I've been following a humourous Facebook thread today about ''what makes a man manly''. There was a bit of a list put up by the person who started the thread, which included stuff like beer and fishing and rock music. I added in mowing lawns and bathing regularly.
There have been one or two who have been offended by the comments - declaring them gender neutral or sexist.
I think in our heart of hearts most people have a fairly defined view of what a mans role and a womans role is in life, and where we fit. Personally I think this is probably a good thing - after all the world has survived rather well for the past 5000 years based on these general kind of values and suppositions.
But MANLY? What does this mean to you? Conversely, what is WOMANLY. Most people, I think would say that a manly man is the guy who does things that are masculine (as mentioned above), and the womanly woman is soft and curvy and feminine - not too much room for cross over there. Others would say that the manly man is the one who is comfortable carrying out tasks traditionally done by women (am I brave enough to say....hanging out the washing, changing nappies, child rearing), and yes I think it unlikely that one would describe a huntin'fishin' whisky drinking woman is ''womanly''.
Drilling down further we describe 'boyish'' as the guy who is young at heart, or in looks. And girlish tends to be overly feminine, giggly or childlike.
To me, womanly means being proud of my gender. Being glad to be feminine but also having some backbone. Not being too proud to ask for help with things I can't do myself. Allowing men to be men.
And, 'Manly'' means the guy who is comfortable in his own skin - whether thats gutting a fish or changing a nappie is irrelevant.