Masculinity as a curse? Baloney

30 08 2010

I have a really busy day ahead and, as a result probably won’t have much time to blog on much. But, I’m finding the time to quickly address this article that showed up in my reader this morning:

Real Life: The Curse of Masculinity in The Independent (Ireland)

It’s really a pity that articles like this get published still. I thought we were past the whole men think only with their pricks and that’s why there are so many problems in the world. The article is one archaic stereotype after another:

“That’s why men engage in risk-taking behaviour. We think with our willies and our willies are not very intelligent!

“The reason masculinity is not fit for purpose is because men will always put short-term gain ahead of long-term interest.

“Men are the ones who gamble, who commit most of the crime, rape and murder, and who indulge in risky sex.”

The conclusion is that men engage in these behaviors because they’re so vulnerable and have such a need to overcompensate for the fact. This is just such a crusty old, stale, unremarkable conclusion that it hardly deserves comment at all. I’ll admit I’m not familiar with the state of masculinity in Ireland, but I do have a hard time believing that it’s still 1983 there. Mostly, I think it’s always a pity that articles like this focus only on deviant expressions of masculinity. It’s a lopsided and clumsy take on the subject, one that is matched with an equally stale “solution”:

Education is the key, he believes.

“You have to start by educating fathers to raise their children to be non-masculine, and to value vulnerability and tenderness in little boys.”

Fathers should also learn to be more intimate with their little boys, he believes.

“Many men are afraid of this because of anxieties around homosexuality, so they are far less tender and affectionate with their little boys than with their little girls.”

Might I suggest, instead, that we avoid doing a lot of damage-damage, after all, is what the author is concerned about-by not equating a masculine identity with being diseased and in need of a cure?

Heavy sigh.

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2 responses

30 08 2010
Ruthie

Now, I’m on my third G&T (it’s late here) and am also not an expert on Irish social politics, but without wanting to defend the article, I would imagine the circumstances in which an article like this gets published include the very high rate of unemployment in Ireland and also the whole priest-scandal, which from my very distant, raging-leftie-Guardian-reading observation has rocked Ireland like no other country, including Italy. While that doesn’t mean that all Irish men are unemployed child-molesters, I think that an article like this, and the publication of the book it’s reviewing, in Ireland’s most purchased paper, is actually quite revelatory of some of the current zeitgeisty, pop-psych-y issues in Eire. Okay, as I’ve just turned Zeitgeist into an adjective, I’m going to finish my drink and go to bed. I totally agree with you, by the way.

30 08 2010
robdougherty

Oh yeah, if Buffy and Giles ever had a love-child, I’m pretty sure “zeitgeisty” would make it’s way into parlance. Were you and I younger, maybe you could be that love-child!

I hadn’t considered the priest scandals as part of the equation, because, again, I consider that primarily deviant and priests aren’t really part of the “masculinity” equation on that scale. But, I’m open to the idea that it’s a factor there.

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