Take No Prisoners

7 Ways to Reclaim Manliness in the Age of Feminism Run Amok

Loyal readers know that feminists irritate me. Not the right-to-vote, equal-pay-for-equal-work, cook-your-own-damn-dinner feminists – I like those. I’m talking about the breaking-down-gender-roles, anti-pornography, all-sex-is-rape radical feminist lunatics. This kind of ideology has fueled the ongoing feminization of culture to mixed effects. On the upside, men have gotten better at expressing their emotions, women have gotten closer to equal pay, and society has become more egalitarian and empathetic. On the downside, guys don’t know how to be guys anymore. Men have lost touch with many of the activities and traditions that helped them feel and express traditionally male virtues, including strength, toughness, stoicism and resilience. These have been replaced with destructive activities, such as binge drinking and one night stands, that fail to unite a man with his inner strength. With this as prelude, here are some ways you can reclaim a feeling of manliness

1) Learn to shave with a straight razor

Straight Razor

While shaving isn’t uniquely male, it is something most men do, and a close shave is something to be proud of. Both men and women will notice a truly close shave. Unfortunately, no two, three, four, five or 16 blade razor can do the job. These fisher-price razors yank and chop your facial hair. The only way to get a perfect shave is with a literally razor-sharp blade placed directly against the skin. Yes, while learning to use a straight razor you will cut yourself and get razor burn. But if anyone notices, you get to say, “oh, yeah, I’m learning to shave with a straight razor.” And when they reply, “why on earth would you do that?” you get to say, “because it’s manly!”

2) Play a team sport


Team sports like football, basketball and hockey are essentially popular war games. Yes, they’re good exercise, fun and improve sexual performance. But aside from that, they allow a man to exercise primitive battle instincts in a constructive environment. And you don’t have to be skilled to have a good time.

3) Cook over an open fire

Cooking on a fire

Ancient man cooked meat over an open fire, and there’s still something deeply satisfying about the sight, sound and smell of roasting meat. Sorry, veggie burgers don’t cut it.

4) Join a martial arts club


We all know guys who sit around drinking beer and watching MMA. This is not manly. Getting intoxicated and gaining weight while arguing about the finer points of movements you have never tried is false manliness. MMA isn’t even manly. When a real martial artist hits you, you go down. Often in pieces. To get in touch with your inner power, try a traditional martial art. The precise art is not as important as finding a teacher who inspires you and club where you can train safely.

5) Play paintball


Like team sports, paintball is just an elaborate, stylized outlet for your battle instincts. With a paintball gun you can live out all your John Wayne fantasies without actually killing anyone, or more likely, getting shot, shooting the wrong guy, or ending up in prison.

6) Go camping (not glamping)


Ancient man covered miles of wilderness hunting game, traveling between villages, or just getting some peace and quiet. Hiking and camping is an excellent way to reconnect with your ancestral heritage. Note: camping is not the same as glamping. When you drive to your campsite, set up on a pre-made platform, sit in the nearby hot tub for an hour, party all night, pass out drunk on the picnic table, wake up and hit Starbucks on the way home, that’s glamping. Camping is when you put your gear in a pack, hike to your campsite, cook half a mile away so as not to attract bears, and go to bed early because you’re exhausted from hiking all day with a heavy pack. Glamping is false manliness. Camping makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.

7) Watch a Manly Movie

Inglourious Basterds

And when all else fails, just have the boys over and watch a manly movie.

See also

Macho Men vs. Real Men: Top 15 Differences

Five Things that Make Gyms a Plague Upon Fitness


  • Alexander
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I dislike the implication that this is what it means to be a man.
    First of all, other than entry 1, there is nothing stopping any woman from enjoying all the activities listed (and unsurprisingly, I know several who do).
    Secondly, I question the definition of these as “manly”. As I’m reading your blog, I also have a knitting project on which I’m working: A wool hat for my grandmother. Is that un-manly? Why?

    I do enjoy this post, though, and I would love to hear if you have any recommendations for straight razors; I’m looking to learn to use one, but I’m not planning to shell out $200 if I can avoid it.

  • Kavan Wolfe
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    @Alexander, of course women can do this stuff too. This isn’t about excluding women. It’s not about women at all. It’s about giving men non-destructive ways to feel manly. These seven things do not define manliness. They’re just examples. So many guys seek this hard-to-define manly feeling by watching football or UFC while eating junk food and drinking cola, or having too much to drink at the pub after work. Practicing real martial arts or playing team sports gives the same feeling, minus the type-II diabetes and liver disease. There’s nothing wrong with knitting if it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, but what kind of comments do you imagine I would get if I ended the Reclaiming Manliness list with “Knit a hat?” Check this out for more thoughts on manliness: http://thewaronbullshit.com/2007/11/13/machomen/

    As far as I know, straight razors come in either cheap or good, not both. I have a Dovo and have been very pleased so far.

  • Jonathan
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    This isn’t reclaiming manliness, this is merely masturbatory chest thumping. The only seemingly valid points you made were #2, #4 and #5 – however all your commentary revolves around combat and battle, as though nurturing these destructive instincts were a good thing. These instincts have a place, but it isn’t in civilized society.

