities.

However, I would not say that being a woman is automatic. A single woman is often questioned--what is wrong with you, don't you like men. And when she is young and hasn't had a child, again it is implied that one isn't a real woman until having given birth, after which it is automatic.

So once having borne a child, a woman is granted womanhood forever. A man, on the other hand, since manhood is a cultural construct, has to confirm his manhood over and over for the rest of his life, in every situation, often aggressively, and is no longer a "real" man when he cannot do this.

That's a tough row to hoe.

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