'Male' forms of power have tended to dominate our society. I won’t speculate on why, because, you know, I don’t want violate the sanctity of Ockham’s Razor. But because public life is dominated by ‘masculine’ values, or should we say a biased towards physical and materialist power, rather than emotional and psychological power, men have occupied the positions of power.
What was originally called ‘patriarchy’ was just the line of inheritance. Patriarchal entitlement was a materialist conception. It’s about property and political sovereignty. In the process of the sexual and feminist revolutions it has come to be used as an abstract term to mean, well, almost anything you want really. The danger of this term is that it has come to be used as a short-hand for something that doesn’t exist. That is, a mythical superstructure of universal male dominance.
Now in challenging this, you risk being scorned. To challenge the idea that men, or maleness, dominates all areas of sexual and gender politics, is seen as a betrayal of the revolution. Immediately you are placed in the same category as a reactionary, or a sexist, and more recently, a troll.
It seems to me that a troll is really just anyone who disagrees with you. It’s convenient way of dismissing challenges to your orthodoxies. It’s a way of maintaining the righteous moral high ground while putting yourself in the role of the victim. It’s the ultimate consummation of a passive aggressive mentality.
There is a great difference between acknowledging that a particular set of values related to military and physical power have dominated most of human history, and claiming that men as a collective culture, are the dominating class.
To say that a certain kind of barbaric and primitive masculinity has formed a culturally constrictive social order based on repression and physical force, is not the same as concluding that all men are more privileged than women.
The reason these two interpretations are distinct is very simple, though it is systematically overlooked, especially by the amateur feminist. The amateur feminist is just someone who uses the language of equality to justify their own hatred of and resentment of men, and if you challenge them then you are a misogynist. Such people appropriate the noble politics of the women’s movement to cover up their own sexual pathologies.
The simple reason for making this distinction is the common sense observation that many, if not most, men do not themselves subscribe to the so-called patriarchal values of dominance, sexual coercion and hegemonic power that have formed the foundations of our society.
One central tenet of what is grossly and inaccurately called The Patriarchy, is ‘The Divine Right of Kings.’ In fact, the very notions of entitlement and privilege, whether they are gender oriented or class oriented are at the roots of our society. Feminism itself emerged in parallel to the workers movement and the rise of democratic protest. Feminism, then, is one part of a wider humanist movement towards emancipation from all notions of entitlement and privilege.
The emancipation of women continues to cause a devastating revolution in our cultural assumptions. Archaic notions of privilege and power are challenged at their very root by the simple idea that women are entitled to the equal political and public privileges of men. That is, that they can take part in society and the economy and government of a given society on the same terms as men. The fact that this took so long to start happening is shameful beyond words, but to write it off with lazy short hand and blame it on the The Patriarchy is silly.
It’s silly because what we are saying when we do that, is that men are NATURALLY threatened by women, and that according to some mysterious fact about their make up, they NATURALLY will tend towards the hatred and subjugation of women as a matter of course. In an un-hindered state, according to The Patriarchy theorists, men will seek to dominate women... just because. Women on the other hand, are powerless in the face of this. In all areas of life, sexual and public, women are the oppressed class, and men are the oppressors. There maybe examples of men who are not like that, but overall and ‘broadly speaking’ men, or masculinity as a culture, is inherently driven by an intoxication with its own privilege.
Most of the people who say that feminism is just demand for equality for women, are lying. We can very often use liberal values to justify our own agenda. Imperialist regimes are very good at doing that. Alexander the Great genuinely believed his own myth about bringing democracy and learning to the dark lands of the earth. Many people still believe it. The British justified their their imperial interests in India the middle east and Africa as bringing civilisation to barbaric peoples, despite the fact that much of the language and ideas that Britain appropriated for itself originated in the places they claim to be bringing out of the dark ages. The genocide of North American native tribes was, and still is, justified as a necessary step towards creating the land of the free.
The rhetoric of freedom is used and abused at will. You can cover up an infinite amount of evils if you claim, in some sense. to be ‘setting your people free’.
The sexual revolution is at an impasse. Most men now actively yearn to carry on the great tradition of liberation that the early feminists initiated. They themselves have been liberated from ideals of masculinity and hegemonic power, entitlement and physical slavery. And they have the women’s movement to thank for it.
What we can all agree on, however, is that much is still to be done. Women still do not own their sexuality. Rape is still a political tool, and in some countries, it is an institution. When poverty strikes it is the women, the mothers and the householders, that feel the full brunt of the impact. Instead of taking the lead from women in society, we still reduce them to child-making machines.
