Monday, 5 October 2015



This advert got me confused. What exactly is man-ality? And what does it have to do with consulting?

Urban Dictionary defines ‘manality’ as ‘the ability of being a man’, which poses more questions than it answers. How is one ‘able’ to ‘be a man’? And what does it mean to ‘be a man’ to begin with?

Man’ is defined as ‘[a]n adult human male’ by the Oxford Dictionaries’ online platform. Presumably, to ‘be a man’ means that one is an ‘adult human male’, and so ‘the ability of being a man’ means that one is able to be ‘male’. But how is someone ‘able’ to be ‘male’ when ‘maleness’ is (for most) biologically determined?

But maybe it’s culture rather than biology which is referenced by ‘man-ality’. For example, the phrase ‘be man enough’ is associated with ‘[b]e brave enough’, and this cultural link between ‘male’ and ‘brave’ seems to have positive connotations. However, many boys and men equally consider the phrase ‘be a man’, ‘stupid’, ‘overrated’, ‘sexist’, ‘derogatory’, which complicates any positive associations.

Additionally, as #consulting with personality indicates, the advert might not have been intended to evoke ‘man-ality’ to begin with. A ‘person’, ‘[a] human being regarded as an individual’, and ‘personality’, ‘[t]he combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character’, encompass all of humanity, and not just the biologically and/or culturally ‘male’.

However, representing human beings, and their wide range of personalities, is no easy feat. And as society is built on the premise of male-as-norm, ‘man’ often remains the go-to sign for all human beings. Still, one could have expected a little more from a consulting group promising ‘unconstrained thinking’ and #innovation.

But we all get a bit stuck in our ways every now and then – so to help them along with their blue-sky thinking, I created a few alternatives…

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