Monday, October 09, 2006

Also:

...from that same feministe thread, this musing:

[quote from Dawn Eden site]:

This male chauvanist pig will jump to the defense of any woman who is in trouble. If I come across someone attempting to rape a woman, I will immediately try and help her, putting my safety and possibly my life on the line.

However, if a woman wants to act like a man, I will treat her like a man


[quote from feministe commenting on the above]:


So, if he comes across a man being assaulted, he’s going to ignore it? That’s what treating someone like a man means?


***

and i said:

Well, yah, exactly. Sort of doesn’t make being a man sound too terribly attractive, does it?

I wonder how many of these macho macho men are the same ones that secretly dream of being “taken in hand” themselves. Panties, submission, cruel wonderfully cruel women and themselves eventually made to be on the other end of the “real men’s” ambiguously “chivalric” behavior. Watch “the Bodyguard” over and over, you know, try convince themselves that no they really only want to BE Kevin Costner, really.

and then of course in the harsh light of day go (at least verbally) beat the crap out of a “faggot” or “girlie man” or “emasculating woman.”

I mean: women don’t have to worry about anything, right? Just sit back and look pretty and let the man do it all, right? Don’t worry your pretty little head, lie back and enjoy it.

Yah, it’s fucking enraging to be forced into that role, you betcha, when it’s not what YOU want.

But consider: the proponents of this scenario? Especially the male ones? Especially the ones who whine a whole bunch about how tough they have it and women are really in control and especially talk a bunch of strange longing-laced contempt about “princesses” and so on?

Maybe it’s just me, cause admittedly i am totally bent, but i do wonder what goes on deep down in there really, sometimes…

16 comments:

Mandos said...

Ekchually, I have long thought that the crisis really is "What's the point of being male?" And the anger is that while masculinity might suck, it gives an answer to the question, and when women tread on it, well, it restarts the crisis.

belledame222 said...

Not sure I'm parsing that, but i think i maybe get what you mean: is it something: that the benefits of (compulsory, "traditional") masculinity actually act as a kind of consolation prize for all the ways in which it does, in fact, suck.

(which is not, you understand, to say that that may not be even -more- true of traditional femininity; just, this, too)

and maybe by the time yer average male has reached adulthood, this stuff is so thoroughly ingrained, through both punishment and reward (and a LOT of punishment, actually, there is for stepping outside that box), that he's not prepared to see the suckitude -as- sucktiude, except dimly, or blamed on something else--and then too, of course, a goodly chunk of traditional masculinity -is- learning to have what's called in psych an "external locus of control;" that is, introspection's unlikely, 'cause of the whole taboo on feelings shit; which means that owning their shit, men, becomes even -less- likely.

and then the benefits, such as they are, tend to revolve around being one-up on the women; having the women meet various needs; and all the rest we know from feminism 101.

so, yeah: you get a woman start to voice some of what, finally HER -problem- is, and naturally then menz explode: fuck!!! if THAT gets taken away from me--and they may not even be able to actually articulate what "that" is; it seems to be in the same category as the "special rights" (remember those?) that gay people will supposedly get if granted, like, ability to get married, or not get fired simply for being gay, or whatnot.

but the posit is: under all the rationalizations and bluster and "logic," what's really under all that is, of course,

"WHAT ABOUT ME?! WHAT ABOUT MEEEE?? Hey, I'm fucking MISERABLE here, but at least -I did what I was supposed to,- and now you're threatening to yank the rug out from under my feet? HELL no."

...and therefore the answer has to lie in something like, but look what you're missing out on by staying this way!

And you know, fuck knows i totally get why a lot of women simply DO NOT want to hear this, because they automatically flash to,

"UH-uh. I spent my WHOLE DAMN LIFE catering to the menz, worrying about THEM; when has it ever been MY turn?? NO"

(which is probably true; such is the nature of institutionalized yadda).

And, there is nothing in this, although i realize that this is how a lot of women (probably including Amanda) that says, "be nicer to men! be gentle with their delicate feelings! Put your own stuff on hold and attend to the men (again)!"

Fuck no.

Just a subtle shift, i think, for the women:

-Don't make it about the men at all.-

This is what -I- need. This is what -I- want. (or, "we," if one is more collectively inclined; you and your sister-friends, whatnot). Step aside. This is not a request. This is just how it's going to be.

