Re: Why Ares is Unpopular

Edit – 31/08/2011: I will like to add that I am not happy with this post after reflecting upon what I wrote. Some things I wrote are quite harsh and I did overemphasise Ares’ masculinity and warlike characteristics. I should have also emphasised the importance of one’s strength of character rather than seem to focus on the physical. I also shouldn’t have associated weakness, both physical and mental, with the effeminate, this was totally harsh on my behalf and I now realise I was wrong to do so. I also feel like this post was structured badly; blame my bad English and tiredness for this utter mess of a post.

Ares Ludovisi

Kullervo touched on some things about why Ares is unpopular here, go read that first if you haven’t read it already. He brought up very good points that I whole heartedly agree with but I felt like making a post as a reply and to share my thoughts on why Ares is unpopular.

War is brutal; I don’t think anyone will say otherwise. War is what has advanced mankind, civilisation itself is built up on the blood and bones of soldiers; a fact which many may conveniently ignore. I am not going to sugarcoat Ares by saying that he is just the god of mental struggles, like some people seem to do. No, he is also the god of physical struggles, which inevitably leads to the shedding of blood and possibly death.

Ares was with us when we were uncivilised, when we fought against other tribes and wild animals for survival. Ares is still with us today, even though many may deride him for his nature. Ares is not only a god of war, he is also a god of masculinity, he is a ‘man’s man’ god. Masculinity too, as Kullervo said in his entry, is also something that is unpopular in modern western civilisation.

Masculinity in the modern western world is something that isn’t popular, even derided. No, men are meant to be wimpy metrosexuals if they want to be considered cultured.  To be a man is to have guts and to be ready to fight if anything you hold dear is in danger. An effeminate metrosexual is normally a doormat, the antithesis of what a real man is meant to be.

Now, I’m all for women being treated fairly and not like property, but I think it’s obvious that feminism killed chivalry. If a man offers to pay for dinner at a date, he is patronising; if he holds a door open for a woman, he is a chauvinistic pig. Feminism, while having a good cause at heart, has turned everything on its head. Ares can teach men how to be real men, but still teach them how to respect women. However, being a real man isn’t easy, it is hard. But since there is no pressure in being a real man anymore, men don’t have to strive to be a real man unless they have been raised correctly.

Ares is also a god who bestows courage. As someone who suffers from a debilitating anxiety disorder, Ares’ influence is like an anchor when it comes to dealing with it. Since focusing on him and his influence in the world, things have been easier to deal with. But the courage he bestows is also observable in war, even if you aren’t on the frontlines. Civilian life in Britain during World War II is a very good example of this. George VI had to battle with his anxieties about speaking in public, combat his stutter and his shyness to address his people in those dark times.

When the Blitz started, George VI and the Royal Family stayed in Britain, suffering the hardships of their people and working with them. George VI was a reluctant king, but a he was a true man and a good king; he was willing to live up to his duty to serve as monarch after his brother abdicated and in all honestly, I’m glad George VI was King during those times of trouble. Ares was not only with George VI; he was with the firefigthers, the Home Guard, the RAF and the ordinary people who endured bombing after bombing after bombing.

Athene was with Britain too, as were other gods, but I’ll just mention Athene for now. I have noticed people favour Athene over Ares, even to the point of not giving his Ares his due because ‘Athene can do it better’ in matters of warfare. Both gods are important in war and both gods tell you that you sometimes need to fight. However Athene seems to be looked upon more often as a goddess of wisdom and crafts, while Ares is just the bloody god of war.

So the question is, why have many people grown to strongly condemn war? Some may not even acknowledge that war is something that will always happen and may even be necessary. I personally think it’s because people are burnt out from the two World Wars. Because of this Fascism and Imperialism ended up becoming despised by many people, because they are seen as the root causes of these two terrible wars. Both Fascism and Imperialism are militaristic and masculine, so now militarism and masculinity has become undesirable.

