He-Man Shit

Phallic symbol, Ho!

I am quite secure in my sexuality, so when a man spits an insult my way attempting to attack my motives on a given topic or my sexual orientation, I can’t help but sneer (ever so slightly) in triumph. Most men, I find (and if you be an observant sort you will agree) are positively obsessed with their self-image — moreso then women, since men are far more eager to jump to violence when they feel the illusion threatened. They must be badass all the time. And where did they learn this behavior? This tough He-Man shit? Why from their dad of course.

Respect your elders, he said. Because nobody ever grows up to be an A-hole he assured. Just look at Congress, he vouched. Stop writing like this, he promised.

I had an athlete father myself, and then an even more “manly” (insecure) male guardian. So please do not mistake my words as superior. I am surely not immune–I was a soldier and now teach hand-to-hand combat, so at first glance I seem to strike the male toughness ideal square in the manly jaw. And yet I spend my time networking with support groups and working to empower women as opposed to obsessing to distinguish myself from them. Perhaps it is because of the history of legendary women in my family, perhaps it is because of my woman-warrior friends that put men-soldiers like me to shame or perhaps my constant travel from youth to today has prevented me to be fully indoctrinated by a single culture and allowed me to see more clearly. Or maybe I can just innately tell that some things are plain WRONG without being told. Either way while perhaps still a manly man I like to think I am not willfully ignorant of what made me.

So. The tough He-Man shit that men learned from our fathers: The shame and fear that we are not the ideal, that maybe there is something wrong with us.

Quit being such a pussy, boy!” – my loving guardian’s mentorship.

To my sister, I’d imagine he would say something like, “Quite being such a dick, girl!”

It seems (to a much less self-destructive extent) to be a close parallel of patriarchy’s effect on the woman ideal as well — in which women pressure each other to extremes in order to conform to a grotesque ideal in which to more easily be influenced and controlled. The He-Man shit tends to lead men to hate and reject any that do not fit the mold. Meaning a vivid distrust of women/outright hatred of all things feminine along with a seething spite of homosexuals. This coupled with an ironic, child-like trust in male authority. “A man will always buy the bullshit, so long as it comes from another man.” – George Carlin

“I love the smell of other men in the morning!” – self-titled Straightest Man Ever.

No doubt this feeling of constant insecurity is a source of the violence and anger that goes hand in sweaty hand with the male image. This is not to say that men have it somehow harder living in patriarchy then women — gods forbid I lend some credence to the cretins at the Men’s Rights guild-for-any-excuse-to-appear-the-victim-while-actively-engaging-in-victimization—HELL NO. If men have it hard in patriarchy being raised to be the aggressors, then women have it triply so (at least) being raised to loathe themselves, loathe each other, and succumb to the twisted idea of male dominated ‘natural order’ that the world’s societies have so thoroughly embraced and engrained in their peoples.

And who do we have to thank for all this pain and rage?
Why dad of course.
That rough gruff and tough man’s man in every corner and cranny of the globe.
He taught us the tough He-Man-Shit and the Fragile-Girly-Girl-Garbage that boys and girls should ‘naturally’ adhere to and to not do so is ‘wrong’.
And we ate it up like the children we still are.
Thanks dad.

Star Wars sucks for women? Yes. But another Vader = bad father demot? Impossible!


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