November 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
Two things regarding the masculinity-is-a-social-construct-guy.
1. He doesn’t recognize that his own experience of gender is interpreted for him by women via the culture. Men defer to women and derive their sense of moral, civic, and social acceptability from the perception of how they treat women and children. So while men have experiences that are similar to that of other men, the way they understand those experiences is supplied to them by a culture that defers to a female interpretation of male reality. That’s why he’s apologizing for masculinity’s existence and denouncing it – because women denounce it and see it as a problem, threat, a source of oppression, etc. It’s not masculinity as it actually is that he’s denouncing, but masculinity as women imagine it to be. Taken to its extreme, a guy like that could interpret normal emotional responses he may have to things as gender political sins or believe that he should feel guilt for his own natural sexual inclinations.
2. It doesn’t occur to the guy that the forms of masculinity he sees on display within the culture are actually a response to women’s expectations. If he’s truly a “gender fluid nerd,” or whatever, he probably has a lot less experience of actively hitting on women and trying to model himself after what they appear to respond to while avoiding those things they don’t seem to respond to. He imagines this hypermasculine cartoon is somehow the result of the imaginary patriarchy, when in reality it is simply the result of men catering to women’s sexual (and social) preferences.
Why would anyone believe that women have no say-so in what masculinity is? If men are “insecure in their masculinity,” why do we believe that it’s other men, “society,” or “the patriarchy,” making them insecure? What if it’s just women doing it? Do feminists seriously believe that men care more about what other men think than what women think? Do feminists think that men get to decide what women want and expect of them? What happens to men who can’t figure out or adhere to what women expect of them? Whatever portion of masculinity is socially constructed would be just as constructed by women, would it not? If it’s men’s sexual value that is always in question, while women’s is typically guaranteed, then logic suggests that it may even be the case that there is no masculinity apart from women’s preferences. What if the socially constructed portion of masculinity begins and ends with women’s preferences exclusively?
If that’s true and you can prove it, then you can toss feminist theory – all of it – on the ash heap of history, since the only people who could change any of this would be women, not men. If feminists wanted to change it, they’d have to aim their policing and shaming at other women, since the only choice men have is social/sexual invisibility or adhering to the masculine role that women expect. If the source of women’s oppression is hegemonic masculinity and if the origin of hegemonic masculinity is in women’s sexual preferences, then the origin of women’s oppression is women’s sexual preferences. You can flush 40 years of feminist advocacy down the fuckin toilet. Buh bye.
In the article, the author admits that “We have to acknowledge that many self–described nerds tend to be socially and romantically inept.” Isn’t it fascinating how he can’t put two and two together? It never occurs to him that his inability to be classically masculine simply makes him less interesting and attractive to women. The simplest of all competing theories has never even been considered or recognized by him, not even once.
He says, “Whether the woman is knowledgeable or not—even if the woman knows more than the man—in many if not most cases, the man has no intention of engaging with her as an equal. It is simply too threatening to his self–perceived masculinity. In this way the Box becomes an inadvertent shield against intimacy, one that can cripple a man’s ability to form and maintain relationships.” He naturally assumes that his “self perceived masculinity” will never have any relationship to what women perceive as masculine, and to whatever degree he picked up these ideas about masculinity from the culture, it never occurs to him that those ideas might be rooted in men’s experiences of real world women, or that the way men judge themselves and one another is a response to the way they believe women evaluate men and their masculinity.
Why does the author believe that women want his vulnerability or that they would find it attractive? Why does he believe that women want a man who is their equal? What does he base this on?