...which is also a threat, but i think in a way, better for everyone, in that the...entanglement...maybe, can loosen, a bit. Some feminists already do this of course. I think it's especially fraught for straight women; and particularly for straight women who, well, are still working out a lot of this shit. Which is probably pretty much everyone, let's face it, that last bit.

But so WATM, yeah. Well as I see it;

- more consciousness raising of your/their own, i think; which obviously i or anyone can't do -for- anyone. But there hasn't been, i think it's fair to say, a -real- mens' movement; the ones that moniker themselves that are, like "White Power," pretty much, mostly about reconsolidating supremacy in the old patterns. Which, well, won't do. I do however think it's important to recognize that -part- of the reason men join things like Promise Keepers or the MRA movement is to find those things that they probably really -do- need, and can't get anywhere else: solidarity, a place to vent with other men, a place to talk about hurts (in their own macho little ways), "bonding," even. It's just a pity that it seems to inevitably come all bound up with all the old toxic hateful misogynistic crap.

and of course, some of the MRA's and some of the loopier of the radical feminist contingent are like I don't know matter and anti-matter or something. it's very strange to watch. sometimes i look in on one of those, you know, at The Countess taking on stand Your Ground or something, and it's like watching some kind of X-treme Dating Reality show (you know, the kind where the goal is clearly to get them to hate each other as much as possible?) crossed with, I don't know, John Grey in Hell.

then again, i guess everyone has a version of that: the big leftie blogs taking on the big rightie blogs. Pandagon & Punkass v. Goldstein and Eden. alla that. fun for the whole family!

um. where was I? ..fuck.

o yeah, so:

so in my observation, in my opinion, etc. etc., it seems to me that if it's ever gonna get anywhere, any sort of actual mens' movement--I know like Hugo and some groups like Real Men Are Not are interested in this--but, it's gonna have to really seriously incorporate gay men somehow.

Yeah. Because the whole -fear of the feminine- thing, i think, it gets projected onto women--and we see how this plays out in feminism of course--but it also gets projected onto other men. Specifically, gay men get to be "it..." and yet i think talking might find a lot of common ground. They've got their own stuff about "masculinity" as well, with of course extra shit from institutionalized homophobia.

And straight men, goddamit, i gotta say: -really- it's a big huge deal, yeah, even enlightened metrosexual guys. really thoroughly ingrained. Related to, but separate from, actual misogyny; in some ways i think even -more- pervasive because it's actually closer to home. At least the defensive, fear-of-a-fem planet man pretty much usually knows he isn't -actually- a woman; but, say, hey, anyone can "turn" gay! effectively, even if that's not the current common wisdom (wrt "born that way" and so on); the -social- truth of course is that we're all or many of us at least capable of being quite erotic in a number of contexts outside the "acceptable" boundaries. And, still, by many many standards, internalized and externally reinforced: once you're "tainted" with the homo cooties, men, that is, especially: that's it. so: something to constantly be on guard against, that.

so, that's one thought.

another is related to the whole shame thing, which is of course my whole ongoing theme as you probably know by now, but i'm tired, and this is actually a post, so, stopping.

Mandos said...

So I'm a bit of an essentialist on this point. Even (horrors!) a biological essentialist. I'm really bringing up Juju theory as constructed by me and Dr. Socks and a few others on RL. It's true that masculinity is constructed in a certain way. But the question is, why is masculinity constructed at all, and why do most cultures hold on fairly fiercely to a concept of masculinity?

You say,

but the posit is: under all the rationalizations and bluster and "logic," what's really under all that is, of course,

"WHAT ABOUT ME?! WHAT ABOUT MEEEE?? Hey, I'm fucking MISERABLE here, but at least -I did what I was supposed to,- and now you're threatening to yank the rug out from under my feet? HELL no."

...and therefore the answer has to lie in something like, but look what you're missing out on by staying this way!


So I think that this is partly right. But for me the question is why is there a rug in the first place? I'm not saying that a particular masculinity is "biologically based"---what I'm saying is what I said before: birth matters.

Not every women is going to be able to give birth or will choose to. But the category of women is the one primarily defined by the larger number of its members who can and will. (The remainder according to some socially-influenced similarity/clustering function.)

All you need for a Compleat Society is a couple of males thereafter, really.

So the "rug", so to speak, is a response to the existential crisis that is recapitulated every time it's challenged: "what's the point of being male? I know! It's to do some kind of male-only magic!"