The solution however, is not Beyonce. It is not ‘ban bossy’. It is not commercialism, trickle-down, ladette culture, and nor is the feminist messiah not going to be prancing around like Rihanna, regurgitating pop-cliches and behaving like the worst male, creepy pervert, in a woman’s body.
The mainstream, western and bourgeois rendering of female empowerment is nothing more than a regurgitation of aggressive Machiavellian sexual power games and psychological bullying. Popular feminism is suffocating itself in sexual narcissism, and yet the women of India and North Africa languish in constrictive and violent forms of misogyny.
There is a reason why men rise to the top in corporate environments, and it has little to do with a glass ceiling. In truth, the corporate environment, which is really just a legacy of patriarchal and imperial ideology, is a crucible of satanic pathologies and archaic masculine values that seek to rule through fear and where elevation and empowerment mean the systematic destruction of enemies and competitors. In short, the values of such a society mean that a certain kind of man rises to the top, and everyone else - man or woman - is no more than a slave to the power-structure, a ‘human resource’ primed for exploitation through media conditioning.
True feminism, and the campaign for universal human emancipation, are the same thing. Corporate values, aggressive, unaccountable power, sexual exploitation and bullying, are the enemies of human emancipation.
One of the areas in which men in particular must contribute to this project of emancipation, is in exploring the internal relationship they have with their sexuality. Men, as a culture generally, have an infantile and destructive relationship with their sexuality. One of the reasons this has been allowed to continue, is because it actually forms a very useful basis for exploiting men.
In every man lies the need to escape the chains of his sexuality. A need to be free of women, and the compulsive sexual needs and natural urges that they feel as a result of sexuality.
Make no mistake, what is not being said here, is not that this is in any way the fault of women. But misogyny emerges from this conflict in men. They want something but they hate that they want it, and the culture leaves them with a bankrupt set of destructive and insidious memes and myths about the way that they can seek and discover their own sexual power.
Sexuality, as we all know, has a nasty habit of usurping the rational and analytical mind. In short, the urge over which we have no control, lands us in hot water relentlessly. The masculine values spoken of earlier, those which are crudely and inaccurately written off as The Patriarchy, exacerbate these conflicts.
If we are to progress, and the women’s movement is to reach the true goal of emancipation and equality, then we must as a culture be willing to look into the horrifying truth and darkness of male sexuality. This darkness and primitive urge, and the friction generated in male psychology as rational men confront their own conflicts, has formed the backbone of our imperialist and corporate economic culture, and it is the bedrock of advertising. It suits our society to commend men to be gentlemen in one breath, and bombard them with images of impossible sexual fulfillment in another. What this means is that to be a man in this society is to be like a functioning addict, a volatile mix of shameful energies and contradictory desires. And then we wonder why, especially in areas of poor education and poverty, that rape and misogyny are near-institutional values. Shame on us.
One more thing is clear. The post-MTV excuse for feminism has more to do with continuing this form of psychological divide and conquer, than it does emancipation. To say that ALL men are privilged by nature, compared to ALL women is inane. What is true is that violence and exploitation are part of the common practice of sexuality.
The pop-culture meme of the woman who beats the man at his own game is not an emancipatory ideal. Rather it is a reactionary and conservative, corporately convenient form of perpetuating barbaric values - all the while selling it to the population as the liberation of women. And anyone who attacks it or takes issue with it, is a misogynist.
As Fredrich Nietzsche pointed out in Will to Power, a true revolution is not the replacement of one power hierarchy with another. The sad truth is that most revolutions end in this way. And the great thing about a revolution is that the new power oligarchy gets to dismiss its challengers as enemies of the revolution itself.
This blog has taken a lot of flack for being a resentful and bitter, closeted-MRA diatribe. According to some people the only reason I write this stuff is because I am bitter, don’t get laid, and I have a problem with powerful women. Most of the time I can pass off this toxic drivel, but sometimes it really makes me sick to my stomach. Sometimes it paralyses me. Of course that’s what it is designed to do.
People who say this are really running away from emancipation. Emancipation from exploitative values means we give up, within ourselves, any aspiration to being king, to being the dominant party. True revolutions are only sustainable when they do not replace the ancien regime with a new ruling party. Liberalism in general has become a way for lower middle class people to elevate themselves to nobility status. The outsiders get to feel like they are the insiders, the top dogs. The same has happened with post-feminism. It is corporate and exploitative values, cultural bullying, through the back door.
The sexual revolution requires sexual emancipation. And this emancipation requires that we examine we, all of us regardless of gender, examine our relationships to power, our need for it, and our lust for it. And for the feminist revolution to truly do justice to the great leaders of its early, radical past, we all must examine what we have to gain from perpetuating archaic power relations in sexuality, regardless of what rhetoric we use to congratulate ourselves on our progressive thinking.