Judd Legume is an editor at Think Progress:
Obama statement on Ray Rice a bit off-key: "Hitting a woman is not something a real man does.." "Real man" formulation pretty dated/sexist
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 9, 2014
Only a Leftist would think that masculinity is a character defect.
Feminists and other Leftists will tell you (and tell you, and tell you) that we live in a patriarchy – a male-dominated society. Not just any patriarchy – The Patriarchy.
Feminism defines patriarchy as an unjust social system that is oppressive to women. As feminist and political theorist Carole Pateman writes, “The patriarchal construction of the difference between masculinity and femininity is the political difference between freedom and subjection.” In feminist theory the concept of patriarchy is fluid and loosely defined. It often includes all the social mechanisms that reproduce and exert male dominance over women. Feminist theory typically characterizes patriarchy as a social construction, which can be overcome by revealing and critically analyzing its manifestations.
In Chapter 10 of The Creation of Patriarchy, Gerda Lerner states that Man (male) found a way of dealing with the existential dilemma by assigning symbol-making power to himself and life-death- nature finiteness to woman. Lerner argues that class society began with the dominance of men over women and developed into the dominance of some men over other men and over all women. Thus this the very process of class formation incorporated an already pre-existing condition of male dominance over women and marginalized women in the formation of symbol systems. The symbol system established the ruling elite whom were the men in power.
As you might guess, feminists don’t care for The Patriarchy.
When we use terms like “real man”, “manhood” and “masculinity” we are referring to the physical and character traits that we associate with maleness. The term “real man” specifically refers to the idealized perfect male – the social expectations of the gender role of males in our society.
According to feminist theory, long ago men got together and conspired to oppress women. Our forefathers set things up for the benefit of men and to the detriment of women. They did this because they were rapey sexist pigs who hated wimmins.
The truth is somewhat more complex.
If you believe (as I generally do) in evolution and natural selection then you believe that all life in the universe started out as simple one-celled organisms and that these organisms gradually became more and more complex. There is ample evidence in the archaeological records showing that this has taken place. Whether or not it was the result of random chance or intelligent design is still open for debate.
The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, give or take a few million years. Life on Earth started about 3 billion years ago. Modern humans (aka homo sapiens) first showed up about 200,000 years ago. Human civilizations, on the other hand, are only about 10,000-12,000 years old. What we call “history” is even less than that.
In evolutionary terms that is not even the blink of an eye.
For most of human existence our ancestors wandered around looking for food. When the Neolithic Revolution came along 10 or 12 thousand years ago our ancestors began to settle down and start growing food. This was the beginning of civilization.
In between the days of the hunters and gatherers we evolved into a very complex society. This was not one big centralized process, it was a lot of little societies, cultures and civilizations evolving at different speeds in different places. There was a certain amount of interaction between them. At times they were in conflict with each other. At times it was survival of the fittest.
Our current society/culture (American/Western Civilization) is the direct descendant of the winners. Those winners include ideas like democracy, capitalism and the rule of law. They include values like liberty and justice.
Along the way we had to deal with some bad ideas that were undesirable genes in the cultural gene pool, like slavery and racism.
During the process of cultural evolution we developed ideas about the proper roles of men and women in our society. We also developed laws, customs, mores, principles and other rules that define how people should act. This includes obligations and duties as well as privileges and benefits.
No one controlled this process. No one gender controlled it either. It was a collaborative effort that took place down thru the centuries and millenia. It growed like Topsy. It also changed as technology developed.
From time to time things got out of whack. There was a time when slavery was considered proper and necessary. At some point the general consensus changed and slavery was considered a bad thing. But slavery was still in existence because not everyone agreed it was bad and some people were economically dependent on it. We fought a war to get rid of the slavery gene in our society, and then another longer conflict to get rid of the racism gene that went with it.
At the beginning of the Twentieth Century the existing laws, customs, mores, principles and other rules that defined gender roles for men and women had gotten out of whack with technology and our and economic system. Our outmoded gender role rules were based upon an agrarian economy in the pre-industrial era. The industrial revolution had made many or those rules obsolete.
Along came Feminism and Progressive ideology. They started off with good intentions and focused on some real problems that needed fixing, like Women’s Suffrage and Jim Crow segregation. By the mid-Sixties the big battles had been won.
That’s when Second-Wave Feminism and blue collar liberalism turned into Third-Wave Feminism and big government liberalism and the proverbial baby got thrown out with the bathwater. Any “ology” or “ism” that does not account for human nature is doomed to fail.
Men and women are different. Those differences are not just cosmetic or learned. On the other hand, men and women need each other. “Equal” does not mean “identical”. Last but not least, there is a lot of overlap.
It is ironic that the same people who want to “celebrate diversity” think men and women should be identical. It is not a competition. We can glorify both masculinity and femininity without denigrating either. Nor does that mean we should force people to conform to masculine and feminine ideals. Freedom and liberty and part of our cultural heritage too.
People go to college and learn all kinds of wonderful-sounding ideas for the way things ought to be. Then they get to the real world and find out that it isn’t that simple.
If you start a new job the first thing you have to learn is how they do things. There is a reason that they do them the way they do. Even if it is not working now at one time at least their system did work. Until you understand the system you can’t fix it.
Before you decide to Smash The Patriarchy, you better have a pretty good idea of what you are going to replace it with. It took us 10,000 years to get here, so maybe we should not be hasty about abandoning what we have.
Last but not least I want to talk about the silly idea called “multiculturalism“. It is premised on the idea that all cultures are created equal.
Multiculturalism is the cultural diversity of communities within a given society and the policies that promote this diversity. As a descriptive term, multiculturalism is the simple fact of cultural diversity and the demographic make-up of a specific place, sometimes at the organizational level, e.g., schools, businesses, neighborhoods, cities, or nations. As a prescriptive term, multiculturalism encourages ideologies and policies that promote this diversity or its institutionalization. In this sense, multiculturalism is a society “at ease with the rich tapestry of human life and the desire amongst people to express their own identity in the manner they see fit.”
Multicultural ideologies or policies vary widely, ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, to a policy of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, to policies in which people of various ethnic and religious groups are addressed by the authorities as defined by the group they belong to.
Our culture (American/Western Civilization) is not the only culture out there. There are some others that are similar to ours, and there are some that are mutually incompatible with our way of life. Multiculturalism is cultural suicide. All cultures are NOT created equal.
E. pluribus unum means “Out of many, one”.