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In Defense of Manliness

Last month, Harvard’s “Men Against Rape” invited Michael Kimmel, author of “Guyland,” to the campus to explore the “Perilous World Where Boys Become Men.”  

Kimmel’s focus was on the worst of the gender – disenchanted, predatory rapists.  But Harvard student Rachel L. Wagley (’11) takes Kimmel to task in her essay in the Harvard Crimson.

An optimistic male audience member asked Kimmel how we can re-inspire manly virtue and create noble men. Kimmel responded that there are no good distinctively manly qualities, rejecting the uniqueness of manhood in a room full of talented men.

Wagley disagrees, taking the position that there’s more to men … and to manliness.

Denigrating manhood harms society because when we assault manliness, we devalue men. Take a moment to admire Heinrich Harrer’s aggressive spirit of pursuit, Tom Sawyer’s territorialism, Nelson Mandela’s courage, and the stranger in the courtyard who held open the gate. Endless illustrations of manly nobility, honor, and courage abound on Harvard’s campus. To Harvard men: You are worthy of honor and respect.

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