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Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Feminization Of Men–Taming The Wolf

Many of us have heard Bill Maher rant about our feminized society. I first heard his stand-up routine on an HBO rerun, and then, coincidentally heard an hour-long interview with Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys, and a critic of modern feminism.

Bill Maher finger


I have heard for years about the war against women, how it has not been won, and how society must cleanse itself once and for all of the scourge of predatory men.  Men are retrograde, illiberal, and irremediable, feminists say. Men are obsessed with guns, violence, and competition; and are evolutionary throwbacks.  Only women have evolved to a higher state of being; and are the only bulwark against male social anarchy.  Their caring, compassionate, collaborative, and participatory ethos has saved us all. 

As paraphrased by Dana Antiochus, Maher believes that

“The inversion of nature that we have experienced as a culture, and the subversive aspect of flipping traditional roles, with its subsequent destruction of society, serves as a signal that we live in a dying system.  It has led to a pussified, sissy, pathetic, lovey-dovey/touchy-feely country of wimps, who put emotion over logic, feeling over reason, in our nurture-heavy/nature-deprived, culture” (Renegade Tribune)

But is Maher right? Have feminists turned the country into a nation of sissified wimps who value feeling over reason? On the one hand, feminism has changed men’s discourse, at least in public where they nod approvingly at news reports about glass ceilings, rape, abuse, and discrimination.  On the other, men in private share none of these sentiments. They know that biology and human nature have not changed since the Paleolithic.  Men raid, kill, and pillage.  Women cry a lot, like to share their feelings, and want strong men as partners.

One look at Wall Street shows that at least this corner of America has not been feminized.  There is little feel-good, self-esteem ethos in the boardrooms of Goldman Sachs.  It is still male, dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all capitalism at its most brutal. The women who have managed to rise to top executive ranks are just as cut-throat and savage as their male counterparts.

Image result for images poster movie wall street

The recent Martin Scorsese film, The Wolf of Wall Street and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street are both hymns to alpha male aggressiveness. While Wolf is a caricature of greed and the American Dream, Wall Street is much closer to home. Gordon Gecko is a smart, driven, savvy, and ruthless capitalist who lives on the margins of morality and ethics, has an animal instinct for sensing weakness, and a wolf’s predatory hunger. Although Stone asks us to criticize Gecko for his ruthlessness and amorality, most savvy viewers know that this is how capitalism operates.  More importantly, this is how men behave.

Image result for images poster wolf of wall street

In a recent article in the New York Times (‘Tapping Your Inner Wolf’, NYT 6.6.15), Carl Safina has cited research which says that the wolf is not the savage alpha male of legend but something far more feminine. Citing a well-known wolf researcher, Safina quotes:

Imagine two wolf packs, or two human tribes. Which is more likely to survive and reproduce? The one whose members are more cooperative, more sharing, less violent with one another; or the group whose members are beating each other up and competing with one another?

While Safina admits that the wolf is not always quietly socialized and definitely has his aggressive, violent moments of dominance and killing, all in all we have distorted the image of the animal.  When it comes to human behavior, we are right to keep the male-wolf analogy, but should correct the details.

The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf,” [another veteran wolf researcher] told me as we were watching gray wolves, “is a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.”

While there is no doubt that the male wolf is not always an aggressive killer, that is what most rightly characterizes him.  He is a strong, determined, willful, and unstoppable predator.  What he does after the kill is irrelevant to his native essence.

Image result for image wolf attacking prey


Yet there is a more insidious side to taming the wolf.  Elementary schools, the presumed crucible of socialization as well as a place of instruction, are biased against boys. What in past years was considered normal, aggressive male behavior is now off-limits.  Boys should become more like girls – or in the wolf analogy, more like the animal after the kill.

Christina Hoff Sommers writes about the feminist hijacking of primary education and thus comes closer to Maher in his allegation that feminism’s reach is extensive and pernicious. Sommers argues that the zero tolerance policy – i.e. stifling any suggestion of male aggression in schools – is a wrongheaded attempt to subjugate boys and deny their natural male exuberance.

Across the country, schools are policing and punishing the distinctive, assertive sociability of boys. Many much-loved games have vanished from school playgrounds. At some schools, tug of war has been replaced with “tug of peace.” Since the 1990s, elimination games like dodge ball, red rover and tag have been under a cloud — too damaging to self-esteem and too violent, say certain experts. Young boys, with few exceptions, love action narratives. These usually involve heroes, bad guys, rescues and shoot-ups. As boys’ play proceeds, plots become more elaborate and the boys more transfixed. When researchers ask boys why they do it, the standard reply is, “Because it’s fun.” (Time Magazine, 9.19.13)

Why is this? First, public education has long been in the hands of the liberal establishment. School boards and teachers’ unions alike have been committed to ‘progressive’ ideas of learning; and they have persistently defeated attempts to modernize the curriculum and the classroom.  ‘Participatory’ or ‘collaborative’ learning is still the rule according to which smarter students are obliged to help those less able, thus slowing their own academic progress. Learning levels have been abolished, and there are no longer different math and reading groups for children of differing abilities. More conservative themes of independence, individuality, competition, and innovation are seldom found.

Second, most primary school teachers are women, and happily buy into any educational program which will make the classroom more feminine and less disruptive.  If teachers were to allow boys more leeway and more opportunity for typically male behavior, their job would be far more difficult.  Better have a more feminine, orderly, and cooperative workplace.

Safina’s article on wolves picks up this feminist argument. Wolves may have an aggressive, stereotypically male aspect to their character; but it it is their feminine nurturing, caring, and sharing side which is the more admirable and worthy of human emulation.

Progressive educators and biological revisionists attempting to stifle male aggressiveness and transform male into female are wrongheaded and falsely idealistic. Human nature is a given; and history offers ample evidence to the persistent combative if not bellicose character of men. It is no surprise that men still rule the military and Wall Street.


Aggressiveness, however, has only recently become a negative characteristic as liberal critics have focused on the excesses of hawkish behavior. Not so long ago it was a trait to be admired and cultivated, an essential part of personal, social, and national strength. It was the attribute that was responsible for a militant defense of family and community; the securing of new and valuable territory and resources; and the expansion of civilization.

Since it is hardwired, male aggressiveness cannot be tamed by interventionist educational programs, scientific revisionism, or progressive blandishments.  All that can be expected is a stand-off between competing armies.  Just as animals fight when they can win, but retreat when they sense they cannot, men exhibit the same instincts for victory and survival.   The product of such behavior is no less than Darwinian survival of the fittest.  In other words, there is neither an upside nor a downside to male aggressiveness.  It simply the genetic code of XY animals.


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