Conservatives still don’t get it or don’t want to

A David Masciotra responds to the “toxic masculinity” article on American Conservative.

I had my eye on the prettiest girl at the party. We’d met a few months earlier in high school biology. When class had let out one day, I’d shouted her name, Lindsey, and said, “Good to meet you. It’s my lucky day, I guess.” She’d turned around as if she was on a runway, and her long, bright, blonde hair flipped, forming a frame around her beautiful face. She’d flashed me a smile. I’d felt volts of electricity charge my body.

Back at the party, as I broke the law by nursing a Miller Lite, I watched with bewilderment and envy as Lindsey flirted with a dork named Steve. All of our conversations before and after class, my attempts at charm and wit, my transparently weak excuses for greeting Lindsey at her locker before first period, had gotten me nowhere. I stepped outside to commit my second crime of the evening.

As I took slow drags off my cigarette, I heard a shout that contained subtle hints of Lindsey’s melodious voice—“Get off me!” Making my way around the house to the backyard, I noticed that the screams were becoming increasingly angry and desperate. A deeper voice issued vague commands—“Come on!” “Stop it!”

Steve had his hands on Lindsey’s hips as he pressed her against the aluminum siding of the split-level home. Without thinking, I threw my smoldering Winston into the grass, dropped my beer, and escalated my illegal activity. I pushed Steve away from Lindsey, and then punched him in the face. The blow knocked him back, but he managed to regain his bearings before falling to the ground. He spat some obscenities at me before walking to his car, which was in severe need of a muffler, and drove away.

A few minutes later, Lindsey gave me a kiss with more power than my right hook.

Between the noble exhibition of strength and the romantic affection from an attractive woman, the party had become a moment of idealized manhood. I felt as if I was Elvis Presley in the films I’d enjoyed watching on Turner Classic Movies every night before I went to bed. It’s abhorrent to view a woman’s pain and potential suffering as an opportunity for male edification, but there are moments when an evil act of victimization requires masculine intervention. Elvis’s characters lived according to that ethic, as did the literary hero whose triumphs I’d read during study hall, Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe.

He starts off with with some cartoonish chivalry. The good man needs to stand up against the bad man, and the good man gets the girl.

There’s nothing wrong with standing up to protect those weaker, but the notion that it actually leads to romance is incorrect on several levels. An unattractive man who protects a woman may only get a “thanks” at most in return. Good and bad are, of course, relative to the notions of manliness that the author is purporting.

Today, in the contemporary context of sexual misconduct, masculine intervention is the subject of fear, ridicule, and diagnostic examination. The deluge of harassment and assault accusations against major political, media, and entertainment figures following the exposure of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as a sexual criminal has understandably provoked many writers, especially of feminist ideology, to identify and lament the “crisis of masculinity.”

Slate recently ran an analysis of sexual harassment with the headline “Men Aren’t Monstrous, But Masculinity Can Be,” and a writer for the New York Times explored the “unexamined brutality of the male libido.” Charles Blow, for the same paper, declared, “We have to re-examine our toxic, privileged, encroaching masculinity.”

While it doesn’t hurt to negotiate and navigate the meaning of masculinity, contemptuous generalizations about men are unhealthy and dangerous, because they flirt with prejudice. Even Jessica Valenti, one of the most recognized and committed advocates of feminism, objected to the New York Times’ sloppy headline on the male libido, writing, “Men’s sexuality is not inherently predatory and claiming it is normalizes assault.”

Sweeping indictments of the masculine also deflect attention from one of the most elementary truths to emerge out of the reckoning of sexual predators. The crisis of masculinity is not one of excess, but scarcity.

On the surface, this seems like solid analysis. Yet, we see some of the first cracks in the armor of missing the point completely altogether. Let’s move on to see how it all falls apart.

Rich literary, historical, and cultural traditions depict masculine heroism as protection of the vulnerable and powerless. Stories of military valor, the selfless acts of bravery from firefighters and rescue workers, even the New Testament allegory of Jesus Christ rescuing a prostitute from the mob preparing to stone her, demonstrate that masculinity at its apex is the employment of power, force, and authority for assistance and guardianship of those who, at least temporarily, are unable to save themselves.

The most obvious of masculine virtues inform the presentation of masculine heroism—responsibility, gallantry, and integrity. Ernest Hemingway’s heroes illustrate an impervious stoicism that is easy to parody when coming from writers without his genius, but when done right, it shows the crucial connection between pride and manhood.

None of these qualities—only their polar opposites—are identifiable in the predation of Weinstein, Louis C.K., and their fellow offenders. Their behavior is so thoroughly reprehensible that many have missed its second most prevalent characteristic: it is pathetic.

One of the most baffling oddities to emerge out of these sexual harassment stories is how many men of power enjoy acts of indecent exposure. There is a juvenile “look at me” aspect to surprising a woman with a masturbatory act that, in addition to being odious and repugnant, makes it entirely unmanly. The nearest comparison is not to some high-testosterone lothario, but to an adolescent desperately craving attention through the humiliation of his subjects.

Even the womanizer possesses masculinity that runs in stark contrast with the pitiable onanism of these contemporary harassers. Masculine sexual charisma, whether visible in the charm and seduction techniques of a fictional character like James Bond or a real-life adulterer like Mick Jagger, is desirable because it attracts women and sparks sexual desire, leading to consensual and mutually pleasurable affairs. No normal teenage boy fantasizes about abusing his power to assault women who have no interest in him.

One of Weinstein’s accusers claims that after she rejected his unwanted advances, the film mogul cried, saying, “You rejected me because I’m fat.”

