What is the opposite of a man?

Listening to how some males talk you might think that the opposite of being a “real” man is being a “woman”! However, such a view is another example of discriminatory thinking. How so?

In August 1588 the English thought that the Spanish were about to invade. Queen Elizabeth I was worried. She dressed herself in battle armour, leapt onto a horse and rode among her soldiers. She wanted to deliver a powerful speech to encourage them to fight for their beloved England as well as for her as their Queen. She had a problem though … she was not a man! Traditionally it was men, kings, who led their army into battle, not women! Elizabeth cleverly cut through this tradition by boldly declaring, “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a King of England too!” The men cheered, the Spanish never turned up and Elizabeth established herself as a warrior King… err … I mean Queen!

This macho man thinking, that strong = man and weak = woman, comes straight out of male dominated warrior culture. Queen Elizabeth I knew it and ducked around it with clever words. So when today’s macho men insult other men by calling them “women” or “girls”, they are really saying that at the opposite of being strong, being “manly”, is to be like a woman, but is such thinking accurate? No, it is not!

The opposite of a man is a boy, not a woman.

Being a “real” man is not demonstrated through participation in some supposedly tough, macho act like train surfing, which is actually more a demonstration of an inability to use good judgment. Being a “real” man involves leaving behind the thinking and behaviours that characterise a child.


Characteristics of a boy Characteristics of a mature man
Always centred on his own needs and wants Thoughtful about other people’s needs as well as his own
Let’s his emotions rule his behaviour Has his emotions under control
Always focused on having fun Cares for his responsibilities, keeps a balanced view of recreation</font

What do you think are the characteristics of a “real man”? Do the same characteristics apply to “real women”?

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “What is the opposite of a man?

  1. It’s true what you’ve written above. Being a man is commonly defined as being ‘brave’ or ‘macho’ or even older than a teenager. Being a ‘real man’ is simply being more mature or grown up, and if that is the case, then everything would apply to a ‘real woman’. A thing that should be mentioned here is that the terms above can be defined by two factors, one being the age (and nothing to do with sense of being) and the second is mentioned above. If that’s the case, then a ‘boy’ (teen or preteen) can be a ‘man’ because he is mature (of his age) and grown up. A ‘girl’ can also be a woman, if she is mature as well.

    And men aren’t the only ones that can be macho. There are plenty of memorable women in history who have made their mark, despite being discriminated against. The most famous example I can think of at the moment is Joan of Arc.

    Like

    • You raise and interesting point Lin. While age is a factor in being “mature” it is not the deciding factor. An older person, even a very much older person, does not automatically become mature just because they are older (although one would hope that this would be the case for most older people). Also, just as you say, a young person can be mature. In the end, the deciding factor is really more about how the person thinks and acts rather than how many years old they may be.

      Like

  2. Age holds no factor in how a man acts. Everything you’ve written above is 100% true. you could be 45 years old and still act like a boy, and even a 15 year old can act like a man, personally I think it depends on their personality and upbringing. Maturity also has a part to play.

    Like

  3. I think that being a real man shouldnt include having to be strong. Just because someone is a man/boy doesn’t mean that they can’t be weak, they are all just human characteristics. Some women are strong so does that make them a man? We are all human and men and women shouldnt be looked at differently.

    Like

  4. I think to be a real man, you had to of shown some sign of loyalty, not necessarily bravery or physical strength, i think being a real man has more to do with the mental side of things.

    Like

  5. i agree with the girls above, men should not be accused of whether there a real man or not, by the characteristics, if you are tough then you are tough if you are weaker than some then you are weaker. there is no true difinition to what a true men is or isnt, as everyone has their own opinion, but i say that being a man is more carried out by being loyal and knowing what is right and wrong, rather than your physical appearance and so on.

    Like

    • Good comment Teaghan. I like what you said about being loyal and knowing what is right and wrong are things that characterise a person as a man. Tasma expressed a similar view about loyalty.

      The loyalty that such a man (or woman) shows is to two things: 1) their friends and loved ones and 2) to their principles. A real man will not give in to peer pressure to do what he knows is not right. Real men and women are not afraid to say to others, “What you are asking me to do is not right and I will have no part of it!”

      Like

  6. The views which have been stated above I agree with a real man is someone who takes responsibility for his actions and situations, stands strong in what they are doing even if it leads to discrimination. A man is more than just the physical features; he has traits which are loving, caring, Integrity and isn’t afraid for you to see him cry. Just because they are born with the physical male anatomy and the ability to grow a beard does not mean that you are a man. A ‘real woman’ has to apply the above mentioned details to call herself a true ‘real woman’.

    Like

  7. I think that a real man is a person who might not be extremeley, physically strong, but mentally strong, and he is a person who stands up for what he believes no matter what anyone else says. This is the same for a women, not being afraid to stand up for what you belive in is a major characteristic for anyone, no matter if you are a man or women. A real man is also mature and responsible for all of his actions.

    Like

  8. The difference between being a real man and just a boy is different in a lot of circumstances. It all depends on the human themself, being strong does not just classify to being a man there are some women who are just as strong as some men and stronger than others. Being a man has to do with being honest and trustworthy not just strong. Characteristics make up us as a person man, women, boy, girl it doesn’t matter who but being judged because of having different characteristics is just plain silly.

    Like

  9. I agree with every point made above. Being a true man should be defined by your characteristics and maturity (although everyone is immature at times), it shouldn’t be based on strength. Labeling a man as a ‘woman’ because they don’t have the strength to lift weights or to run fast is cruel and it’s not the label they should have. You’re manhood should be determined by a mature personality, respectable characteristics and loyalty (as mentioned) because these are the things that real men gain as they grow older and wiser.

