A praise to virility
Recently I read an article that made me reflect on the concept of masculinity, misogyny and virility, particularly the latter. (When Men Wanted to Be Virile, by Joshua Rothman) It made me think of the idea of virility as a masculine ideal, and how perhaps we are lacking in figures like such today, adapted to our times. I lay forward my argument for your thoughts and reflections.
Virility is measured not solely by the strength or wit of a man, but in its measure. In all of us rest an immeasurable potential of capacities, awaiting their exercise and idyllic built to its natural boundaries. What sets the bar for virility seems not to be nature’s determined capacities, but the adequate use of them.
In ancient Rome there was no use in a sharpened sword resting untouched, in Industrial England in a wrist watch that didn’t tic; there’s a limited beauty in rhetoric, muscles strengthened but hardly employed. Virility seems to look at measure as the pursuit of meaning for men, but at a time where boundaries are torn or strengthened every second and where exuberance is sold as success (or worse, as happiness), measure loses its power and virility becomes vane.
Like elegance, virility has lost its value under a storm of misunderstanding, prejudice and vanity. A man in a sharp suit can be anything but elegant, as a handsome and strong man can seem not virile at all without measure, without the pursuit of meaning.
I beg you fellow gentlemen, fellow men, let’s find meaning in our use, let’s share the appeal of our measure.
In ancient times virile men were to protect, build and defend their community, thus the need for the martial side of masculinity. Today our definition of community varies between an extreme individualism, a global community, and our traditional education. I say let’s be generous, let’s be smart, let us see the world as our home and humanity as our community. Let us pursue virility in the protection, development and defense of our kin and of our world. Always through measure.