I’m brainstorming a series that deconstructs Western masculinity.
Heh, I wonder how many knee jerks that got?
I’m still very much a feminist. I don’t see feminism in television’s simplistic reduction to “be what you want,” nor do I believe for a minute feminism is some sort of war on men. (At least, not the type of feminism I practice.) I do believe that feminism does also benefit men, because with the right attitudes and intentions, it also frees men from restrictions about “being a man” that might, someday, get society to look at a person and what a person does, decide, Hey, no one is being hurt or losing something because of this person’s individual decisions, and get on with the whole being society/moving organism thing. I think a culture where it’s simply not possible to emasculate someone because masculinity isn’t even a thing (nor is specifics of femininity) might help people chill out, a lot. Pride, after all, is about hanging on to something that doesn’t serve you or anyone; it’s dignity that matters.
I also don’t subscribe to most of the “It’s Biological!” camp when it comes to human behavior. Genetics are about adaptation and exploration in order to survive, not about “OK, this is it.” We are at the mercy of our genetic combinations up to a point that does include sexual orientation and sexual fluidity, to varying degrees depending on whatever sex-based drama went on up a person’s chromosomal chain. We have certain givens, and beyond those givens, it’s about how much we get conditioned by culture – or choose to think about our conditioning and opt for something different, something we can imagine despite imposed limitations, something that best serves our own pursuit of pleasure.
I also say this as a heterosexual woman who has lived a heteronormative life to date. I know what else is out there, and while I don’t necessarily want those things for myself – unless menopause really does something fancy to my hormones bisexuality is a permanent out for me – I think seeing more of these “not normal” things that harm no one are good. I think we need more of it. I think that the traditional institutions and traditions Republicans and other conservatives fight so hard to protect are in fact what’s destroying society, and a little creative experimentation far and beyond someone else’s self-serving and now world-poisoning belief system might, I dunno … make things better? Rather than going “What does the Bible say?” a moral system that starts with “Is anybody actually being harmed by this?” seems more effective, more reasonable – and way less arrogant.
I think we’ve already gotten that ball rolling, but I also think that while men are most certainly not an endangered species, a little talk – ONLY FOR ONE SERIES, EVER – about how men DON’T have to be might at least put it out there that it’s OK to just BE, whether you like mascara or Marlboro. Yes, a lot of greedy white men still have power, and we can’t fix them. They’re going to hang on to it until the Viagra does nothing. But getting the idea out there that sharing power is in no way LOSING power, and releasing “traditionally masculine” traits that harm people (Mars and Venus BULLSHIT Dr. Gray) including those hanging on to the traits (just as releasing “traditionally feminine” traits can also release potential for harm) creates the possibility of positive strength.
Gender is a knot that’s so impossible to untie replacement of the concept will take about as well as Esperanto, at least for the next fifty years. But I can at least put it out there, trigger the imagination, get someone to consider the possibility of just being rather than “being a man” or “being a woman.”