Trumpism and Hypermasculinity

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  1. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    Masculinity has been in crisis since at least the 1800’s. It’s like a “kids these days thing”; a permanent crisis people have always feared and always forget when they played a different role.

    If people, men in this case, can be happily successful and in way that is different from the way “real men” do it, that is a challenge to “this is the way things are.” It means your choices are choices, not just what you have to do to be a man.

    “Pussification”, well yeah that is a heaping load of something fugly. I have a couple cousins ( only contact is through Facebook) who go on a bit about pussification and men should be real men kind of stuff. Oddly they are very much for legal gay marraige and against gay bashing, but also find nasty jokes about caitlin jenner to be funny. People contain multitudes.

    I predict your reference to guns will distract from you larger point in a way you aren’t happy with. It was unnecessary.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak
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      says:

      I’m going to ignore the gun crack. If penis jokes is the best he can do…

      Here is the cognitive dissonance : real men are incredibly independent & confident & don’t care what others think, except when it comes to other mens opinions of what constitues a real man.

      Real men accept & meet their responsibilities, anything beyond that is unnecessary.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        Coincidently, real women, like real men, are independent and meet their responsibilities and don’t care what other people think about whether they are a “real ( fill in blank)”Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak
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          says:

          Exactly.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to greginak
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          says:

          Women can be mensches tooReport

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Mike Schilling
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            says:

            And, you know, the opposite.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to veronica d
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              says:

              Complete and total bensches?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                @glyph — No, I mean more the reversal of the causal chain:

                “Mensches” can be women.

                tee hee

                See, it’s a trans joke!

                (Does it get funnier if I explain it?)

                In any case, you’re version also works, as there are plenty of bensches out there, some of whom were once mensches (she says as she sits at her night table and sharpens her claws).

                #####

                On the topic of the thread, it’s like these jokers are such transparent wannabes — I mean, I’m not calling Trump a wannabe. He’s an asshole, but whatever he is, he is — but these chucklefuck “real men blah blah sissification blah blah” fuckers. Gah! There is so much insecurity and a really obvious false consciousness.

                Which, whatever. Psychoanalyzing your political opponents is good sport, but maybe kinda limited. But still, these guys OMG!

                It was the “cuck” fixation that gave the game away. It’s like, the “redpill” was a cesspool, but it was a marginal cesspool of the saddest sadsacks. Whatever. But the whole #gamergate meets Fox News meets Moldbug-in-hell or something. I don’t know what the fuck. It’s definitely a thing that’s kinda exploded outward the last few years.

                Needless to say, I’m appalled. Which, I guess the guys into this stuff are perfectly happy I’m appalled. In fact, one suspects that’s the point.

                I mean, I admire athletics. I think lifting weights is awesome. I love the “fighting sports,” like MMA and stuff.

                I FUCKING LOVE DODGE BALL.

                I also like wearing skirts and growing my own tits. So that’s a thing.

                The point is, it’s okay not to like dodge ball. Which is to say, figure out what makes your life work.

                Make your life work. And keep your word. Be solid.

                Three things matter: are you smart? are you solid? are you kind?

                It doesn’t really matter if you’re dudely or not-so-dudely. I mean, who the fuck cares? Play with masc-vs-fem however you see fit. Are you smart, solid, and kind?

                These dudes are dumb-as-shit, flim-flam assholes. They got it all wrong all the way down.Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    The elements of the traditional masculine identity have had 10,000 years to form and set. We shouldn’t expect them to dry up and go away at the drop of a scarf.

    For pretty much all of those 10,000 years, one of the most important axes along which a man’s value and status were judged was on his ability to enact violence – both in warfare and in hunting. Men were assigned the task of pro-social violence (and anti-social violence came along as a bonus).

    There was a time when lack of proficiency at killing would mean death without issue, if you were a man. If you were a woman, it could mean untold misery, but not necessarily death.

    We don’t live in those times any more. The level of violence among humanity is at an all-time low. Men such as me enjoy opera and theater and driving cars fast. But what is being protested is the waning of the ability to gain status through the exercise of violence. This is no small thing.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      A lot of this was very cultural and class specific even though the past was more violent than the present. From about 135 C.E. to the 19th century, Jewish men had limited opportunities to engage in pro-social violence and existed in a culture that stressed non-violent conflict resolution. Medieval Haggadahs liked to depict the Wicked Son as a knight. In other cultures, the right to pro-social violence was limited towards elite men. Most men were not supposed to engage in any sort of pro-social violence unless under some specific circumstances.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      Doctor Jay

      I don’t disagree with what you wrote, but I wonder to what extent this is a uniquely American problem. Seems to me that the type of masculinity you and Saul are talking about – the concept, that is – is really robust here in Murka – predominant even – and less so in other cultures, even if the role men have played in various cultures thru time is +/- constant.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        My impression has been that it’s much stronger in parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, most notably Russia, and to a lesser extent in parts of Latin America. If homicide rates are a reasonable proxy, most of Africa has us beat, too.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    says:

    I think like any debate there are extremes. Yes, on the far ends you have some men who think anyone who doesn’t live like a lumberjack is less-than-manly. On the other end you have people who think of those guys as cavemen and actually believe they want women out of the workplace. In the moderate middle are the rest of us who bounce back and forth between ‘manly’ pursuits and other activities that were considered the domain of women.

