The Art of Manliness is a blog dedicated to “uncovering the lost art of being a man.” It’s one of my favorite blogs because through posts of how to grow a great mustache and why men ought to be more like Teddy Roosevelt it presents a philosophically consistent presentation of mature masculinity.
The Art of Manliness suggests that there is a crisis of manhood, that men need to return to a definition of manliness that is “rooted in a firm and immovable foundation.” The authors look back to Aristotle’s The Nicomachean Ethics, the greatest book ever written about virtue which comes, after all, from the Latin for man. The idea behind the blog is that, if men look hard enough at history, philosophy, and literature, they can recover the lost art of being a man.
It sounds like a noble goal. Men and women have both lost a grounded idea of what makes them unique and special as sexes. But if both masculinity and femininity are in crisis, why isn’t there an Art of Womanliness?
The problem is that there is no clear, written tradition we can recover. There is no Nicomachean Ethics for women. (Aristotle, by the way, thought women were women because of something they lack!) Most great women go down in history for overcoming their sex as great seductresses like Cleopatra or almost neutered figures like Queen Elizabeth I.
For many centuries longer than men, women couldn’t read or write. They had very little political power or means to influence history. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to recover the art of womanliness.
The knowledge of what it is to be a woman didn’t go down in history books or tomes of philosophy. It was passed from woman to woman in families and communities. Women taught each other to clothe and feed their families’ bodies. And they taught each other to clothe and feed their families’ souls.
I want to rediscover those things, that lost “art of womanliness.” I want to learn to do the things my grandmother could do, the secrets to a happy life that we just don’t remember anymore. And that’s what Experimental Wifery is all about. It’s a sometimes fun, sometimes serious quest to uncover what it is to be a woman. And a great one at that.
So, I want to open it up to you. If there is an “art of womanliness,” what sorts of things does it include? What sorts of things make you feel like a better woman? What would you love to learn to feel a little bit smarter, more sensitive, or skilled? Let us know in the comments.