Gender and Virtue

Why men and women walk different paths of self-development


9/16/20233 min read

two oranges with faces drawn on them sitting next to each other
two oranges with faces drawn on them sitting next to each other

The Gendered Nature of Virtue: Why Men and Women Must Walk Different Paths to Self-Improvement

In the realm of self-improvement and personal development, one size does not fit all—especially when it comes to men and women. Today, we explore a topic often left untouched: the gendered nature of virtue and self-improvement.

Born Value vs. Created Value

The fundamental difference between men and women when it comes to virtue can be summarized in the concept of value—specifically, innate value versus created value. Women are born with an inherent worth linked to their roles as life-bearers and nurturers. Society, for better or worse, bestows upon them a value that is existential in nature. Their path to virtue often involves preserving and enhancing this inherent value through qualities like empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence.

Men, on the other hand, are traditionally expected to 'create' their value. The harsh truth is that a man's worth, in the eyes of society, is often tied to what he can provide, build, and defend. His virtue, therefore, comes from becoming capable, resourceful, and in many cases, mastering the potential for power, even the darker aspects of it.

Misplaced Ideals: The Consequence of Gender-Neutral Advice

One of the greatest disservices done to young men today is the imposition of a 'gender-neutral' philosophy of virtue and self-improvement. This has resulted in men adopting ideologies of virtue that are effective for women but emasculating and disempowering for them. It's like teaching a lion to graze like a gazelle; the result is a creature that's lost its essence, its soul, its natural role in the ecosystem of life.

Men: The Journey to Earn Virtue

For men, the journey to virtue is, in essence, a hero's journey. It involves trials, tribulations, and the mastery of one's darker instincts. Men have to earn their virtue by becoming capable of vice but choosing the path of integrity. This is not just philosophical musings but a lived reality. From boardrooms to battlefields, men have to make choices that define their moral fiber.

Take, for example, the virtue of courage. For men, courage often means confronting external challenges and taking risks—be it standing up to a bully, launching a business, or protecting their families. Their virtue is often their action in the face of adversity or danger.

Women: The Journey to Preserve Virtue

For women, the path to virtue often involves enhancing and preserving their innate qualities. A woman's courage, for instance, may manifest as emotional resilience, the strength to hold her family together in times of crisis, or even the courage to be vulnerable. It doesn't always have to be in direct confrontation with external adversity.

The Space for Individual Variability

Now, it's crucial to acknowledge that these are not prescriptive paths but general trends. Individual variations abound, and the fluidity of gender roles in modern society offers more space for individual interpretation of virtue. However, acknowledging these fundamental differences provides men and women the freedom to pursue virtue in a way that aligns with their intrinsic natures.

In Closing

Ignoring the gendered aspects of self-improvement can lead to frustration and existential angst. Understanding that men and women have different routes to virtue allows each to walk their path with integrity, purpose, and a clearer sense of what it means to be a good man or a good woman.

Whether you're a man striving to create value or a woman aiming to preserve and enhance your innate worth, the goal is the same: to live a life of virtue. But remember, the paths are different, and it's time we respect those differences to fully unlock our potential.

Join the community at White Wolf Fathers and delve deeper into this nuanced approach to male virtue and self-improvement. Because the world doesn't just need more men; it needs more virtuous men.