Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Toxic Masculinity

I've been thinking about this crisis in masculinity a lot recently.  As both a teacher and a father of boys, I wonder how to provide the context and wisdom to a generation of men who may harbor some archaic ways of thinking about women.  Last night, a colleague walked into a student room where a kid was saying, "I believe women should have equalish rights."  Equalish?  What does that mean?  Arguments that maybe women have it easier than men in certain settings?  I can see a 15 year old boy thinking that.  But how does anyone feels that women shouldn't have equal rights?

The world - despite what you see on your TV - is a gentler place than it was a decades ago.  And that gentleness redounds to women's benefit.  When you replace physical aggression with demonstrated ability, you advantage skill over brute strength.  And I am firm, also, in my belief that modern elementary education is a terrible model for boys.

But the result of allowing men to feel that they are the real victims is the rise of charlatans like Trump.  His narcissistic predations on women are a natural extension of this line of thinking.  If a woman is an object, she can be treated without considering her experience.  As Josh Marshall and others have pointed out, Trump's entire shtick is dominance.  And the people who want to dominate most - bullies - are often the most wounded and cowardly.

All of this makes Jamelle Bouie's piece important. Donald Trump will not be our next president.  That it will be Hillary Clinton that defeats him is perhaps perfect.

UPDATE: Of course, it's also about racism...

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