I think a balance needs to be struck. Peace is desirable, but we also need to be realistic and realise that war may be necessary. War has shaped us to be what we are today and continues to define us; to deny this is to ignore a large part of what makes us human. There also needs to be a balance between masculinity and femininity.

Ares is certainly a god who is vastly misunderstood. Some people may believe that being a worshipper Ares means that you worship war. Worshipping Ares doesn’t mean you are worshipping war; you are acknowledging that war and conflict is a part of the human condition. Acknowledging Ares for what he is as a whole is a sign of maturity. Trying to sugarcoat Ares so he is just a god of mental conflict and spiritual warriors is to misunderstand the god for what he is.

We must never forget that he is the Lord of War, real physical war. He enjoys fighting, he is passionate, he makes humanity and civilisations strong. He can also be prayed to for peace, courage and the restraint of our passions and anger. I for one believe we need him more than ever before we decay further into a state of weakness.

Sure, you can ignore him all you like now; but I’m sure you would pray your heart out to him and Athene if you had an invader at your doorstep.

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36 Responses to Re: Why Ares is Unpopular

  1. Interesting. I admittedly have some fondness for Ares because whereas warfare is best to be avoided, Ares gives us the strength to do whatever we set ourselves to, even if it is difficult and may involve copious amounts of our own sweat and blood accomplish. I onced joked that Ares is the modern era could very well manifest as that sadistic aerobics coach who is more than happy to smack your hand if you reach for that brownie. Yet he fights beside us too, as a bringer of courage as well as a god that can likewise be petitioned for restraint. And I totally agree with him being a man’s man without being abusive to the female gender…considering that he is referenced as a father of the Amazons and his own respectful relationship with Aphrodite. There is much to appreciate about him even as there are things can be dreaded in matters of literal war. very thought provoking post!

    • Ophiokhos says:

      I onced joked that Ares is the modern era could very well manifest as that sadistic aerobics coach who is more than happy to smack your hand if you reach for that brownie.

      I find that quite fitting, although I wouldn’t say he does it because he’s a sadist. I imagine him wanting people to try and be their very best, this is only achieved with tough love. Saying that, I can actually imagine him saying ‘suck it up buttercup’ alot :P Personally, I think of him as the tough commander who is loved by his men; he is the commander who struggles with his men and endures their hardships with them, he pushes them to achieve their best and to fight and win or die trying.

      People would also do well to remember that all gods have terrible aspects, to just focus on Ares’ bad parts is rather unfair in my opinion.

    • Kullervo says:

      The fact that war is dreadful has nothing to do with whether Ares should be honored as the Lord of War. Lots of things are dreadful; that has nothing to do with their spiritual significance. In fact, the really dreadful things are among the most spiritually significant. But by failing to honor those things–and the gods of those things–because they don’t suit you, you are throwing your spiritual life into an unhealthy imbalance, you are worshipping gods that are that much less real, and honestly you are denying your humanity.

    • Kullervo says:

      Also, here’s the thing: Ares is not the god of physical fitness. We already have gods of physical fitness.

      I feel like this can not be stressed enough: we don’t just get to selectively edit the gods whenever they don’t suit us. Even if you’re a soft polytheist, dealing with the gods still means dealing with them to a certain extent on their terms. If you are not dealing with the gods on their terms, you are not actually dealing with the gods.

  2. I love the way you think, Amy.

    It is amazing how masculinity is indeed derided in the Western world; no wonder we have become soft and actually succumb to what is not healthy for our lands and cultures. I am one of those men who favors and respects women and I have the chivalrous disposition. In my experiences of being chivalrous women have had positive reactions and even expressions of surprise. So far there has not been a “chauvinist pig!” response, which is nice.

    This post reminds me of how I feel about the “Neopagan” crowd regarding their general outlook on masculinity, security, war, and nationalism. If one does not agree with militarism and ethnocentrism then one can forget about identifying as a Pagan; true Paganism involves lots of that stuff.

