Do Women Want Sensitive or Manly?

ByABC News via logo
March 22, 2006, 9:45 AM

March 22, 2006 — -- Ladies, if faced with the decision of picking between a Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca" -- the cool, independent, self-sufficient type -- or a Tom Hanks in "Sleepless in Seattle" -- the sensitive, supportive, thinking type -- who would you choose?

One Harvard professor argues that if you said Hanks, that's just because you have been brainwashed by feminism.

"Women may say they want a sensitive man but they don't always love one," said Harvey Mansfield, professor of political philosophy at Harvard and author of "Manliness." "They are sometimes much more attracted to a manly man. He may be more oblivious of their needs and their desires but impresses them more."

In his controversial book, Mansfield argues that manliness has been hijacked by feminism and advocates of gender-neutral society. He defines manliness as confidence in the face of risk, and says America is on the verge of a manliness crisis.

"Men are still free to be manly; but there's no justification for it, no welcome for it, no respect for it," Mansfield said. "We're losing the contribution manly men can make, and we're confusing women and men, who don't quite know what to do about manliness."

Mansfield suggests that women really want men who embrace their manliness, someone who can provide and care for the family, rather than a person who is more sensitive.

Whether or not they want macho, more modern women may be yearning for old-fashioned roles. In a recent survey of nearly 5,000 couples, the happiest wives said their men support them financially and emotionally ... a Humphrey Bogart who cuddles.