Monday, July 27, 2015

The New Masculinity

Much has been made of some recent stories regarding masculinity, so I will connect the dots to reveal the picture beneath.  It's not pretty.

This story about a man and his open marriage is very likely satire, but it's been treated seriously by most commentators, so I'll do the same.  The most important paragraph is this:

"She knew how deep our love was, and knew that her wanting a variety of sexual experiences as we traveled through life together would not diminish or disrupt that love. It took me about six months — many long, intense conversations, and an ocean of red wine — before I knew it, too."

This man isn't a capon because he's raising the children at home while his wife brings home the bacon; many households have embraced this traditional role-reversal.  He's a capon because he embraces his wife's serial infidelity, calls it feminism, and happily confesses this disgusting state of affairs in a public forum.  Note, however, that he knows on some level how wrong this arrangement is: the requirement of alcohol to accept it, the admission of resentment and insecurity, the rationalization that he loves himself so much that he can live with this.  Note also the boundary-pushing of his wife when she fell asleep at her lover-du-jour's residence after an assignation: she wants no part of her husband, and he refuses to accept it.  He is a man in biology only, and his wife keeps him around to watch the children.

Slate, not to be outdone, published a different piece from a different capon.  Money graf:

"I hate how much I love to grill. It’s not that I’m inclined to vegetarianism or that I otherwise object to the practice itself. But I’m uncomfortable with the pleasure I take in something so conventionally masculine. Looming over the coals, tongs in hand, I feel estranged from myself, recast in the role of suburban dad. At such moments, I get the sense that I’ve fallen into a societal trap, one that reaffirms gender roles I’ve spent years trying to undo."

Here is a person of the male gender uncomfortable with masculinity.  Guilty, even.  Simply because he cooks food outdoors.  Lewis's quote regarding "men without chests" applies here, in spades.  This is someone who spends his days in a self-conscious effort to eradicate masculinity, by his own admission (undoing gender roles).  Men like this don't storm the beaches at Normandy.  They don't pull children out of burning buildings.  And they won't help you fight a man with a knife.  Civilization is not defended by such people.

This final story's a bit more complex: a transgender reporter named Zoey Tur got angry at pundit Ben Shapiro during a news program, grabbed him by the neck, and threatened to put him in the hospital.  Later, Tur advised Shapiro that they would meet in the parking lot (presumably to fight), and subsequently suggested on social media that he would like to "curb stomp" Shapiro.

One of the traditional masculine virtues is having a comfort level with violence, a comfort level that women typically don't have.  Transsexual Tur obviously retains that comfort level, despite his transitioning therapy.  Shapiro isn't as comfortable with physical violence, as you can see in the video.  There are a few mitigating factors: the significant weight/size disparity between Tur and Shapiro, and Shapiro's reasonable concern over the legal consequences of producing violence.

Nevertheless, those of us who accept and embrace traditional masculine virtues, even those virtues society attempts to "undo," know what we would have done in Shapiro's situation: thrown Tur's arm off, possibly with a choice obscenity and warning, and made ready for fisticuffs should Tur's arm lift again.  Nobody has a right to put a hand on you.

Instead, Shapiro initiated legal proceedings, which is a perfectly acceptable way to handle such an assault.

What's fascinating is this piece that celebrates Tur's assault and, in an incredible feat of rhetorical gymnastics, calls Shapiro a bully for expressing a point of view that is shared by millions and millions of people.  To people like Robin Abcarian, Tur's a hero.  A bully-smasher.  This is the kind of man we should be celebrating: a transsexual who threatens physical violence and commits assault over a disagreement.  Masculine virtues are to be despised except when evidenced by someone attempting to eradicate his own masculinity.  Of special interest is Abcarian's ludicrous attempt to minimize Tur's assault by saying that Tur "gently put her hand on his shoulder".  That wasn't gentle, it wasn't a caress, and this deliberate mischaracterization of what actually happened tells us very clearly that Abcarian knows in the small, shriveled place in her heart that's still capable of honesty that Tur's actions were unacceptable.

You can't have it both ways.  Holding up capons like Cuckold Man and Ashamed to Grill as the new men in one hand and expressing admiration for transsexual Zoey Tur's assault in the other cancel each other out.  This ambivalence from our intellectual and moral betters in the news and entertainment media reflects the very real conflict of masculinity in today's culture: we want men to be this way and not that.  Except that if men are this way, then they're not men any longer.  If they're that way, they're bullies and, most importantly, not feminists.

And we can't have that.  Better to castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

Thought of the day for men: would you rather be admired as a feminist or shunned as a brute by the likes of Robin Abcarian?


Anonymous said...

In this changing world, I think it is a real challenge for both women and men to figure out their roles and to adapt. I also think it's important for each individual to focus on being his/her best self, separate from the ever-changing gender roles imposed by the media.

Unknown said...

Hi, Amy:

As always, it's good to hear from you.

I agree, though I would take it a bit further and say that men and women each have innate, complementary qualities and predilections that should not and must not be socialized out by a perpetually-aggrieved minority in the name of an impossible equality.