Tuesday 27 August 2019

ContraPoints on Men and Masculine Crisis

Great video essay on disposable men, invisibility, privilege and existential angst, traps with straps, and the necessity of forging a non-toxic masculinity for the 21st century. A superb piece.


Dialectician1 said...

An interesting video essay, thanks. In it, Natalie Wynn is very entertaining but I’m not convinced by her analysis. She draws heavily on Warren Farrell’s stuff (The Myth of Male Power) and concludes that ‘gender is broken; it doesn’t work anymore’. Today, manhood is viewed as toxic.

She worries about the SYM (sad young men who sit at home playing video games and watching porn), who are intensely estranged by a world that no longer needs ‘warriors’ or ‘muscular labour’; they suffers from an existential angst (the disease of privilege, as she describes it); and then go on to become easy recruits to the alt right. According to Wynn, men (particularly black men) are both invisible and dangerous, especially to white women. Wynn was once a man who became a white women.

Wynn, however, has no truck for the ‘far left’, who she feels, offers these SYM no solution to their angst. As she says, ‘there would still be gender even if we get rid of capitalism’. She is, of course, correct about the left not offering ‘a positive ideal of manhood’. The left have mostly dodged the issue of the crisis of masculinity. They have effectively handed this cultural hot potato over to the zealots of evolutionary psychology & socio-biology. The likes Jordan Peterson can then have a field day.

What’s missing in this blog is class. Wynn makes a glancing reference to Hegel and his grand theory that contradictions exist within any given set of accepted ideals at any time. These contradictions will eventually bring about the change, often revolutionary. Yet, Wynn evades any analysis of the ontological reality that she lives in a class-based capitalist society, with its contradictions of ever widening inequality and eco-destruction. The experience of gender, like race, is not class neutral. The experience of what it means to be ‘a man’ is therefore contextual. Who needs warriors when a global ruling class can impose imperial domination by drones? Who needs muscular labour when we have robotics & anyway, most labour in the west is immaterial?

Wynn’s analysis is also ahistorical. Today men are viewed as a problem. But working class men have always been a problem. For their bosses and political masters, they have always been difficult to discipline. They are agentic: they rebel, fight for better conditions, go on strike but they are also prone to hopelessness. Sometimes they choose fascism or misogyny or suicide.

Anonymous said...

Great summary from the Dialectician1.

of course we could go to town on the problem with women and femininity, I mean have you seen their magazines! Their crass and base materialism etc etc etc. Sitting in their bedrooms painting their nails, oh the trials and tribulations of womankind!

But we won't do that because we are meant to be gentlemen, right!

It is also interesting to note how feminism targets the zeta males, the most weak and vulnerable, i.e. those alienated souls who sit in their bedrooms watching porn etc, but don't vent their rage at the alpha males, you know the ones dating the crass materialist women!

Anonymous said...

the big question about men is why so many?

in some fish, when the dominant male disappears the dominant female becomes a fully equipped male. This change illustrates the point of males - to move genes between females. We don't need a 1:1 ratio to do this. A 10:1 women to men would be sufficient. That's a lot of surplus men to feed and keep happy.

If a woman does nothing but sit in her room, men will come and find her and use her for reproductive purposes. If a men sits in his room and does nothing, then no woman is ever going to seek him out; she will be too busy fending of the other men who are actively chasing her. Hence men and women's existential problems are almost the opposite; a woman's is how to prevent her life being defined by her reproductive capability, and a man's is how to construct his life to be reproductively successful.

So competition is endemic to men. They need to be able to prove themselves, to prove they are worthy of being selected for reproduction. If we deny men the opportunity to take risk, to achieve, to impress, they cease to have any point. As the stats show.