The stories of misconduct making headlines on a daily basis are not the triumphs of masculinity’s winners, but the woes of its losers.

It is clear that the bipartisan parade of groping misogynists lack the most fundamental respect for women, and in their moral failure to view them as human beings, treat them as toys for their own sexual amusement. They also lack the pride that is essential to the maintenance of masculine confidence and bravado.

In the process of harming women, these men have embarrassed themselves. One of the important questions, as always, is why? Why, even if certain men refuse to acknowledge the dignity and autonomy of women, does pride not prevent them from behaving as freaks and fools?

Resolving the sickly lack of masculinity, along with cultivating a culture that has no tolerance for the degradation of women, are the long-term solutions for sexual harassment. In the short term, it appears that many men could use a good punch to the face.

Where does David go wrong? He is, of course, right in classify most forms of masculinity via sexual misconduct or violence today as “juvenile” or “immature.”

There is always a cause for behavior, and conservatives don’t want to look at the cause but only criticize the results. Why? Because then they would have to blame feminism.

To answer David’s questions:

In the process of harming women, these men have embarrassed themselves. One of the important questions, as always, is why? Why, even if certain men refuse to acknowledge the dignity and autonomy of women, does pride not prevent them from behaving as freaks and fools?

Why? Feminism tore down the very system which raised men that wanted to protect women.

  • Husband as authority in marriage
  • Lack of respect for husbands and fathers
  • No fault divorce
  • Mother custody of children
  • Duluth laws

At the hands of feminism, families were ripped apart and destroyed. Boys grew up without fathers. Discipline, honor, and respect were thrown to the wayside. Chivalry was killed. The consequences of this are men that are more violent, sexually aggressive, and lack self control.

Resolving the sickly lack of masculinity, along with cultivating a culture that has no tolerance for the degradation of women, are the long-term solutions for sexual harassment. In the short term, it appears that many men could use a good punch to the face.

The result of not blaming feminism is that you have to blame someone. That someone happens to be men because it “appears that many men could use a good punch to the face.” The old switcheroo. Blame men is always a good answer.

Conservatives don’t want to call feminism bad, even though the feminist rebellion has caused many of the problems that we have today.

Whether it is to cater to female voters or whatever who really knows. But conservatives still don’t get it or they don’t want to.

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9 Responses to Conservatives still don’t get it or don’t want to

  1. donalgraeme says:

    I suspect a lot of willful ignorance is going on. Some might genuinely not get it, but plenty know something is off, but don’t want to try and figure out what and why.

  2. I think I can illustrate donal’s point a bit, along with the post.

    Think of old pictures. You can see them, but they were small and of low resolution. As camera technology has advanced, the clarity has improved by leaps & bounds. Those of the world will only want the low resolution insights, because to look closer takes work. However, Christians have to reject not looking closer, thus never improving.

    The core issue is no one wants to deal with the Truth, which is always the case. The specific off-shoot issue here is that everyone wants to reject the split between Good & Evil. No one wants *anything* to have a hard-edge. The evil poison of Relativism is lurking under every aspect of this discussion.

    You can see the intentional relativistic play with “Masculinity”. It’s a concept that used to have a harder meaning, but now the definition has become so vague that they insert anything negative they want, while removing anything positive from it. There are aspects that are both proper & Good in the Masculine and Feminine, but the World will always attempt to desecrate the Holy. That is what they will always do.

    But, no one wants to look. No one wants to see. No one really wants to understand. They want a magic wand that’s waved over them to tell them “you’re great!”. To know the Truth is to remove the scales from your eyes, but the scales are comfortable.

  3. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    Feminism tore down the very system which raised men that wanted to protect women.

    The reason Weinstein traded fame for sex is that so many women are trading sex for fame. It was at the insistence of feminists to persue independence, power, fame and glory – leaving behind the virtues and protections of the patriarchy. In the destruction of the family, the protection offered by family was collateral damage – women and children are left more vulnerable.

    If only feminists could get all the benefits of the patriarchy without patriarchy. It reminds me of how so many “christians” want the grace of Christ, just not Christ.

  4. earlthomas786 says:

    If only feminists could get all the benefits of the patriarchy without patriarchy.

    This is why feminism is basically a mental illness.

    It’s also why they want to have the rights of men without taking the responsibilites of it too.

  5. glosoli says:

    The woman who needed defending in the story was a whore, whoring around at a party. What a fool to defend a whore.

    We need to turn the clock back a couple of hundred years to a time where all women were the responsibility of a man, their father, or their husband. In that environment, women get no freedom to whore around, as the social shame would be too great.

    Like pretty much everything wrong with modern society, the restoration of a biblical patriarchy, including polygamy and the end of all welfare, would set matters straight. Once women are under control and needing the security only a husband or father can provide, under God’s laws, perhaps we can begin to win again.

    In the meantime, let whores be whores, but don’t fight to defend them.

    Oh, by the way, the notion of chivalry is related to brotherly duties. Those old reprobates the French stole the concept and applied it to men and women, maybe one of the first moves of the feminists eh? Let’s not play their game: women are not able to rationally control their own lives, they need a patriarch to rule them, not a man to defend their *honour* (heh).

  6. feeriker says:

    It’s difficult to believe that anybody takes seriously anymore anything that cuckservatives have to say.

  7. Good explanation of why conservatives don’t “get it”.

    http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=12101

  8. purge187 says:

    I’m a proud Tradcon myself, but I’m also a not-so-proud Gen-Xer too. Guys like this and Brad Wilcox came from a time where people actually had respect for men, decency and the Ten Commandments. We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

  9. PokeSalad says:

    #shitthatneverhappened

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