    Hail to Ares, Týr, and all the war Gods of Europe! May They revive our peoples of what they have shed off over the years.

    • Kullervo says:

      So say we all.

    • Ophiokhos says:

      In my experiences of being chivalrous women have had positive reactions and even expressions of surprise. So far there has not been a “chauvinist pig!” response, which is nice.

      I’m glad to hear that. I think many women do want men to be chivalrous but I have noticed a rising trend in women hating chivalry, normally women from my generation or younger. The leftist establishment tend to spout this nonsense about chivalry being chauvinistic, since they have the most sway in politics and media, this attitude eventually ends up rubbing off on people; especially the young and impressionable.

      This post reminds me of how I feel about the “Neopagan” crowd regarding their general outlook on masculinity, security, war, and nationalism. If one does not agree with militarism and ethnocentrism then one can forget about identifying as a Pagan; true Paganism involves lots of that stuff.

      Militarism and ethnocentrism even stayed with the monotheists, it’s a part of being human. While these kinds of Neopagans you mentioned may say they are not ashamed in being human, they sure are attacking a large part of what does make them human. I sometimes think that they say they are not ashamed of being human as an excuse to be promiscuous, when chastity was actually quite prized by many polytheistic cultures. Heh, your comment has given me a lot of ideas for a few posts, thanks.

      Hail to the gods of war! May they strengthen our backbones.

      • Militarism and ethnocentrism even stayed with the monotheists, it’s a part of being human.

        This is so true. Judaism is an ethnic Way of life that cherishes blood, land, culture, and language; and its outlook is Jewish as opposed to universalist. Islam, at first, was purely Arabic and this is even how one or more of the first two Caliphs thought of it. Conversions were at first not even accepted from foreigners. The statement that Judaism is for Jews does not seem to bother Modernists and Leftists, but the statement that Ásatrú is for Germanics is “racist,” “intolerant,” or whatever.

        chastity was actually quite prized by many polytheistic cultures.

        Indeed. With the ancient Germanic tribes if somebody was unfaithful to their spouse then there were public scornings and physical humiliation. The Neopagans, of course, would consider this “stupid” and a violation of some relative and arbitrary “human rights.” What they should understand is that being unfaithful to one’s spouse is incredibly wrong and not good at all.

        Heh, your comment has given me a lot of ideas for a few posts, thanks.

        Well, I am glad to have made some form of contribution. :)

      • Ophiokhos says:

        The statement that Judaism is for Jews does not seem to bother Modernists and Leftists, but the statement that Ásatrú is for Germanics is “racist,” “intolerant,” or whatever.

        It’s pretty obvious that Asatru is an ethnic religion, I don’t see how it’s racist or intolerant to state a simple fact such as that.

        The Neopagans, of course, would consider this “stupid” and a violation of some relative and arbitrary “human rights.” What they should understand is that being unfaithful to one’s spouse is incredibly wrong and not good at all.

        I can’t see how going behind a partner’s back is justifiable, it is a betrayal of trust, pure and simple.

      • Ruadhan says:

        @Ingi Almsteinn
        The statement that Judaism is for Jews does not seem to bother Modernists and Leftists, but the statement that Ásatrú is for Germanics is “racist,” “intolerant,” or whatever.

        Actually, if one wants to get technical with the etymology, any traditional polytheist religion is “ethnic” [link; also, the original meaning of “ethnicity” was a synonym for “paganism”]. But as to whether or not Judaism is “for the Jews”, well, firstly, while Jews do not actively proselytise, converts have more-or-less always been accepted, and even Jewish tradition and even genetic anthropologists holds that they began as an off-shoot of Canaanite culture. There is also the old question of Jewish identity, often asked of converts of “Who is a Jew?”, suggesting that anybody may be a Jew, but whether or not one is, is dependent on any number of things, which may or may not necessitate overlap. Karaite Judaism is especially liberal in accepting converts and basically accepts than anyone who accepts the god of Abraham as their god, and the Jewish people as their people, regardless of genetic ethnicity, and (if one is male) is circumcised, is therefore a fully-fledged Jew (this is derivative of a quirk of that sect which, unlike rabbinical Judaism, practises that it is the duty of each Jew to study the Tanakh themselves).

