Let me start off by saying that very little is factually known about ancient Egypt. There is a lot of speculation though, and some of it might be accurate. The following, like everything else, is based on that speculation.
Ancient Egypt is unique in that it appears to have been, at least for a great amount of time, a matriarchal civilization. This means that females held most of the power. It is speculated that ancient Egypt eventually switched to a patriarchal civilization which is what it is today.
As a general rule, matriarchal societies are different. They tend to adhere to and care for nature more. They have a greater ability to change and place more emphasis on the arts. These things reflect what the ancient Egyptians left as evidence of their culture.
THE ROLE OF MEN IN MATRIARCHAL EGYPT
Males in ancient Egypt weren’t subservient to women. Well, not any more than some of us are today, but they did share in the decision making and were not the primary land owners. They did manage the property of their women, but that’s all. Egyptian males worked mainly in agriculture. For the most part, the Egyptian empire was at peace. Their armies though were made up entirely of males, so combat duties were for the men. Ancient Egyptian men also did the physical things in society like building and maintenance of the infrastructure.
GENDER EQUALITY IN ANCIENT EGYPT
Even though some historians describe ancient Egypt as matriarchal, it’s notable to consider this as a culture with gender equality. There is the artwork of the era that depicts people of a neutral gender and people of a dual gender. It appears by some of the artwork that the gender lines were not as defined as they are, say, now.
Sexually, the gender role of a male appears to be the same as we have now. Sexual positions shown in the art of that time displays a normal degree of male physical dominance.
EGYPTIAN MEN BOUGHT MANSCAPING TO THE OTHER DAMN LEVEL OF THE GAME
In our modern civilization, it has been questionable as to whether men should trim and shave certain areas of their bodies. Although manscaping is now fairly common, some still question its manliness or consider it an act of metrosexuality. Egyptian men of long ago didn’t see it that way. They hated body hair. The men and women of that civilization would spend a portion of every day getting rid of all the hair on their bodies.
This is another thing that made the men of ancient Egypt less manly. In our culture, women have less hair on their bodies than men. Facial hair and chest hair can be considered manly. Leg shaving and armpit shaving can be considered feminine. Back then though, it was super common, so manliness and body hair probably didn’t have anything to do with each other.
DID THE MEN OF ANCIENT EGYPT WEAR MANLY CLOTHES?
When you go to a costume party, there may be a guy or two dressed as an ancient Egyptian. The costumes look manly enough but are they really? Since Egypt is hot as hell, the men wore clothing and footwear to reflect this. Usually, the clothes were single layered and loose fitting. They often wore a loincloth or shortened kilts and not much shirts. Some of the headwear looked cool but weren’t very manly as they would frame the face which is considered more feminine than masculine.
The clothes men wore then seemed pretty close to what the women wore. This further demonstrates gender equality which is fine but not manly. Since they all had not hair and wore about the same thing, guys had to go shirtless and hold something manly like a sword or staff to look male. Well, at least they didn’t wear heels.
SOOOO… WERE EGYPTIAN MEN MANLY?
When considering all things, it appears that ancient Egyptian men were not very manly. They weren’t feminine either though. Logic would dictate that they weren’t manly because they were part of a matriarchal civilization but that could be just part of it. Societies that don’t have greater gender differences tend to blend the characteristics of men and women.
The Viking culture was manly, and therefore, its females were less feminine. That’s not to say they weren’t attractive. Lagertha from the T.V. show “Vikings” is one of the hottest women characters in all of television history and she is pretty masculine. The men of ancient Egypt are probably the exact opposite. They leaned toward the feminine side due to their culture but were still men in every way.
CULTURES DICTATE THE LEVEL OF MANLINESS
As our American culture changes toward more gender equality, our level of manliness goes down. And so does our level of femininity. In the last fifty plus years, America has seen a constant increase in gender equality. As a result, men can now wear earrings and pink and openly cry. It’s ok because in the end, men are still men and women are still women. At least most of us, anyway.
The respect accorded to women in ancient Egypt is evident in almost every aspect of the civilization from the religious beliefs to social customs. The gods were both male and female, and each had their own equally important areas of expertise. Women could marry who they wanted and divorce those who no longer suited them, could hold what jobs they liked – within limits – and travel at their whim. The earliest creation myths of the culture all emphasize, to greater or lesser degrees, the value of the feminine principle.