Seven Lessons in Manliness (and One Big One in Sexism)

The blog “Naval Leadership” ran a throwback piece, “7 Lessons in Manliness From the Greatest Generation.”

Who knew?

It begins:

“Every generation has its share of men who fully live the art of manliness. But there may never have been a generation when the ratio of honorable men to slackers was higher than the one born between 1914 and 1929. These were the men that grew up during the Great Depression. They’re the men who went off to fight in the Big One. And they’re the men who came home from that war and built the nations of the Western world into economic powerhouses. They knew the meaning of sacrifice, both in terms of material possessions and of real blood, sweat, and tears. They were humble men who never bragged about what they had done or been through. They were loyal, patriotic, and level-headed. They were our Greatest Generation.”

Manliness can be gender neutral and all inclusive (really), but not in the above entry. In fact exclusion and gender inequality seem embraced if you subscribe to these seven steps to manly heaven. You might disagree.

Though poignant, thoughtful, and well-written, we did not realize it was only the males of the so-called greatest generation that led the nation through the Depression, the Second World War, and beyond. The seven lessons in manliness include:

Lesson #1: Take Personal Responsibility for Your Life
Lesson #2: Be Frugal
Lesson #3: Be Humble
Lesson #4: Love Loyally
Lesson #5: Work Hard
Lesson #6: Embrace Challenge
Lesson #7: Don’t Make Life So Damn Complicated

You might come up with different lessons, as would we. Regardless, we wonder how these are unique to males of any generation. The entry as a whole brings to mind the gender stereotyping that dominated military culture for decades, destroying the lives and careers of the innocent and those who would not accept the sexually-charged, ego-fueled, gender-embattled struggle that had become routine.

We have learned depression and war know no gender; pain and suffering do not discriminate. Why Naval Leadership ignores these lessons remains unknown.

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