Saturday, 7 January 2012

Post-feminism tells us we are free, yet everywhere we are in chains.

The realities that men face in society are down to the pressures that culture puts on them. Some of these pressures are external, tangible, and we can observe them pretty easily.

One such pressure is the idea that men should be the bread winners. At its core, this is not the idea that men should be the source of financial income in a family purely, but more the idea that men should be in some way reliable, that they should be able to perform duties in predictable and consistent ways.

This is why our culture associates creativity with femininity. Only women are allowed to be ambivalent and erratic, emotionally mysterious. For a man to be like this is one of the greatest crimes he can possibly commit. Because by allowing his behaviour to rely too much on creative uncertainty, experiment and emotional exploration, he puts a spanner in the works of an industrialised or militarised culture.

The simple fact of masculine biology, the hormonal structure, the physicality of being a man, is what has enslaved men in this culture. Men are valued for their physical output. We are literally cannon fodder. Our value is in how useful we are to the society.

This is becoming increasingly true of women, but contrary to the popular view, I do not see this "equality" as beneficial for women or society as a whole. It just objectifies women in new ways. It just objectifies them in the more subtle and, I would argue, more insidious ways that men have been objectified.

The pressure on men then, is to be useful, and not just a little bit. Crucially, male self-esteem is valued in their functionality over the piece. Men are measured, whether the post-feminist wants to admit it or not, by their capacity to suppress their true selves in the name of a particular, socially valued goal, and to be able to do so consistently and preferably over the course of their whole lives.

This is the idea of duty. It is the idea that men find their salvation as worthwhile beings, through their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the sake of loyalty to a cause, to their families, or even the simple idea of loyalty and masculinity itself.

(This is highly valued in our culture. That a man should sacrifice his instincts and creative desires in order to simply demonstrate loyalty for loyalty's sake).

The cultural feedback of post-feminism tells itself that men are no longer required to perform the sacrofice of consistent usefulness. It tells itself, that given the strides that women have made in society, men are now free from the Patriarchal bonds that used to strangle them.

This is the most destructive form of nonesense and self-delusional propaganda, and I think it charcterises the Madonna-Beyoncee-Sex In The City-malaise that we are forced to confront in contemporary culture.

Men are no more free as a result of Feminism than they ever were. In fact, there is a risk, if post-feminism is allowed to bastardise itself unexamined, that the enslavement of men will become deeper and more intangible. That men will be required to fulfill this demand of usefulness, at the same time believing that they are free from it.

There is no greater form of oppression, than the oppression done by convincing the oppressed that they are now free. This is exactly what post-feminism is. It is a form of cultural feedback, a commercial self-hypnosis that breeds consumerism out of a sincere desire to be free.

That is why the distinction between genuine Feminism and the default confusion of post-feminism is vital and timely. The politics of freedom embodied by the great Feminist heroes risks being subsumed into the capitalist pathology, in much the same way as the words of Martin Luther King are used to enfranchise black consumers, rather than black citizens.

The most dangerous idea to male liberation, and also Feminism itself, is the idea that there is no more work to be done, that in light of female enfranchisment, men are now free from the chains of homogeny and Patriarchy. If anything, the opposite is the case.

Men are required, more than ever, to make themselves useful, and in a society of prudential economics, their self-esteem is more and more about the role that they perform, rather than the humanity they naturally express.

Radical masculinity must take its own stand. It must put experimentation, and an almost infantile love of exploration of the self, back at the heart of its own self-image.

The progress of masculinity is not, and never fucking should be, measured by the extent to which a man is sensitive to his partner's needs, how good he is in the bedroom, how supportive he is of the Feminist project. All these notions are just ideas grounded in the material, homogeous idea of the male. They still value men for how useful they are.

(Incidentally, the radical, avant-garde male will naturally support the Feminist. It is a no brainer. But he would not do it out of a sense of duty or obligation. He would do it because he is an evolved fucking human being. It would proceeed naturally from his own rooted empowerment).

What I am saying comes down to this. That a truly radical masculinity would eject the language of failure from its own dialogue. One cannot fail to be a man, because one's masculinity is not measured in his capability to perform a task, whether it is DIY or eating pussy.

In fact, true masculinity is by its nature immeasurable, because true human potential is not measured against a set of arbitrary ideas of functionality.

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