Saturday, December 21, 2013

Courage And Charm

FLG will inartfully summarize this post by Emily Hale that she is concerned about genderizing courage as masculine.  FLG had two knee jerk reactions.

 First, testosterone is a male hormone and estrogen is a female one, but both men and women have each.   The question is the appropriate balance.  If we say moderation in all things, then it would mean a different balance between the two in men and women.  FLG thinks a similar approach applies with masculine versus feminine virtues.

But as Emily notes there is always the question of context :
Considering courage in the context of virtue, of course, means that Aristotle isn't referring to having courage in any situation, but rather having it in the appropriate amount in the appropriate situation.

For example, while physical bravery is typically associated with the masculine, a mother defending her offspring even against impossible odds is a cliche.

Second, FLG immediately thought of how this article lamenting the decline of male charm hits the same notes, but from the opposite starting point.
There is no getting around the basic womanliness of charm. One of the three most important virtues in a man, according to Christopher Hitchens—among the very few charming men I’ve known—is the ability to think like a woman. (The other two are courage, moral and physical, and a sense of the absurd.)

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