And from there, "I know! This magic lets me RULE THE WORLD."

Mandos said...

Oh and those males who do not RULE THE WORLD threaten the magic and get cast into the Otherworld. This is a terrible fate. Gotta stay on the rug!

ballgame said...

I just stumbled onto your blog and thought your recent comments about masculinity were extremely insightful.

I get frustrated with the whole concept of identifying/organizing around genitalia-based teams. It seems that inevitable in-group/out-group dynamics reinforce certain scapegoating (or at least 'willful ignorance reinforcing') tendencies, and you end up with phenomena like the otherwise extraordinarily intelligent Amanda saying in effect, that men are spoiled.

Bringing up evidence to the contrary generally prompts precisely the responses you note.

Still looking for a genuinely progressive and enlightened gender blog that doesn't subscribe to these team ideologies.

And god, please no 'men's movement' led by Hugo, whose empathy for men is about as sincere — or perhaps I should say, about as genuinely helpful — as George Bush's empathy for the working class.

mandos: I haven't read you before, so I may be misreading you, but your comments here seem to be a sneering dismissal of people who quite legitimately desire (and indeed, are entitled to) a place of belonging in society. I can't quite tell if you are trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to ridicule the 'biological essentialism' that's buried under the surface of patriarchal ideology, or placing your own affinity for 'biological essentialism' rather chillingly on display.

belledame222 said...

o right, the womb envy thing. well perhaps. but i wouldn't frame it like...

well let me put it this way.

i actually don't even think the birth itself is the bottom line, in that instance;

it's the act of creation.

Which is power, yes, which is i suspect what you were getting at; but i think mebbe i tend to mentally give that slightly different connotations than some other folks might. Maybe.

Which, yeah, is actually really key; i do think that a lot of what's been called oppression, chronic assholery...evil, what you will, is in fact the creative urge, imploded.

iow: it's power, yes, but it's not necessarily power-over.

which is where i think this line of thinking gets stuck, sometimes: well, shit, how do we get out of it, then?

and to me the answer is: by reimagining what we mean by "power" and by "creation."

so, yeah, blood magic, fertility magic;

...magic. sure. old, superstitious stuff we ought to've evolved away from but haven't quite managed yet, right? something along those lines? maybe? i've heard that elsewhere, anyway.

well, see, and the way -I- look at it is: maybe in fact we've been looking at it the wrong way; maybe we need -more- magic, more consciously realized, not less.

It's evolution, yah, but it isn't only -material- evolution; and it isn't always a linear journey either.

What we need now, i think, is -synthesis.-

That's a bit cryptic sounding, perhaps, i realize. Let's put it in these terms: when it comes to magic and ritual talk, I'm way more about Jung than Freud. I don't think it all boils down to the sex theory, iow. I think the birth, the sex, the material -itself- is symbolic of something realer, actually.

Which, among other things, means i am -not- an essentialist, not in that way at least; i believe in fact literally anything is possible. (sometimes). just some things are one serious fuck a lot more -likely- than others.

belledame222 said...

...slip. hi, welcome ballgame, and thanks. don't mind mandos; he's the resident polite provocateur & voyeur. I happen to disagree with him here, as i just wrote, and i think you're quite right, and funnily enough some of us were just talking about that very thing, and how maybe we needed to start a new carnival or something of that sort, queer feminism(s), queer readings of sexuality, something. downthread in the post with like 90+ comments, can't even remember what i called it. but anyway: i don't take what mandos said personally, altho' i get why 'essentialism' might push some peoples' personal buttons more than mine, sure. Generally i informally but seriously do keep this a "safe space" more or less, or try to (i have my own definitions). bottom line: mandos, meet ballgame; ballgame, meet mandos. Welcome, ballgame. There's an introductions thread over in the sidebar, by the way, if you'd like.

belledame222 said...

>like the otherwise extraordinarily intelligent Amanda

oh. now is not a good time, really. just: don't even get me started. (it'll get mandos all excited for one, and i just mopped in here).

belledame222 said...

and o yah, wasn't at all suggesting that Hugo's idea of a men's movement is what i personally would be interested, bless his little cotton socks; just, acknowledging that that's been an interest of his, and that he does do it in a way that's distinct from the MRA's, much as he tries to bridge the gap between them and the feminists on his blog, which is, well, i go back and forth about my reactions to how that one's working out. these days it pretty much mostly involves lots of popcorn, but, as my grandmother says, wrt Hugo, "he tries" (deep, mournful sigh)

belledame222 said...

