The Art of Womanhood

This is a blog I would love to write or contribute to.

Currently, there is a truly amazing website called the Art of Manliness. I love it because you can find information on many different topics that are incredibly valuable in the world today and yet are neglected or nearly forgotten. You can find everything from how to do an old school wet shave with a straight razor, to basic car repair, understanding tools and materials, how to light a fire without matches, how to dress sharply, how to write a letter, and all kinds of old things you wished you’d learned from your grandpa. AOM is a window to a more civilized world full of manly men who know how to be strong, capable, and independent, but also kind and loving.

I want to do that for women.

I want to help create a repository of information that modern women can use. Old skills, new skills, tool use, self defense, health, beauty, grace, independence, and family skills. I know all of these things are available elsewhere – and I’d probably start by linking to existing content – but I want to make a place for people who want to know about all of this and at the same time carry forward an aura of grace and dignity and strength into the new era.

How about an article on being a gracious hostess? Or how to really carry on a conversation? How to pick out stationary and when to use it? Or how to talk to a mechanic without looking like a fool? I basically want to collect these things together in a package that’s classy, well organized, and appealing to women. It could be a sister site to Art of Manliness. Maybe we could even ally together.

There are so many skills and arts that are being lost even as we speak. I want to preserve them! What if a young woman wants to learn to roast a turkey, say, but her mom isn’t there to give her all the tips and tricks? What if a young woman needs relationship advice but doesn’t have someone she trusts to talk to? Or doesn’t know how to sew on a button? Or needs to jump start her car?

“Art of Womanhood” would solve all that!

Intelligence versus physical strength

For a long time I’ve had this semi-conscious thought that if you are intelligent or sensitive you cannot be strong, and if you are very strong you will have less time for intellectual pursuits. An article I read recently turned that upside down and I started looking at why I thought that way.

For me at least, the idea came from popular culture – but it also came from a source that might be a little unusual, ant that is role playing games. It started with the popularity of Dungeons and Dragons. I have a lot of fun with that game and others like it, however some of the central ideas deserve some consideration. with D&D, if you are a Fighter of whatever type, you often have a very high Strength score for obvious reasons. But if you are a Wizard or other magic user, your Intelligence and sometimes Wisdom scores will be high but you take penalties on Strength. The idea is to preserve game balance by making no one character good at everything.

This is great for game balance but not good for life. In reality, developing your body can also develop your mind and give you focus and clarity. Developing your mind can give you the mental strength and fortitude to grow physically strong. Winston Churchill started out as a sickly, intelligent and sensitive boy, who resolved to become a strong and athletic man. Though he grew a little portly in later years, he succeeded. He became a sought after athlete and then a soldier.

Going back to my fantasy roots, one author really understood the balance between strength and intelligence. Barbara Hambly, in her Darwoth books, showed that to become a Wizard, a master of mighty magic, you needed to not only have a great thirst for knowledge, but you also needed to be very physically strong and hardy. Her Wizard, Ingold Inglorian, was very good with the sword as well as the staff even though he was also mentally brilliant.

After this consideration, I think I’m going to be more careful of false dichotomies. Rather than being mutually exclusive, intelligence and physical strength enhance one another.

Notes: D&D may have gotten me to think that strength and intelligence are mutually exclusive, that you cannot be strong and highly intelligent at the same time, because of their idea of game balance. Far better to think in a Darwothian way and realize that strength enhances intelligence by stimulating the mind, and vice versa.