Josh Bowman talks about The Warrior: a classic archetype of masculinity. This is the tough guy, the stoic soldier, the fierce competitor. But it isn’t all of us.
Speak softly and carry a big stick.
Note: this is part of a larger series. Please read my introduction here if you would like some background. Also, this is the first part, and I want to be clear that I have nothing against “The Warrior” per se; but I do want to point out some of the problems with a societal reliance on one archetype of masculinity above all else. So this might read as more critical…apologies to you Warriors out there. Don’t kill me please.
The Warrior is the classic archetype of masculinity, and is often seen as the only ‘true’ form of masculinity. This is the tough guy, the stoic soldier, the fierce competitor. The Warrior gets angry, but never cries. The Warrior is Liam Neeson in Taken, John Shaft in Shaft, Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, Arnold Schwarzenegger in most of his movies. He is the natural predator…physically intimidating, quick to retort, and dangerous. At their worst, Warriors are bullies, gangsters, and ruthless thugs. At their best, Warriors are champions, freedom fighters, and natural leaders.
At the same time, The Warrior is enviable. He fights for his beliefs and stands up to bullies. He is competent and confident. The Warrior has a deep sexual magnetism, and a natural confidence with subjects of his sexual affection. I have always admired these traits, although I tend to avoid men who want to be Warriors (but aren’t), and will do anything to prove that they are. In some circles, this is called “Little Man Syndrome”, although I think it has less to do with physical size and more to do with feeling small. Sometimes it comes from being bullied at a young age and wanting to fight back. Unfortunately, it can lead to a lot of pent up rage and aggression, just looking for an inappropriate way out.
I’ve encountered a few men who I consider to be natural Warriors. They keep me on my toes. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but I always feel like I have my back up around them (at the same time, envying them). The Warrior is often established as the classic form of masculinity, and anything that diverges from The Warrior is seen as less manly. In normative terms, this might mean being gay, being sensitive, being emotional, disliking sports, disliking violence, being left-of-centre, wearing pink, preferring relationships to random sex, and falling in love (Warriors can of course do/be any of these things, no matter what the outside world thinks). Of course this rules out a lot of us, which means that there is something wrong with the traditional framing of The Warrior archetype and that we are putting undue expectations on ourselves as to how we ought to behave in society.
Positive Attributes: strong; not afraid to stand up and fight for beliefs; competitive; defends friends and family; driven; dedicated; successful with women/men; socially celebrated; successful in sports and business; decisive.
Negative Attributes: emotionally stunted; bullying behaviour; violent or angry inclinations; uncomfortable in peace-time; closed-minded or stubborn.
Energy: aggressive, excited, passionate, direct.
Famous Examples: GSP, Genghis Khan, Manny Pacquiao, Spartacus, John McAleese.
Example Professions: Soldier, professional athlete, martial artist, lawyer, construction foreman, oil rig diver, Shark puncher.
He is like this animal: Wolf, bear, tiger, wolverine.
For Further Reading Check out: