Various comments and statements:
I don't despise people on the basis of their beliefs, I despise how they use those beliefs as rationales or justifications for ugly behaviors, like war and genocide and honor killings.
In western culture at least, a sissy that da boyz go on about when they're trying to justify their reputations with each, is the wimpy mama boi who prefers refinement over brutishness, who doesn't enjoy rough housing, breaking the rules, and any other bad-mannered activity males use to demonstrate their desire for alpha dog status.
Of course, as as soon as we consider the warrior/poet ideal of the Samurai, where male aggression is channeled and ensconced into a model of highly refined and controlled lethality, even endorsing male to male love as a noble pursuit, then we see a whole different order of manners and civilized behavior appear and the idea of sissy relegated more to the idea of cowardice.
So I would say, no, manners are not just for sissies, but are for those who desire to literally (and not so literally) "lose their heads" or over a poor deference to protocol. Too, manners are the lubricant that in even western culture allows great numbers of people all trying to occupy the same elevator to interact without constantly irritating one another. Manners are a declaration of being considerate...that one is conscious and aware of the needs and circumstances of others with whom they are interacting. Key words: socially responsibile
Its interestingly ironic that we can change the letter arrangement of words to produce sword.
Words in themselves, sitting static, are not harmful, but the intent they convey can be. It is when words are mobilized, aimed at another (even if that "other" is the abstract "I" we use to talk to ourselves internally) that intent arises. The point of mobilizing words and generating intent is to establish a communication through which the intent can be conveyed.
Communication requires a kind of initmate contract between the sender and the receiver. The more intense the intimacy of the contract, the more the intent will convey meaning. That is why is it easier to hurt a lover who has a deep history of previous meanings stored up behind the words used to convey the intent, than by a stranger's words whose intimacy contract is more superficial and whose meaning of intentions is less certain.
However, people who sensitize themselves to intimacy contracts by practicing and internalizing word use as say poets do, making an art of it, so that they personally identify with nuances that each word can possibly convey, are at risk of being harmed to a greater degree by lovers or strangers.
Another aspect of possible harm caused by words is the switching of contractual allegiances to pre-defined meanings at either end of the communications link. An example would be when a "pet" term of endearment used between intimates is suddenly made negative by the manner in which it is said or received; "My little puff ball" turning from an intent to convey comforting "softness" to conveying "superficial air head" or "insignificant fatso". The responsibility or the shift in meaning can occur at either end of the link and precipitate a chain reaction of mis-communication that results in permanent damage to the contract.
Once that shift occurs, the intimacy contract is forever altered and the original intent becomes unrecoverable because of the new definitions applied to the formally established meanings . The rule that is borne out this sort of thing is that words cannot be taken back. They can be apologized for and apologies can be accepted, but there will always be a tacit recognition that the original term of endearment should not ever again be used, even if the slight is unintended. The "trust" has been broken, the words become meaningless and the only thing conveyed in either direction on the communication link is negative emotion.
This demonstrates the importance of being conscious to the highest degree we can about our use of words. I have often been guilty of causing unintended harm with my word use, especially when using humor. I tend to assume for a greater contractual intimacy with strangers than is probably warranted sometimes because of my natural tendency to be open in engaging others rather than paranoid and defensive. My first posture is one of positive trust and that can lead to misconceptions of my intent quite rapidly. This has already occurred in some degree with comments I've made on the iPower posts. Humor can easily be misconstrued as sarcasm, sarcasm in turn misconstrued as bitterness. Bitterness can be internally personalized by the listener or reader as invective when the original intent was not meant personally at all. So it goes.
Yet it is just such problems with communication that require us to create standards of civility with our word choices in a public arena that may constrain our verbal execution, causing us discomfort at having to self-censor and bite our lips. Overall then, is it essential to our own personal growth that we recognize the power of words to cause harm and forsake our desire to be verbally unfettered for the sake of the community?