Bigsley the Oaf

Masculism Post #1 – Feeling Less (Part 1)

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 20, 2012

“Don’t cry, son.”
“Get up.”
“Wipe yourself off.”
“Be tough.”
“Don’t cry, son.”
“Toughen up.”
“Walk it off.”
“Be a man.”
“Don’t be a pussy.”
“Don’t be a wuss.”
“Man up.”

You know what this feels like. This is a father’s hand on your shoulder. “I am like you, son.” They are not mere dicta – they are assertions. “Yes, son, you feel it. You feel it, but it’s OK. Your pain is not as important as what you are.”

Bell Hooks says that men kill off the emotional parts of themselves. Well, OK – but why? Is this  ritualized auto-castration a relic? Is it an artifact of a more difficult time when men needed to make themselves into violent slaves? Without going too far down the rabbit hole of post-post-post-….-post-modernity, is there any “exterior” to society anymore? Is any sort of ritualistic preparation necessary or sane? (What the fuck are we doing?) [1]

If you don’t cut off your emotional bits you can look forward to being ridiculed and basically feeling crazy 100% of the time. I know. I didn’t cut them off. I don’t know how mine survived. I don’t know why I didn’t turn to sports, or drugs, or sex. Maybe it’s because the subcultures associated with these distractions rejected me? Perhaps I was in some weird sense prevented from emotionally numbing myself. [2]

There are various ways that men are stuck in a massive and really painful bind. For example, our emotional hardness hardens the world against us such that we must become even more emotionally hard in order to interact with it. We are violent and the world defensive – so we must bolster our violence. Take pickup-“artistry” for instance. Now that these assholes have created a systematic and idiotic approach to romantic interaction the onus is on the rest of us to act in the context of the defenses it created. I’ve actually considered studying this shit because, at the end of the day, I’m lonely and I want physical touch. [3]

So, part of the reason that they have you cut off your emotional bits is that, if you don’t, you’re at a severe material disadvantage. It will be harder for you to “date” (read: rape/coerce). It will be harder for you to “make money” (read: suckle the teat of an oppressive capitalist hegemony without feeling bad about it). It will be harder for you to “connect with other men” (read: watch sports & talk about how you are going to oppress various people). I have seriously been in many social situations where I wished I was “harder” in this really stupid and superficial sense because I just wanted to talk to that woman, and she certainly wasn’t talking to me.

I suppose I’m a middle-path sorta guy, cuz I don’t think that stoicism is all bad, and I think there are certain implementations of it that are really lovely and valuable and life-affirming. E.g. the ability to do something very hard and painful because it is necessary. Walk those 50 miles in the snow uphill without whining because your family needs food. Kill that animal because it is attacking you. [4] Take my job for instance. I know a lot of people who would mentally collapse doing my job. It is painful & boring & taxing in ways that most of you literally can’t imagine. Can you think hard about numbers very precisely for 8 hours a day? [5] And my job isn’t even hard on a global scale. I’m not a fucking coal miner. Do you think anyone could be a coal miner without being emotionally crippled first? How could they?

I’m not coming to any conclusions, here. I’m merely painting a picture and pointing out some salient points about how society treats its men w/r/t their emotions. It seems too complicated to tackle all at once, so I’ll probably write more about this tomorrow.

[1] What I’m sort of circling around here is some sort of stoic dream of male power where males prepared younger males to be warriors and to do all the difficult shit of dealing with the horrible pain of the exterior of reality – be it battle, hard labor, hunting, etc.

I pretty much always hate it when people talk about how things “used to be” in order to explain how things are. How the fuck do they know? Maybe the past wasn’t really very violent at all. Maybe men prepared themselves to be stoic so that they could oppress their women & children without feeling bad about it. Like, maybe wars were symbolic for the most part. Shaking swords & shitting pants sorta thing. Who the fuck knows?

[2] I like to smoke & do coke because these make me pretty emotionally numb. I just become a mind, functioning – I don’t have all these complex feelings and interests, subtle pangs.

[3] There are times that being a man feels like being at the bottom of a well. You can scream and bang on the walls, but at the end of the day you are what you are – you’re a man – and there is violence in you – and people fear you – and no you cannot just get off this ride.

[4] Though even these feel like they might be hallucinations of the self-reinforcing male violence machine.

[5] We often don’t talk about ways that “cushy” jobs like software developer are really dangerous in various psychological and emotional senses. What are the “dangerous” jobs nowadays? Surely “product manager” is not one.

Well, but so remember how I said I’m not emotionally castrated – this is part of the reason that my job is driving me fucking nuts but when I think about going into something easier I think “I’m not a pussy” and that people won’t respect me if I do something floppy & amorphous like being an artists or writer or whatever.


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