(not to suggest my granny meant Hugo specifically, y'understand; my granny does not know Hugo from a gloryhole in the wall, and that's as it ought to be).

Mandos said...

So people shouldn't take my essentialisms personally or too seriously. I will never make a statement like "Biology dictates that all A will have socially relevant characteristic B." Well, in a couple of cases, I will, but those aren't relevant here.

But I do think that at certain levels, biology can't be totally avoided when we discuss how certain categories themselves came to be. There's a birth-giving category and a spooge-giving category. There are many many people who don't quite fit either very well, I'm sure. But the very fact that we, at some very early point in time, decided to create these poles, at least, and organize people along these poles, is not totally accidental, I don't think. Whether it has to *be* that way always either is another matter...but it's not an accident that it *was* that way.

So, birth, creation, magic. Yes, I do think that it's the act of creation, but for a primitive society, there's no greater/profounder/necessarier act of creation than birth, and for an advanced society, birth is the fundament and fallback and is included in all our technocratic calculations about fertility rates and the economy and environment. Obviously, I'd say it's jealousy not of birth itself, but of the creative magic incorporated in birth.

One of the things VS mentioned when I was discussing this with her is how ubiquitous it was in many cultures for males to, as you say, create *more* magic to counterbalance that creative magic of birth that the perhaps ill-defined class of females had. I mean, everything from Catholic priests and their Magic Transubstantiation Power to the magical flute that only men can play or something.

A key component of this magic, you see, is that *women aren't allowed it*. Because, well, womb-envy. I mean, if women got it, there'd be no point. VS mentioned a society which believed that the world would end if a woman played the Magic Male Flute...

This is not to say that ballgame's identity is necessarily frozen by this kind of essentialism. Of course not. But I can't strip away this essentialism much further, because the importance of birth and creation is too compelling.

emily said...

>>>-Don't make it about the men at all.-

This is what -I- need. This is what -I- want. (or, "we," if one is more collectively inclined; you and your sister-friends, whatnot). Step aside. This is not a request. This is just how it's going to be.

You know, when we were talking yesterday about the political lesbeans and that, I was thinking that their particular foregrounding of heterosexual masculinity re-inforces its privileged position even as it critiques it. Whereas I, like a lot of the queers I know, in general don't actually really give much of a shit about straight men or indeed heterosexuality. Yeah, we deal with their homophobia, and transphobia, and all the rest, but as a group they're not really very interesting.

I get the feeling sometimes het masculinity is a fixation of some feminists precisely *because* it's what been disavowed. Well, give me vague disinterest anyday!

This message of gender apathy brought to you by the already hot Australian summer.

emily said...

re: your actual post I think you're spot on about the desire/denial that goes on.
The desire definitely prompts the homophobic violence, sometimes I think it's not so much the actions (ooh, men being topped) as the fact that, for some het-boys, visible queerness openly speaks the desires they've hidden so well.

Where to me it confirms no such thing, since not every queerboy is a bottom, and femmeboys or cross-dressers or trannys may well be tops.. oh, top and bottom in both the penetrative sex sense and the BDSM, either works just as well, no?

But that just shows the incomprehension of queerness that goes from the outside I guess.

belledame222 said...

>I was thinking that their particular foregrounding of heterosexual masculinity re-inforces its privileged position even as it critiques it. Whereas I, like a lot of the queers I know, in general don't actually really give much of a shit about straight men or indeed heterosexuality. Yeah, we deal with their homophobia, and transphobia, and all the rest, but as a group they're not really very interesting.>

DINGDINGDING SIREN BALLOONS STREAMERS THANK YOU

Sly Civilian said...

I laughed through it all...but especially at the idea of the frat boy being "taken in hand."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Alon Levy said...

Mandos, I saw what you posted on Reclusive Leftist about Belledame's political lesbianism and how it ends up being less threatening... it makes sense, now that I think of it.

As it happens, I do have some ideas about sexuality - I just don't usually talk about them because they are geeky beyond belief. Just so that you understand, the main term I use is in a language I invented (in fact, the one I mentioned on Reclusive Leftist back when I read it more than once a month).