Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Maleness and the Feminist Worldview, Part III: Conclusion

The final point which needs to be addressed in examining male gender identity is understanding how social privilege has come to favor men in nearly all arenas. Men have been dominating politics, economics, and religion since before the time of Hammurabi. Ostensibly, the convential wisdom is that men are more suited to the aggressive dictates of managing society. However, if male identity is stripped of the ideas that men are physically or sexually dominant, such an axiom becomes absurd. Any emasculationist ranting by anti-feminism males simply becomes petty carping about the loss of social privilege.

Any rational human being can see it: For thousands of years now, men have had it pretty good. We get to go out every day, exert ourselves in a variety of arenas; drink and fuck ourselves silly, and then at the end of the day still come home and have our women--be they our mothers, sisters, friends, lovers, or spouses--waiting for us to clean up the mess. Women have been doing society's dirty work for nearly all of recorded history. But since recorded language has only been around since after male ascension, we have completely forgotten how to imagine society as anything BUT a male-dominated machine. Naturally, any attempts to combat that millennia-old social programming is going to meet with heavy resistance from conservatives. How can it be otherwise? This flawed social mechanism is all they know. But having examined male identity, and the way that said identity shapes modern society, this author has concluded that male identity as we view it is meaningless. It's a chromosome; a piece of tissue; a difference in perception of ourselves aesthetically. Maleness is not some ideal that modern feminism threatens to kill. Rather, it is an essential variation in the palette of shades that make up human existence and experience.

It is absolutely necessary for women in our society to continue fighting against gender-biased injustice. But for the walls of injustice to completely come crashing down, men need to do some of the work too. No, men cannot expect credit for such efforts to this end. Nor should they. But the point remains, we as men need to look in the mirror and seriously ask ourselves what being male actually means. This author believes that its meaning lies within a lack of meaning. Being male is whatever we want it to be. So instead of men and women criticizing each other for subte differences, we as men need to rise above our assumptions. We need to realize that whatever we do--serve in combat, work as secretaries, work construction, or raise children as stay-at-home fathers--we will ALWAYS be male. And granting rights to the women we have abused for so long will never threaten that. If anything, it will make us greater, not as males, but as human beings.

Are maleness and feminism incompatible? Absolutely not. But while we as men must be willing to let go of our previous assumptions, we must also willingly accept that shedding such assumptions will not merit us any exemptions or credit. We must simply accept that the Era of Male Privilege is ending, and start focusing on what really makes us so special--our shared Humanity.

Destroy gender barriers. Look in a mirror.


Blogger antiprincess said...

let me be one of the first to gladly give you a cookie, and pat on the back, and big fat trophy, and giant ruffly state-fair blue ribbon, and whatever else you want, up to and including the respect you deserve for even trying to wrap your head around all this.

good for you. way to persevere.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Spc. Freeman said...


Um. Was that sarcasm? I honestly can't tell. Help me.

*Looks vaguely distressed.*

3:02 PM  
Blogger antiprincess said...


I think you are not looking for a "cookie". I think you are looking for respect from your peers, people you admire and feel affinity for. and I think you deserve it.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Spc. Freeman said...

Oh. Wow. Well, thank you. I don't know what else to say, other than that really means a lot. I appreciate it.

3:19 PM  
Blogger antiprincess said...

eh - don't get too excited. it's not like I'm any personage of great esteem in the radfem community. seriously.

If I had any sort of nerve I'd stick up for you in a more public place, but I'm afraid I don't have that kind of sangfroid at the moment. nonetheless, I stand by my statement, and if anyone calls me out on it I'll back it up.

3:26 PM  
Blogger infobabe said...

Hi there.
Thanks for posting on my blog...I'll post on yours too. I enjoy your perspective, and the story about your summer on Mackinac was quite bittersweet. I know that's a different post, but this post made me think you might enjoy a book called "Self Made Man," by Norah Vincent. She disguised herself as a man and immersed herself in "male culture," and made some surprising discoveries. I haven't read it yet (it's on order at the library), but I heard an interview with her on CBC radio.

11:12 PM  
Blogger antiprincess said...

I read that book. it was intense. Definitely recommended.

3:10 PM  

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