    Nuance…Report

  4. Avatar Rufus F.
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    says:

    I don’t know if it’s just men who worry about this stuff. Certainly, there are plenty of right-wing women who believe that real men are in decline and liberal men are especially emasculated. We used to have a troll around here who blogged for a while about how we weren’t manly enough for her. Mostly, those people are just funny. It’s not like they know what they’re talking about so it ends up being the most random criteria. I remember an old roommate questioning my masculinity because I had previously owned a cat, which struck me as hilarious.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus F.
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      says:

      Heinlein used to go on about how real men have cats because they’re independent, and only the insecure need slaves like dogs.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Mike Schilling
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        says:

        I was going to make this an independent comment, but I’ll put it here, because it follows from this thought.

        People tell on themselves in interesting ways.

        This has been on my mind recently, but more prominently today, because I saw a man coming out of a store on crutches.
        I remember being on crutches years ago (motorcycle accident, 18 years old), and one of the worst things was how it made my sense of independence feel threatened.
        I remember a girl about my own age holding a door for me as I was coming out of a music store (Lubbock Music Center, right after they had moved to a new location, and you had to walk through where all the pianos are to get to the guitars & stuff), and it made me feel somewhat angry, and I wasn’t as gracious about it as I should have been. The thing is that it reminded me of my own weakness.

        I remember a young woman giving a presentation in class, going over about how wrong it was to refer to women as “girls,” and how men would erupt with indignation were they to be referred to as “boys.”
        I raised my hand to say that I has spoken with my girlfriend (now ex) about whether she was offended that she was awarded a “master’s” degree rather than a “mistress'” degree. She said no. The conversation went on to say that women typically get over being offended by being called “girl” about the time they hit forty or so.
        For my part, it didn’t bother me a bit being referred to as her “boyfriend” rather than as her “man friend.”
        The young woman giving the presentation was revealing her own insecurity.

        Similarly, I had written a piece somewhat recently where I described a murder as a “lynching,” and I used a racially-charged word in the section title.
        There were some who seemed to be more offended that I had used a racially-charged word than the fact that a man had been murdered.
        There are merely people stating their own weakness.

        I am of mixed race, and I have been called a lot of things; but I came to the conclusion a long time ago that no word that anyone might refer to me by, nor any label I might wish to apply to myself, can make me anything other than what I am.
        I came to a place where I had to accept myself beyond words.

        This is much the same with those who would impose their own vision of “manhood” on the conduct of others.
        The fact of the matter is that their manhood they claim to hold in such high esteem is so limited that to loose the reins they hold on the world just a little bit might well send the wagon careening wildly over rocky terrain.
        I say it’s just a shell.
        The man is the part that lives inside the shell.
        And some people can’t tell the difference.Report

  5. Avatar Roland Dodds
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    says:

    Agreed Saul: the weird fixation some of the alt-right/reactionary types have with a specific form of masculinity is a bit creepy. When I hear lamentations by said individuals of the “Rise of the Beta Man” and the exclusion of “Alpha Male” characteristics, it seems they don’t understand what it means to actually be an alpha. Being able to adapt and deal with a new physical and social sounding is the very definition of an alpha, not clinging to old tactics and habits. Those who limit their skills to the physical and forgo learning new social relationships sound rather beta and second rate as far as I can see.Report

  6. Avatar Morat20
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    says:

    That ties into something I’ve been seeing from a few people of my approximate age, and it boils down to “Kids these days are soft” (generally referring to college/high school kids). One guy, going back to college, complained bitterly about how ‘feminine’ the 20 year olds were in his classes. (Says the guy who undoubtedly grew up idolizing certain fashions and bands in the 80s that would not be considered terribly ‘masculine’ by his own parents).

    And hand to God, what I hear is “Kids these days”. Just like my parents said it of my generation. And their parents said it of them. “Kids these days” — they’re soft, they’re weak, they don’t know what they have, they’re stupid, they’re drunk, they can’t handle controversy, they dress funny, their music is crap”.

    Complaining about kids these days is always fertile ground. Maybe my generation gets to be the first to be right, but I doubt it.

    Mostly I just wonder when I’ll stop rolling my eyes at the belief that “kids these days” are different and start joining in.

    Because “kids these days” are who they are because of how we raised them — both in what they accepted and what they rejected, even to the things they tend to care about.

    It’s not a surprise people have always said “Kids these days” because part of being a younger generation is rejecting some of the assumptions, beliefs, or values of the previous one. That’s never going to be comfortable, and obviously we’re going to consider them wrong.

    Kids today are feminine and weak? Please. They just have their own standards and fashions. I mean, let’s face it — I wouldn’t have been caught dead in those skinny jeans kids wear today. But my generation? Rocky Mountains, Cavarricis….like I can talk about bad pants, you know?Report

  7. Avatar Rufus F.
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    says:

    The weird thing is that they pick a time in which liberal men are boringly masculine to start worrying about all this. I mean, in the 70s when you have skinny dudes with long hair and every single rock singer is doing drag camp (seriously, people sing now about the swagger of Mick Jagger without even noticing where he got that from??), okay, maybe conservatives can worry about “the decline of masculinity”, but in 2015, when the boys are wearing beards and lumberjack shirts and are as exciting as a plank of wood and the girls dress like grandma?? This is when you start worrying about this?Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Rufus F.
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      says:

      Call it an extension of the slow death of white male prestige and power. 95% of the people I hear complaining about “kids these days” and “SJWs” and “wussification of America” are white males past 35.

      They know things are changing, and don’t like it. Probably not consciously, but they can tell. And blaming the kids is easy.Report

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