        So yes, Judaism is for Jews, but really no more than Christianity is for Christians and Hinduism is for Hindus — ergo, logically Asatru should be just as much for Germanic people, including (but ostensibly not limited to) the 500,000 German people of African or mixed-African ancestry (as a quick example).

  3. Kullervo says:

    While these kinds of Neopagans you mentioned may say they are not ashamed in being human, they sure are attacking a large part of what does make them human. I sometimes think that they say they are not ashamed of being human as an excuse to be promiscuous, when chastity was actually quite prized by many polytheistic cultures.

    So say we all.

  4. pthelms says:

    I get kind of squeemish when folks say, “Ares was with so and so, and with such and such”, especially when it’s the victor and/or a ‘noble’ cause, however you want to define that. I don’t think Ares really picks sides, at least not in a lasting manner. Sure, I’m sure he was with the Allies when they stormed Normandy, and with Alexander when he invaded Persia. But I’m sure he was also with Hitler when he blitzed Poland, and with the terrorists on 9/11. Ares delights in slaughter, and violence doesn’t choose any side but its own. Just my thoughts.

  5. Ruadhan says:

    Masculinity in the modern western world is something that isn’t popular, even derided. No, men are meant to be wimpy metrosexuals if they want to be considered cultured.
    You’re not an effeminate man, are you? As one, I can say right now, that characterisation is false. And it’s certainly debatable on whether the overculture is harder on effeminate het men or gay men.

    I mean, for starters, films like 300 are routinely box-office hits, and not for the “deep story” or “strong female characters” or “history”.

    • Ophiokhos says:

      I’ll admit it was a sweeping statement, I should have thought it through more. Apologies.

      • Ruadhan says:

        No worries. I just see that a lot, and usually from unemployed men scapegoating feminism and uni-educated men they perceive as “effete” (when in reality, said men are usually just of slight build) for their own sorry predicaments. And I gathered from the comments that you probably aren’t an angry, unemployed blue-collar man, and honestly, I really didn’t know what to think at that.

        The thing is, I doubt that the sweaty, stocky, blue-collar man has ever been an “ideal” in Western Society, which was always been pretty class-conscious. That said, there have been waves of women (and, ostensibly, gay men) preferring men with beefier figures or slighter ones that have been well-documented for the past century-and-a-half, at least, and it seems to alternate in 15-30 year cycles, and always with plenty of other examples of the “opposite” figure idealised by the rest of the population. Furthermore, “wimpy … doormat” men have never been an ideal — Rudolph Valentino, the 1920s “ideal” was of slight figure compared to, say, Steve Reeves of the 1950s (but who isn’t slight, compared to Reeves?), but he also boxed, and the characters he played in films were typically swarthy, aggressive heroes and anti-heroes, even aggressive lovers — but many men of the day threatened by Valentino’s sex appeal sought to deride him as a “powder puff”, even though there was no evidence that he was at all weak or soft. (The since-surfaced evidence that Valentino was likely gay is irrelevant as it was unknown to critics characterising him disparately.) In fact, his character-type of the “exotic” and aggressive lover was his selling-point, not any allusions that he was sensitive or meek.

