Sunday, June 17, 2018

For Fathers' Day, a Meditation on Masculinity

First of all, here's wishing a happy Fathers' Day to all of the dads out there. Have an excellent day and be excellent. Masculinity has been a hot topic in the news these days, with a 'crisis of masculinity' being cited for, among other things, a recent spate of mass shootings by men. The so-called Men's Rights Movement, while citing dubious statistics about how men have it worse than women, elide the fact that men are the cause of most men's problems... Murdered? Imprisoned? Sent to die in a war? Yeah, the responsible party or parties was probably another man. Also, for so-called rights advocates, these guys never seem to want to solve the men's problems that they complain about before they get down to their primary business, which is bashing women.

Toxic masculinity usually involves racism as well as sexism, and a lot of the rage felt by angry young men (the sort of 4chan/incel types who use 'cuck' as an insult) is inspired by racialized sexual fears, or sexualized racial fears- the apotheosis of this rage taking place three years ago to the day.

The 'crisis of masculinity' narrative has spawned its own snake-oil industry populated by grifters who, oddly enough, all seem to have the sort of high-pitched voices that don't exactly scream 'smoldering volcano of testosterone'. Most of them seem to have self-help books in which they, like Sgt Rock, promise to help their young marks win their own small battle of the sexes. My favorite moment in this cottage industry is lampooned by Sam Seder in this video:

They money quote is the one in which this boob finds a slippery slope between snowball fights being forbidden by schools (seems the dumbass hasn't heard of liability lawsuits) and the ravishment of your daughters by wild boys:

Increasingly, among my students, I see young men who don’t know how to be good men. My son wasn’t allowed to throw a snowball, for example, in elementary school. It was against the rules for him to even pick up snow off the ground. It is in that manner that decent boys are made to feel guilty about their masculine impulses. So, they withdraw, confused. The more aggressive, psychopathic boys? They simply don’t care. So they’ll be the ones fathering your grandchildren, in the future – if tomorrow’s woman can find a man to sleep with at all. That’ll keep the testosterone flowing

I am hearing it, the poetry of Mu
! Canadian loon actually believes that women want to be involved with men who abuse them, which makes me suspect that his contact with women tends to be limited. The problem with toxic masculinity isn't the masculinity, it's the toxicity.


Janut said...

Wow. J. Peterson doing his best Sheldon Leonard impersonation!

mikey said...

In many ways, there is gender-based anger all over the world. The Muslim world is a horrifically misogynist culture, and even soccer seems to bring out violent hateful instincts.

America is a violent culture, young in history and steeped in bloodshed. So you see these same kinds of human interactions, and complain about them. But there really isn't anything that can be done - these behaviors and hatreds, this gender-based hostility is rooted deep in so many human cultures and in many cases we only know about the violent outcomes because of teevee and the internet...

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Peterson is the worst!

I think that the misogyny is a backlash, which in the Western world will fail. Women are flexing their muscles politically, and I believe they will prevail in the US in November.

My closest Muslim friends are Moroccan, and they hate the Saudis with a passion. The Saudis have been exporting Wahabism throughout the Muslim world over the last fifty years, and they are driving a lot of the anti-woman policies in formerly moderate societies.

mikey said...

Ahh, but think that all the way through, Mr. Bastard.

There has been a backlash, and it's driving women to assert more power in our society. This is an unadulterated good.

But do NOT pretend, not for one moment, that this very shift in the gender/power structure in America won't drive an even more desperate, hateful and violent backlash.

Just as I think we can see the rise of 'out in the open' white supremacy in American politics and culture as a 'backlash' against an African American president for 8 years, every step forward, every gain made after decades or centuries of oppression, is going to drive angry, uneducated, violent and heavily armed white men into paroxysms of fear and hatred...

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I am not afraid that the backlash will get worse- it’s already open season in our schools. Any ramping up will force a stern response. Of corse, I live in True Blue New York. I imagine the hinterlands might get uglier.

Unknown said...

I love that last line, and will be quoting it, with proper attribution. You have a good way with words, Mr. BBBB.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Thanks, Robert, it means a lot to me.