If you can’t get past the anger, Megan Rosker writes, nothing will change.
I know I’m coming late to the party on the discussion of feminism that has recently transpired on the Good Men Project. In fact I have been so wrapped up in preparing for the holidays that the news that Hugo Schwyzer had resigned didn’t reach me until a friend passed on his recent post. In her email to me she simply wrote, “Thoughts?”
I clicked on the link and immediately dove into the deep depths of this discussion. After a few minutes of reading and ranting to my husband, I sat head in hands, deflated. Once again, here we are in the 21st century talking about Stone Age feminism. I found it hard to believe that this group of intelligent people could be reduced so quickly to a pack of squabbling ninnies—like hens in the hen house pecking furiously at the ground, vying for the better roost until, finally, one hen storms out in a huff.
Yes, I am well aware of the blatant use of feminine stereotypes in that last paragraph, because this argument has personified each and every one of them. Many of those in this discussion have acted exactly like the hysterical stereotype that Mr. Schywzer is trying so hard to defend women against!
Now, are men really putting women down or are women doing it to themselves? Have women now taken up the torch of systematically betraying themselves over and over and over again? It is this constant betrayal that causes the aggression and frustration that leads to the verbal lashing out that Mr. Matlack veers away from in conversations with feminists. Why should Mr. Matlack or any man have to listen to such abuse and put up with being attacked?
We learn as children that two wrongs don’t make a right. There is no denying that women have been belittled in the past and in many ways still are, but does that mean we have a right to do the same to men? If Mr. Schwyzer somehow misunderstood and thought that Mr. Matlack was fearful of getting physically beaten by a pack of feminist in a back alley in Boston, I think he is tragically less informed about the habitual rhythms of gender relations than he has led us all to believe. But I don’t think that is actually the case. In fact, this sort of mockery of Mr. Matlack’s distaste for feminist anger is a way of painting Mr. Matlack as simply not tough enough to take a little rough dialogue.
What I think we have seen unfold here is what happens when the resentment, frustration, and repression of women is allowed to dominate the collective discussion. It has lead to the two male stereotypes that Mr. Matlack tries to walk between on GMP. On one side is the metrosexual man, the man that has been feminized to the point of being acceptable to angry feminists, and on the other side the man who sits on the couch, belching and treating his spouse like Alice on The Honeymooners.
I love the term gaslighting that Yashir Ali coined in his piece that set off this whole chain of discussions. With this term he is referring back to an old Ingrid Bergman movie, Gaslight, in which Bergman is tricked by her husband into believing she is nuts so he can steal her money. The premise Ali is working with is that woman have been tricked into believing they are crazy so that men can steal their power, but are men really stealing anyone’s power at this point? Or are women undermining themselves?
Who is betraying women more: ignorant men supporting an ignorant, out-dated chauvinist culture or the women who, every day, choose to do things the way a man would? We don’t take a job or stay home with our kids without consulting the bible of patriarchy. We don’t buy a house, get married, shop, parent, or vote outside of the strict guidelines of patriarchy. If we think we can move past the patriarchal system by being angry with it, we are kidding ourselves. The only way to move past it is through the expression of the feminine.
As a woman, I know for fact that I have more to express than anger and resentment toward men, and my time is better spent being true to my nature, leading as a woman and as a mother, rather than arguing outdated gender philosophy with women—and men—who prefer to carry a torch of repression and resentment. It is this repression that leads to the anger that causes men like Mr. Schwyzer to leave GMP in a huff.
Mr. Schwyzer, I dare say you are acting a bit like the hysterical women you are so vehemently looking to defend.
What makes me smile just a little devilishly is this: Mr. Schywzer, you have just been gaslighted. Your power was stolen away from you. Your identity as a feminist is just what those angry clucking hens want you to be. Now you haven’t been tricked into being crazy. Rather, you have simply been manipulated into doing the bidding for repressed, resentful feminist. They want you to be their knight, to defend their anger and their repression, their rebellion and their war against the patriarchy. They want you to justify what they cannot completely justify by themselves. With a few male feminists that represent their voice, however, their plan is complete.
They will have their final revenge on the male population, slowly eradicating and undermining the masculine, and yet never having to expose all the inherent weakness they feel about being female. They never have to uncover the true nature of being feminine because, god forbid … what if they really are hysterical and crazy under their feminist armor? See, these “feminists” all drank the Kool Aid too. Their principles are still set firmly within a patriarchal structure. Male feminists who defend the female anger and resentment and don’t encourage women to express themselves naturally are their unknowing spies, their puppets. They are the final step in a decades-long plan to seek revenge on the male species, to slowly manipulate the male population into feeling the guilt they deserve to feel for the centuries of abuse women suffered and lacked any voice to express.
Somewhere, high above the clouds, I picture a big fat, white man, the God of Gender Wars, smoking a cigar, sitting behind a large oak desk, and looking down on us. He leans back, laughing hysterically as we run about clucking like chickens, roaring insults and storming off when we think our feelings are hurt. With tears of laughter rolling down his bloated face, he stutters to say, “How stupid could they be? I can’t believe it worked! I never thought it would work and yet look at them! Look at them! They are destroying each other!” Then he sits back and cackles and his laugh bellows through history.
He understands that women will never find an ounce of power this way. He sleeps easy at night knowing that his precious patriarchy is in good hands and won’t be destroyed any time soon.
—Photo paul (dex)/Flickr