    Like

  10. I think that a real man is a person who takes responsibility for his actions and also show loyalty, being a real man doesn’t necessarily need to be physically strong/tough. I think it does apply for women aswell.

    Like

  11. The opposite of a man isn’t a woman but a boy as already stated. The ‘men’ calling other men women just shows how immature they are. It shows that they are not men themselves because they are labeling people based on them not being able to do masculine activities or have masculine traits such as beards or muscles. That not being very mature or thoughtful about other people which are traits a man needs. Being a man is to be a mature individual, be respectable and responsible for their actions.

    Like

  12. I believe that a real man is a person who respects other beliefs, and is not afraid to stand up for himself or others. To many other people the term ‘Man’ generally means a male with strong muscles and thick beards. A man does not act immaturely to any situation but knows when to have a laugh. Being able to have loyalty also contributes to what i think a ‘Man’ is. Its really not about fearless actions such as “train surfing”, which is just immature and stupid of them, but to have respect, loyalty, and is mentally thinking is what i believe a real man is.

    Like

  13. I agree with everyone above, the opposite of a man is a boy, not a women. The characteristics that man has determine whether he is a boy or a man. Being a man has nothing to does with age; it depends on who you are and what you do in life. A real man would take responsibility for his actions no matter what the consequences are. A boy would wouldn’t take responsibility for his actions and try and make excuses for his actions. A real man would look after people he loves and help them when needed. A boy would be selfish and only look after himself. A man would know the difference between rights and wrong, he would be open minded and open to all different sexuality’s, races, religion and genders. A man doesn’t have to be strong, muscly and big. A man is someone of any age who is a good role model for everyone.
    A while ago i read a novel called ‘Boys don’t cry’ it was about a boy graduating from high school going to college until his old girlfriend turns up holding his baby and dumps it on him. Abandoning his college course, Dante is forced to look after forced to look after his child. Throughout the novel he acts like a boy trying to get away from his responsibilities, until the end he acts like a real man. Taking responsibility of his baby he determines the definition of a real man and a boy. Dante states a man is someone who doesn’t back away from there responsibility and a man is someone who isn’t afraid to cry. I think this novel was really good and meaningful and defiantly determines the difference between a man and a boy. Boys don’t cry, but real men do.

    Like

  14. A real man is someone that is mentally strong, emotionally stable and also someone able to stand up for themselves. A man can take on responsibilities and be trusted to do the right thing because he is responsible.Technically the opposite of a man is a women because they have different body parts and are the opposite sex. At the same time there are big differences between boys and men that would make them opposites. Boys are immature and have fun all the time where as a man is responsible and more serious.

    Like

  15. A real man is someone who has a strong mindset and is willing to stand up for his beliefs and fight for what he thinks is right. A real man should also take responsibility for his actions and be willing to take other roles required for him. He should also have respect for women and not hit them as that I think represents a delusional coward. The opposite of a man isn’t a boy or a women but a mixture of both so to call anyone a boy or a women as an insult would represent someone not thinking about what they’re saying and the consequences that could rise from it.

    Like

  16. A man can mean many things. It really is more of an opinion than a real thing. In this case a man is not a male, but someone who has a strong mindset and can do things not because he is strong but because he/her puts their mind to it. I definetly think that a boy is the sure oppisite of a man because the thoughts of a Man is not there.

    Like

  17. A man can mean many different things. It really is more of an mindset than a real thing. it is the different levels of maturity that defines a man. In this case a man is not a male, but someone who has a strong mindset and can do things not because he is strong but because he/her puts their mind to it. I definetly think that a boy is the sure oppisite of a man because the thoughts of a Man is not there.

    Like

    • I think you have identified exactly what being a man is about Ayrton. It is not about being male nor about your age; it is all about your character. How you think and how you behave is what determines whether you are a man or a boy- an adult or a child. The same can be said of a woman. Is she a woman or a child, a girl? It just depends upon how she thinks and acts. Image source Notes on parenting (Creative Commons License -BY-NC-ND)

      Like

  18. I agree with everyone above, the opposite of a man is a boy, not a women. To many other people the term ‘Man’ generally refers to a brave or macho , but this is not true, a man can mean many different things. It really depends more on that persons mindset and level of maturity aswell as their actions and choices that trully define them.This type of male supremacist thinking was established long ago to influence younger males into submission and demeiner women.So how can we call ourselves a modern society built on the promise of freedom of descrimination from others if people still continue to support this.

    Like

  19. I think that there are all types of men/boys, there are strong ones, weak ones, arty type, and sporty type. There are lots of different men in the world just like there are women, so just because a man/boy is weak does not mean that they are a girl, because there are also strong women. So we are all basically classified the same because there all types of girls and boys, so i would just find that mean or teasing and calling someone a name just because they are not equally talented as you, but you never know, they might be more talented then you in another area. And I am pretty sure that they wouldn’t call you a girl just because you are not equally talented as them.

    Like

  20. I think a real man is not shown by strength because there are alot of women stronger then men. i think a real man is is shown by their personality and loyalty not because of their physical strength, if it was that then alot of women should be know as man.

    Like

  21. Really the difference between men and women quite simple and obvious: the gender and anatomy of it. Applying qualities such as muscle, brawn and power to any one gender is in itself a stereotype. This is a disservice to both the unmasculine men out there, and women. It really is best to leave the syntax as an unchangeable definition stating men are men due to the physical anatomy they possess, and women are women due to the physical anatomy they possess.
    All the stigma of men being muscly and women being weak comes from primitive Neanderthal based ways of living, when the men hunted and the women gathered. Surely we have evolved our society past that. In this modern age, there needs to be a quick change in the way we view men and women as a whole

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s