Bigsley the Oaf

Masculism Post #1 – Feeling Less (Part 2 – Think/Perform/Kill)

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 21, 2012

This mini-essay will be slightly more conjectural and personal than the previous two.

A personal anecdote. Let’s try to reconstruct the manner of my own personal emotional disembowelment. A few early memories stick out, but the one that comes back to me repeatedly is of sitting next to my mother while she asks me simple math problems. I was very good at math, at a young age. I would answer each of her problems and she was so happy. She had a good little boy who could perform.

Men are trained to perform from a young age. One belief that I have about the underpinnings of the central gender binary of White America c. 1980-2012 is the differentiation into performance/dynamic value (male) and beauty/static value (female).

Boys play sports (performance test).
Girls play with dolls (representations of themselves).

Boys do math (perform transformations).
Girls read books/study humanities (study essence/beauty).

Stereotypically male behaviors mainly take the form of an action or transformation – men become. Men change. A man’s truth is experienced though his becoming – even the culmination of his sexual journey is a performance (maintain erection and implant).

Stereotypically female behaviors mainly take the form of a being. She is beautiful – she is talented. She produces or creates from her essence. A woman’s truth is experienced through her being – the culmination of her sexual journey is a production from barest materials.

Please understand that none of this is meant to essentialize men or women. I don’t believe that these properties are in any sense inherent. They might be. Who cares? The fact is that if you study those around you carefully you can see that this truth underlies their gender expression.

My reason for presenting these gross generalizations is to describe what I see as the orienting ideology for the transformative power of the Patriarchy.

If I had been female my mother would have treated me differently.

Let’s zoom in on the interaction I presented at the beginning of this post. My mother sat next to me, praising me when I succeeded. And I succeeded. I was becoming and she was leading me down the path of my becoming. But more than this, she was embedding a pleasurable role-based dynamic in my psyche. Namely, the desire to transform in order to please a dominant figure capable of giving pleasure. [1]

How does this relate to feeling less? I believe that pleasure and pain exist on a different plane of psycho-intellectual existence from the usual “emotions” such as anger, happiness, sadness, etc. Pleasure and pain are signals strewn along a path of performance/transformation. Emotions are storms that rage in a static resting. Without going too deeply into questions of “what is emotion” and “what are pleasure/pain” (because don’t get me started) I’m just going to state my beliefs plainly. I don’t think you can experience an emotion for very long if you are concentrating on action. [2] I believe that concentration on action on a long-enough timescale can diminish or entirely erase one’s ability to feel. Feeling is a static action. Here I am differentiating feeling from intuition. Let’s try to be very clear – we’re wading through an awfully murky semantic bog at the moment. Men are prepared to be unfeeling – but they are not merely stripped of their feeling. They are made to be unfeeling by being deprived of the ability to be/rest. They are presented with goals, achievements, performances to strive for.

Violence may as well be defined as an “inability to rest.”

Whereas the Patriarchy’s logic allows females the ability to exist statically (though deprives them of the tools to perform/transform) it deprives men of this ability. Men’s goals are defined in terms of greater potential to transform. E.g. take the highest male goal of modernity – the accrual of monetary and political power. These powers are essentially transformative. They have no essence or resting power. E.g. Modern Man does not wish to accumulate jewels – except insofar as they can be transformed into cash and then used to transform reality. Man is not prepared by society to desire a permanence – he is trained to desire greater and greater potentials for transformation. Even the archetype of the king is basically the ultimate transformer. The ultimate fantasy implanted in male children from a young age is ultimate power – but power to do what?

Let me return again to my premise – that what I am explaining here is the logic of the classical Patriarchy. I personally believe that sexual men (having penises) are capable of being. Let me arrive at my first central idea of Masculism:

In order for Men to overcome their violence they must be allowed to Be. The extent to which a man is deprived from birth of his ability to Be is proportional to the extent to which he will be Destructive and Violent.

The worst force is a man who is becoming but whose becoming has no rational direction. He desires to transform and become – however, existing as he does in a well-ordered society, his transformation and becoming can only take the form of violence and destruction oriented either outward or inward.

Lumberjack

Can we agree that “lumberjack” is an archetype that resides within classical Patriarchy’s concept of man? Imagine a lumberjack in the forest – cutting down trees – performing – performing to gather his sustenance. Imagine a lumberjack in the city – what does he have to cut down besides his fellow man? He has been trained to cut. He desires the swing of the blade, the cutting itself.

The lumberjack must be deprived of his axe and given a flower. How can we do this? Why is this so hard? Why does this idea disgust me on some visceral level? Why do I read shame into this transformation from axe-wielding skilled worker to consuming harmless being human.

Why do I hate the idea of a lumberjack merely being? Why must he cut? Why can’t he just chill the fuck out?

[1] This dynamic has continued to pervade my romantic expression. I seek women who are capable of affirming my value. I am a submissive. I desire a strong, beautiful, dominant woman who is capable of leading me and willing to take charge. However, I also desire that she is in some sense good – that she allows me to become her concept of goodness. This is not up for debate – it’s what I desire. I find it somewhat sad that it’s what I desire, but there it is.

[2] This leads to endless and painful conversations between “men” and “women” where either the “woman” has a problem and the “man” asks “what should we do?” (which frustrates the “woman” because she simply wants to experience and explore her emotion as static value) or the “man” has a problem and the “woman” asks “what are you feeling? (which frustrates the man, who simply wants to “fix” the problem).

The use of quotes in the preceding paragraph is intentional and means to eschew sexual terms and instead use gendered terms. The “woman” might be male and the “man” might be female in the above. Again, I’m extrapolating my ideas of the ideology of classical Patriarchy – I don’t believe that there’s anything essential to these interactions, except perhaps insofar as they represent complimentary and extreme approaches to the question of “what is being?”

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  1. June Gorman said, on December 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    “Bigsley” – Thinking about your idea of “Masculinism” a little more and how much it aligns to ideas I have thought about a long time, and particularly right now when I find myself in perhaps the “quintessential” masculine/patriarchy power battle short of a war (though like it), I wanted to send you a movement that is more like your idea, out of Marin: The Shift Network and its Conscious Partnering/Men’s Summit Group.It is definitely more along the lines you argue in your initial post about this concept.
    I would have emailed this to you directly, rather than post this here (though this post seemed lonely, so I did) but I can’t track down your email and refuse and will always refuse to “tweet”. Yet, for me, these are the wrong ways to actually have this conversation at its most important levels. Especially if people are local to one another. At any rate, my email is easy to find. 🙂


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