Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Misogyny And Misandry–Don’t They Have A Legitimate Place In Civil Society?
Stereotypes exist, and by and large they are not hysterical inventions but have at least a grain of truth in them. Women, because of their centuries-long domination under male patriarchy, can indeed be uppity and demanding on their way to the glass ceiling. Men, because of their hardwired genetic configuration and years of public adulation and private obeisance, can certainly dismissive of female concerns for truthfulness, family integrity, and feelings.
The bitchy Devil Wears Prada female executive and the duck-hunting, male-bonding philanderer are stereotypical images which may be exaggerated versions of reality, but nonetheless both women and men alike retain hardened perceptions of the opposite sex.
This is not surprising. The war between men and women began in the Pleistocene and continues today. Although women – and feminized men – may claim citizenship in a post-sexualized world, nothing could be further from the truth. Men are always suspicious of their wives and partners because the political balance has been tipped in women’s favor, giving them a moral authority and a political power which they – women – have up until recently never have enjoyed. Women will never be convinced that the New Age Sensitive Guy is really serious about his commitment to women, women’s rights, or feminism.
Most women understand that human nature and X and Y chromosomes being what they are, men will never change. They will always be skirt-chasers, womanizers, and generous with the truth. They will construct a system of deception, prevarication, and outright deceit to preserve and protect their right to prowl.
Most men understand that women, regardless of feminist rhetoric are still Daddy’s girls. Too few generations have passed to expunge all patriarchy and male dominance; and the most savvy, if not most manipulative men take advantage of women who will always defer to them.
Women understand that men will always be restive and dissatisfied with the best of marital relationships. In the movie Moonstruck, the matriarch of the Italian American clan asks her would-be paramour why men chase women. He has no answer except that he can’t help it. Men, like wolves or tomcats are born to roam. She says it is because men fear death more than women; and that sex with younger women is the elixir of youth and longevity.
Whatever it is, women know that no matter how devoted and committed their husbands might be, they will fall off the rails at a moment’s notice.
Men understand that today as well as in any previous generation, women are hardwired to protect and defend the family unit they have chosen. They will do all they can to prevent their mates from straying and will resort to the most extreme measures to return them to the fold.
In Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Maggie will do anything to ensure that her husband, Brick, will inherit the family fortune. “I was born poor”, she says, “and raised poor; but I, as certain as the sun rises in the morning I will never die poor.” She is willful, determined, and absolutely destined to keeping Brick as a husband and to having children with him despite his indifference and alcoholic melancholy.
Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra cares little for Antony, considers herself superior to him, but plays and manipulates him in order to secure her place and especially that of her children in the Empire. The women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies are as protective as she-bears for their children, and as cunning as any man in working the court to their advantage.
If anything, four decades of feminism have hardened, not softened male perceptions of women. The most secular and progressive among them might back campaigns for the civil rights of women and even speak out publicly in favor of women’s rights; but the more conservative resent the political, financial, and political preference given to women in hard times.
Socially conservative men often feel that they have labored in the vineyards and fought in the trenches to provide for themselves, their wives, and their families, and now they are tossed into the dust bin as sexual supernumeraries.
The Father by August Strindberg expresses best the frustration of men who sense the absolute control of women. Only a woman knows the father of their children, and husbands will always wonder. Laura cruelly manipulates her husband, The Captain, and drive him insane so that she can gain legal control of her daughter. You have provided the rooster’s contribution, she says, and now your duties, responsibilities, and privileges have come to an end.
Women now seem to have the upper hand. Physical strength counts for very little in the battle of the sexes; and intellectual maturity, social savvy, and emotional subtlety win the day. Men increasingly feel outmatched and outgunned.
Men, understanding that they have fewer cannon, are taking stock and regrouping. Women’s belief in patriarchy, regardless of how quickly it is becoming discredited, is still a point of vulnerability. There is still room for the sexually confident, emotionally strong, and socially willful male. Despite women’s absolute sexual authority (viz. parentage, paternity) and increasing gender status, women still fall for potent rogues.
Since the War Between the Sexes is far from over and even farther from being resolved, then sexual dynamics are still in play. An outgrowth of this healthy, evolutionary and social struggle is sexual frustration, anger, and misogyny.
Is quite normal for American men in this election year (20016) to think of Hillary Clinton as a dry, humorless, and desiccated bossy old woman. It is as normal for women to think of Donald Trump as a typical male braggadocio, pompous, strutting Chanticleer, arch-predator, and misogynist hater of women.
Why are these feelings condemned? Why stifle and strangle what is in everyone’s throats. I know of few men who have bought the feminist line lock, stock, and barrel and who believe that subservience to women is the least they can do as reparations for past male abuse. Most others, even the most progressive of them, feel that for all women’s obvious intelligence and ingenuity, they are still emotionally and genetically dependent on men. It will take quite some time for them to prove their worthy comparison to Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Adams.
Women, no matter how much they will profess love and affection for their husbands, are still in the business of corralling them, fencing them in, and limiting their opportunities to prowl. It is normal for women to express their frustration at men’ seeming intractability and inability to reform. There is no harm in calling them ignorant pricks.
In other words, the war between the sexes would end far more quickly if the gloves were taken off now and if bare-knuckle brawls replaced kindly skirmishes. The same is true for race relations. No less animosity and hostility occurs between the races than between the genders. Unless and until every racist, hateful, and barbaric insult is thrown, rejected, and countered, nothing will ever change. Internalized hatred is far worse than externalized frustration.
It has been argued that without the Geneva Convention, there would be fewer wars; for no one would want to face absolute, amoral barbarity for doubtful causes. The same is true for any other battle. It is far better to strip down and face the enemy than make nice and then fight.
So there is indeed a place for misogyny, racism, and misandry. Stop the parlor games and get real.