In the Japanese language, the first-person pronoun for oneself is gender-specific; girls would not use the male version under ordinary circumstances. However, there are girls who have recently adopted this practice and claim themselves to be “manly girls”.
The “manly girls” are broad-minded, strong and independent, as opposed to the more needy “softies”. They believe they are not the sort of girls who are always dependent and mind-swinging. But wait a minute, isn’t that tomboyish? You try calling these “manly girls” tomboys on the Internet, and I can guarantee you they would rip something off you.
Girls call themselves “manly” for just being able to change a lightbulb or deal with cockroaches these days. They might as well engrave the word “manly” on their foreheads for such trivial matters. Yet, when people actually see them as manly, they would not be happy, for that only triggers the imaginations of odd-looking actual tomboys or even worse, an actual man. Girls who are followed and courted by many love to let you know they are independent and not in the least bit petty. You might think they are discrediting themselves of calling themselves “manly”, but they are more than glad to admit it is in fact a praise.
These labels should only be made by others, not by oneself. For people to give themselves their own nickname or even labels, it often ends up inaccurate and odd, for instance the so-called Japanese culture experts or the relationship key opinion leaders.
Another example would be “naturally dorky (In Japanese: Tennen Boke)”. It may appear as cute sometimes, but it is still dumb in its nature. Their behaviours would steer slightly off the norm. For example, she would barge into an established conversation within a group without knowing it with random topics, or losing track of the conversation by not paying attention. These people may be dorky, but their positive nature still make them simple-minded and likeable. However, some girls would “cultivate” themselves to be as such these days. They would suddenly become incredibly stupid, or innocent in front of men, pretending to be “naturally dorky”. The “cultivated” ones and the “manly” ones are much similar. The truly independent or dorky ones would not take these labels lightly, yet only fakes and pretends would rush to put these labels on themselves.
Chinese scholar and writer Qian Zhongshu once said that there are only two motives for one to pretend to be something else, one is out of respect, the other is out for manipulation. The former is similar to the illiterate pretending to be educated while the latter is simply thugs dressing up as gentlemen. Con-artists would always be attracted to things of substantial value, be it movements of “patriotism” or “localism”; for there to be potential value, there will always be actors and pretenders. However, one must ask the question: what is there to gain for girls to pretend to be dumb or manly? Apparently men would think you are cute for being dumb. It is a bit more complex when it comes to “manliness”. Let’s assume the worst you can call girls these days is “green tea bitch” (girls who appear as pure but is in fact extremely calculated inside), then the relevant term for men should be cheap womanisers, or simply dogs. Forget about the fact that some people really are bitches and dogs. A girl can take a selfie, add on all sorts of effects to enhance or even create some godly curves, and caption the picture with a hashtag of #naturally manly, then isn’t it obvious that she is just acting manly but not trying to lure men when she’s going out. In turn, the men who are attracted wouldn’t have to see themselves as dogs, but just natural social interactions. Everyone can feel good about themselves. Everybody is a winner.
Benevolence and righteousness are only promoted when it ceases to exist in society, while filial piety is only respected when ethics are no longer upheld. With so many bitches nowadays, it is already a virtue and rarity for one to be considered normal. It should be natural and average to find girls being able to twist open bottles or move some small furniture every now and then, yet it is such a rarity these days. For some girls just to be a little bit stronger and more independent, it hardly reaches any relevant levels of “manliness”. There is no doubt that some would prefer stronger girls while some would choose the needy ones, or even the bitches, after all, the label of “manly girls” are not for us, but only for the dogs that are chasing after.
Original Text in Chinese 中文原文: