Monday, May 18, 2009

Honey, Would You Kill That Crocodile For Me?

Remember the Promise Keepers? They are probably still around, teaching men how to be the high priests of their families (which includes subjugating the wife).

When I first read about their principles I came across a defense of the female subjugation they demand. It went like this: "Is it so much to ask women to subject themselves to men's leadership? Consider that these men are willing to give up their lives for their families if asked! Compared to that, what's a little oppression?"

That's a paraphrase, with some of me thrown in, but what was said is true. The spokesman for Promise Keepers argued that men as the high priests of their families WOULD give their lives in their defense IF it was ever asked, and that is every bit as much as women voluntarily enslaving themselves for the rest of their married lives.

It's very funny. I remember immediately thinking that the women should offer to die in their places if only the men would take over that slave part.

It's not very often people are asked to bravely die in the defense of their families. Indeed it's almost as rare as the opportunity life gives us to wrestle bears and crocodiles. Yet those skills are what makes a man! Pam at Pandagon links to the blurb of a new book on masculinity:

Dear Fellow Conservative:

Today's weak and pusillanimous Nanny State is anything but hospitable to true manhood.

And that's why we need real men more than ever.Ultimate Man's Survival Guide

But our society today offers no clear rite of passage for young men. Instead, every male must learn how to be a man as best he can—after all, such knowledge isn't written in our genetic codes.

That's why Frank Miniter's The Ultimate Man's Survival Guide is a Godsend! It gives young men what they need to become not effete "metrosexuals" skilled at the ins and outs of high fashion and cocktail chat, but well-rounded men who can fight off bears and alligators, create a tourniquet out of a t-shirt, set a dislocated joint, rescue a drowning person—and pick the perfect cigar and bottle of wine.

I'm eagerly awaiting the hordes of conservative men walking around Manhattan puffing on the perfect cigar and carrying a baseball bat in readiness for the alligators and bears. What fun!

But note that first sentence in the quote. You can't make misogynism much more obvious without saying it out loud, and that's why I still wonder about women who choose to spend time in the conservative political circles.

The Wall Street Journal had a related book review last weekend. It's all about the emasculation of fathers:

In the most affluent parts of the Western world, a historic transference of power has taken place that is greater than anything achieved by the trade-union movement, the women's movement or the civil-rights movement -- and it hasn't even been extended the courtesy of being called a movement. Fathers, who enjoyed absolute authority within the household for several millennia, now find themselves at the beck and call of their wives and children. Indeed, most of my male friends are not fathers in any traditional sense at all; they occupy roughly the same status in their households as the help. They don't guide their children through the moral quandaries of life -- they guide them to their extracurricular activities from behind the wheel of a Dodge minivan


"Home Game," Mr. Lewis's account of becoming a father to his three children, begins promisingly. "At some point in the last few decades, the American male sat down at the negotiating table with the American female and -- let us be frank -- got fleeced," he writes.

The poor sucker agreed to take on responsibility for all sorts of menial tasks -- tasks that his own father was barely aware of -- and received nothing in return. If he was hoping for some gratitude, he was mistaken. According to Mr. Lewis: "Women may smile at a man pushing a baby stroller, but it is with the gentle condescension of a high officer of an army toward a village that surrendered without a fight."

Mmm. They probably forgot those crocodile wrestling skills. Poor, poor fathers! To fall from such a height (high priest of the family) to nothing more than...the level of women! How sad! How frightening.

I have written about these topics seriously and sensitively and with compassion towards men in the past. But this time I won't, because neither of the linked pieces shows any courtesy to women at all.