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By Peter N. Stearns

Be a Man!: men in glossy Society [Paperback]
Peter N. Stearns (Author)

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Since through this defect she is an imperfect animal, she always de­ ceives. We have already shown that they can take away the male organ . . those witches who in this way sometimes collect male organs in great numbers . . and put them in a bird's nest. "25 But Mary prOvided an image, increasingly revered, of purity incarnate, essential to the comfort and ennoblement of sinful man. This ambiguity in the woman's role has continued in modem times, and compounded the problem of defining what a proper man should be; for confirmation could not come from a secure contrast to an inferior world of women.

A master of men was the Goodly Fere. Christianity elevated the possibility of the gentle man : loving and wanting love, compassionate to the weak, touching. It praised men, T h e T r a d i t i o n o f M an h o o d 33 • in fact, who had many of the virtues more commonly assigned to women, which complicated the definition of both genders. It can be argued that the characteristics of the gentle man, the man who opens himself to his own and others' emotions, have been too difficult for most men in Western society to emulate.

T h e T r ad i t i o n of M a n h o o d 27 • Patriarchal conditions thus constitute the second great historical leg­ acy to men and gender, after the more boyishly appealing characteris­ tics of the hunting male. Hunting imagery might indeed be heightened and mythologized as an ingredient of essentially agricultural power arrangements; this is one reason that the important roles of women , in hunting societies were forgotten. For agricultural patriarchy sepa­ rated men and women in new ways, though clusterings of women in the households of extended families, with their own hierarchies extending from the wife of the dominant male, recalled some features of the female side of hunting and gathering clans, in reminding that women could still construct their own power spheres.

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