    #6 is the only one I really connect with in mind fashion, however I fail to see how manliness is associated with humping a pack 50 clicks into the backcountry – maybe i’ll ask some women who have done the same thing and see if they can answer this.

    #1, #3 and #7 have nothing to do with reclaiming manliness.

    And as for your other article you said had more thoughts on manliness, it’s trash – if anything it implicates you as a traitor in the so-called “War on Bullshit”.

    It sounds to me as though you are just a young’un who’s itching to be heard and thinking that creating controversy is a great way to do it – after all, no such thing as bad press, right? My reasons for thinking this, is that you don’t mention anything about being a good father to your child or children (which is relevant to speak about whether you have any or not), being respectful and disciplined, etc. etc.

    I does make me feel better knowing that your head is in the right place thinking about such things as these and that your brashness and youthful inexperience will disappear with time.

    Good hunting, Sir.

  • Kavan Wolfe
    Posted March 4, 2011 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    @Jonathan, first, it’s not about nurturing combative instincts, it’s about acknowledging the instincts that are already there and releasing them in a constructive, rather than destructive fashion. Second, whether something helps one feel manly has nothing to do with whether women can or do do it as well. Third, what’s this “young’un” bullshit? You have a point about being a good father – I never thought of it probably because I don’t have any children. I’ve never found that being respectful made me feel any connection to inner power, but if it works for you, go for it. As for discipline, did you miss the martial arts part? Before you go implying someone is immature and belittling their points, go look up “ad hominem” argument.

  • Posted March 10, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m pleased you replied. Thanks.

    I see your point about the release of destructive impulses in constructive fashion, which is better than releasing them in non-constructive fashion – I would be interested to hear about the constructive uses of destructive impulses from your point of view.

    I also agree with your second statement. Good for you.

    Your third ‘tirade’ of sorts interests me. First, ‘young’un’ isn’t bullshit unless one takes offence – which you clearly have. Second, ‘young’un’ is the term I chose because your site is obviously argumentative, bloatedly hypermasculinist and even mildly misogynistic – all of which smack of youth, and being an old fart myself see far too often. Go on. Tell me you’re not young.

    Lastly, I can see from your retort as well as this site that respect is not something you take to heart. And as for discipline, I did not miss the martial arts part, but perhaps you did. I too have been involved in martial arts and respect and discipline are intertwined. It is not merely a issue of physical or mental discipline when speaking about the art itself, but an application of the same principles in life. Japanese martial arts in particular were all-encompassing.

    Your points were apt for belittling because they are immature. If you were truly disciplined, you would not be so argumentative.

    Ad hominem indeed.

  • Kavan Wolfe
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    @Jonathan, most points agreed. As to argumentative, that’s why this is a blog and not an academic journal. Debunking the rubbish arguments that infest our political and social discourse is not undisciplined. As for hypermasculinist and mildly misogynistic, I’m not advocating stereotypically male traits, only analyzing them, and I challenge you to find a single misogynistic statement on my site that’s not in a satirical post (e.g., this one is full of misogynistic statements but the whole post is tongue-in-cheek: http://thewaronbullshit.com/2008/09/03/sex_life/)

  • Laura
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Hi Kavan, I read this as light hearted and almost entirely not antagonistic so thanks for sharing. I wanted to say that I agree that men should feel free to go camp outside, play football, do macho-ish stuff.. it’s sexy. I’m more attracted to a man who does some of these things than one who freaks out when life isn’t sterile and straight and predictable.
    But I have to say, men becoming like that or choosing that life is not womens fault. Women have always wanted a strong man, the problem was that men didn’t know where to draw the line. ‘I want to take care of you’ – great! ‘I want to take care of you because thats my role and your role is to stay home and clean stuff’- not so great. In fact very shit. Not because we don’t want to clean, but because we want to go to college/ run a business/ save the world. You know, meaningful stuff. Suppressing our potential, like suppressing your manly instincts, is depressing and aggravating. We’re no less human or full of passion/zeal than men and feminism is essentially about this, not anything sinister.

    Also, that statement ‘all sex is rape’ was never said by any feminist, it was a misinterpretation.

    Most importantly I have to say, someone has to be in a serious state of denial if they don’t think there are attachments to chauvinism and pornography. Come on. In porn women are essentially used as tools for men to masturbate with for the glory of the man. This is embarrassing to women. We like sex, we want sex, but we have bodies not just vaginas and you have hands and arms and skin and a mouth, please use them! If the men in these films were out to have a good time ALONG WITH the woman not just WITH the woman then it wouldn’t be chauvinistic. But the truth is, they couldn’t care less because it’s not about her pleasure it’s about his ego. There is something fundamentally naturally wrong with taking something that literally joins two people together but isolates them at the same time. Also, would you want to be used like that? No.

    It is possible for a woman to be successful in her own right, love a strong man, want sex and hate pornography. I think you would call this a whole person. A win for everyone!

  • Andy Hughes
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Johnathan is right, you’re obviously a dumb kid.

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