        Then there’s what “metrosexual” actually means. It’s been characterised as “heterosexual men who act gay”, but that’s problematic, as it tends to imply only what the listener assumes “acting gay” signifies, and not necessarily anything about what the word was originally coined to mean, or what theose who self-identify with the term intend it to mean. As a gay man, even one who self-identifies as “effeminate”, I’m not at all fond of the implications that this makes me physically weak, an emotional doormat, or eagerly consuming any popular fad, no matter how stupid. In fact, recently the word metrosexual has been used interchangeably with (or substituted with) “retrosexual”, and describing an ideal of the mid-20th Century Upper Working/Lower Middle Class man: putting more effort into his appearance than his Blue Collar brother, but doubly aggressive in business dealings, and hardly one who could be easily characterised as “weak”, since ideally he’s physically fit, but even if not (as was typical of the Midtwentieth) would gladly put on airs of being so. This clearly does not at all fit your characterisation of “metrosexual”, so I can only assume that it’s a lack of understanding of the term.

      • Ophiokhos says:

        Yea, I do realise now that I used the wrong word due to my own ignorance. I should have really commented on personal character in a more effective manner, rather than using words that refer to outward appearance. I’m glad you commented because it made me realise that I was wrong, thanks Ruadhan.

      • Ruadhan says:

        Glad to be of service. :-) I was afraid I was getting a little “tl;dr” for a bit there.

      • Ophiokhos says:

        Haha I always read what everyone posts :P

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  8. Sarah Helena says:

    I wish to say that the ultimate Ares-boy in my life is a gay with a thousand times more worries about appearance than myself, very kind and tender. He trained kung-fu and other martial arts, and frequently fight with unknown people in the street to defend others. Last time someone called him faggot in a mall, he took the guy to the outside and beated him “just to make clear that the faggot spanked you”

    I’m a feminist. And I don’t bother about chivalry, since men don’t bother I will do the same for them.

  9. Violet says:

    It’s strange that Ares is so unpopular since in other religions, like Asatru, there are many gods connected to war and all of them are widely worshipped.

    • Ophiokhos says:

      Yea, it is quite odd.

    • Ruadhan says:

      It’s not really anything new, really. Ares was hardly all that popular in ancient Hellas; His cult was probably the smallest of the “big twelve” and the mythos put Him on the losing side of the Trojan War and His affair with Aphrodite is clearly less a love story than a morality tale.

      Aside from being ancient, there’s not a whole lot else to compare Hellensimos and Asatru.

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  11. Aj / Melia says:

    “Suck it up buttercup” had me laughing because I could SO hear Ares saying this. Though I disagree with Kullervo, my experience with Ares HAS been as a physical trainer/motivator. Maybe that’s why I can here the above line so well. Wonderful post.

    • Ruadhan says:

      While I can definitely see a “physical fitness” aspect to Ares, I think it would be specifically to martial arts and less to aerobics and such, but also because, like Kullervo, I see war and therefore concepts associated with and related to it, such as self-defence, to be automatically associated with Ares.

      Kinda like how I associate Apollon with stringed instruments and Pan with woodwinds; Herakles would have a domain of all physical fitness, but with especial interest in aerobics, weight-training, classical wrestling, etc…, Apollon would have a focus on cardio, fitness and diet for health, and Ares would have a focus in martial arts. It only makes sense, in my opinion. :-)

    • Ophiokhos says:

      Haha! Glad that amused you :P I can also see Ares as a physical motivator, although I wouldn’t say he has domain over physical fitness.

  12. Ruadhan says:

    …[snipped for length]…I also feel like this post was structured badly; blame my bad English and tiredness for this utter mess of a post.

    Eh, I don’t think it was totally bad. Better than some of my rough drafts, and I’ve written two novel. :-) That’s one thing I like about blogging; you can discuss with others, and think about it, and then write something better, later. Nothing on a blog is truly “permanent”, except perhaps showing a timeline of one’s personal evolution of thought.

    • Ophiokhos says:

      I’m quite tough on my writing skills since the schools I went to weren’t brilliant and I missed round about a year of important high school education because of health problems (I’ll also admit I made stupid choices as a teen too), part of the reason why I started a blog was to help improve my writing skills actually. But I agree, I also like that about blogging, this is why I’m not going to edit the original content of this post or delete it.

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