The best way of understanding the significant loss of real masculinity in American culture is to first explore the plight of women living with the insufferable consequences of their self-constructed prisons. It is the oddest paradox of the feminist movement that in order to be equal with men, a woman must reject the realities of her own biology and then subdue the biology of quite literally everyone else – both men and other women – in order to achieve the liberty she so desires.
When I talk about the realities of biology, by the way, I'm not just referencing reproduction. I'm talking about a holistic view of personhood. It is true that the Left sees ovulation as an affliction to be overcome in order for women to meet their self-imposed benchmarks for achieving the right kind of life, but reproduction isn't the only casualty in the war between the sexes.
Reproduction is just a small part of the bigger loss. For the complete lockdown on fertility to be accomplished, lifestyles, career selections, fields of study, fashion and personal pronouns must too be locked down as a way of limiting the wrong kind of life choices and for both sexes. Alas, one of the many problems with modern feminism is that America's more publicly steadfast feminists cannot conceive of a mode of freedom that does not require control and subjugation as their chosen road to equivalence.
Achieving the right kind of life…this speaks volumes to the Left's dismal record on actual choice, and this means that liberal feminists are the worst of all xenophobes because the object of disdain is the unpredictability of life itself and this is born of a most irrational fear of deficiency. Observe:
If a woman is to be truly free, she must have an access to education that equals that of her male counterparts. If a woman is to be truly free, she must have access to a career path that equals that of her male counterparts. If a woman is to be truly free, she must have access to a level of wealth and health that equals that of her male counterparts…I suspect that this is how we end up with a health care mandate that requires men to purchase gynecological coverage if you don't mind me saying so, but I digress. I can't help it. I may never get over just how stupid that is.
If a woman is to be free, she must be able to explore her sexuality without consequence just as men purportedly can; she must never feel objectified; she must never feel rejected; she must never feel inadequate; she must never be bogged down with unwanted children; her wanted children must not interfere with her pursuit of opportunity; her marriage must behave in a way so that she will never let down the sisterhood. Deficiency in any one of these standards constitutes a miscarriage in social justice for women everywhere and no exceptions to the rule are allowed.
In short, a woman cannot truly be equal unless…no. There's no unless. By the standards of liberal feminism, a woman can never be free because the locus of her self-worth is external and will eventually meet up with something that exists outside her hermetically sealed hallucination of what the world could be if it would simply follow her rules.
Time Magazine offers a recent post by Camille Paglia entitled, "It's a Man's World and it Always Will Be" in which Paglia discusses the roles of men and women in society and the inherent flaws of unbridled feminism. From a modern feminist's viewpoint, it must be a pretty startling perspective that she takes because Ms. Paglia doesn't necessarily think that being a masculine man is a bad thing that must be subdued. This theory runs contrary to every social cue that pop culture can throw at a man or woman. As a matter of fact, one might be surprised to learn that, at least for the length of time that it takes to produce an article for Time Magazine, Ms. Paglia thought men and the differences that they bring to the table are maybe even a little important – not more important mind you, but just as important as those that women bring. Quoting from Camille Paglia:
"Is it any wonder that so many high-achieving young women, despite all the happy talk about their academic success, find themselves in the early stages of their careers in chronic uncertainty or anxiety about their prospects for an emotionally fulfilled private life? When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honor their commitments. And without strong men as models to either embrace or (for dissident lesbians) to resist, women will never attain a centered and profound sense of themselves as women."
Contrast this with the primordial wisdom of Gloria Steinem who once said, "We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters."
Courage? You see, it's courageous to stunt the natural tendencies of men in order to theoretically improve the lives of women. It's audacious to hobble a woman's femininity so that she can administer the payback that men have coming to them for daring to be born sans ovaries. It's an act of bravery to afflict the males of our species with phantasmic roles of irrelevance that leave them believing that they are inconsequential or bestial. Isn't that what every woman wants for her newborn son? That he should have no more validity than as that which serves feminism best? Should a mother be looking into the eyes of her own flesh and blood and delighting in the joke that's on him?
This deplorable stereotype diminishes personhood into a specious war between estrogen and testosterone and demonstrates how badly Steinem and the whole of liberal feminism get it wrong. At the heart of this epicene solution for a better society lives the gold standard of cliché that modern feminism perpetuates by ignoring the essence of individuality that each human being represents. And now we are speaking directly to the dangers of tangible materialism for to direct the emotional and intellectual growth of men in a way that inhibits natural development with the excuse that in doing so we are improving the feminine experience denies each and every person's gift of potential – men and women alike.
Yet this cookie cutter solution to the complexity of personhood is by now so institutionalized that society actually suffers for the deficiencies caused by culturally inflicted limitations. America is becoming lopsided while her people are cattle driven into the pursuit of politically correct happiness as if to do otherwise is to fail.
Think about it. All children must begin their school career at the age of three whether they are ready for it or not. All children must attend public school until the age of eighteen at which time they will be graduated whether they have earned it or not. All young adults will attend at least four years of college whether they can succeed or not and in doing so, they will take on thousands upon thousands of dollars of debt whether they can pay for it or not so they can work in socially appropriate jobs whether there are any or not.
And I want you to know that as much as I would like to claim credit for original thinking in that last paragraph about the distressing lack of options for America's next generations, I just borrowed heavily from Mike Rowe…yes, that Mike Rowe… by parroting his misgivings about living lives of perfect equity. Now, as far as I know, Mr. Rowe hasn't discussed his concerns in terms of feminism or the loss of masculinity. For him, it boils down to this:
A trillion dollars in student loans. Record high unemployment. Three million good jobs that no one seems to want. The goal [of Profoundly Disconnected] is to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success.
Rowe sees the problem we are facing as a "skills gap" produced by the mistaken belief that there is only one right path to achievement. I see the "skills gap" as the symptom because there would be no skills gap if we weren't telling young people that some work is simply beneath them or that they have failed if they deviate from our narrowly defined depiction of success.
Mike Rowe says, "Hey wait. Not everyone is built for four years of Ivy League and there are plenty of good paying jobs that are in the skilled trades."
And you know what, he's right and that message is a pretty good one to communicate, but it's also incomplete because we're still just talking about the good living that we're all going to make which leads us right back to the central flaw of materialism. Not capitalism, mind you. Capitalism is a system of economics. Materialism is rather a philosophical system of superficiality which regards matter as the only reality in the world.
Materialism values automation and has no time for nonconformity. It cannot conceive of a person that defies disadvantage to become a great leader any more than it can understand a person who rejects privilege to become a pauper. In such a system, male and female must be interchangeable to keep the line moving forward. Offspring must be flawless or discarded. Work must be assigned and endured rather than embraced as a gift of experience. It is a soulless existence to be sure and ought to be despised in favor of individualism every time it rears its ugly head.
With so few people being alert to the possibilities that life offers to those with an ounce of imagination in them, it leads one to mourn the large scale annihilation of potential.