Docile warriors - Deconstructing stereotypical masculinity (or trying to)
After a so long time!
Time spent "doing many things" (all together, I'm afraid). And, hectically, giving very little quality time to me, us, reflection. But, home, sweet home! I'm back again, with a crumb of time.
Having been absent for so long a time, many things has happened, and there is so much to talk on...
The time crumb is just a crumb, no more, so I have to pick one thing only.
I'm finishing a (moving, deep, cute, and very-very rational - all together) book, titled "Whipping Girl", by the feminist activist Julia Serano. There I found many interesting things, but one in particular warmly hit me: a passionate defense of feminine values and ethos.
This point touched, I have to admit, a sensitive cord of mine.
I agree. Identifying "feminine" with "weak, unstable, ..." does not a great job to us humans. I feel many of us would share he same time, a re-evaluationthis point immediately, and naturally. Yet this position is not what, apparently, the world buys into, by and large. But looking to past and current events a much more positive evaluation of feminine is clearly urgent.
In the same time, a deep deconstruction of the masculine should be made. To a far end when terms like "masculine" and "feminine" are maybe obsolete, within a society allowing people to fully grow, and take their responsibility as full-fledged humans, and not just self-domesticated poor creatures.
May I try with a point?
(Of course I do, without your permission ;-) )
I want to say of "masculinity", in traditional sense, as "planned docility".
If the stereotypical image of masculinity is looked at, its most striking elements (say strength, courage, sexual dominance, toughness, and so on) all seem but "docile". But let's dig a bit, and see what happens.
Indeed yes, people highly identified with masculine values and image are very easy to control, beyond their will, just using the elements of stereotypical masculinity as a lever, in the advantage of someone "in the shadow". Just allow them to constitute a pecking order, and support it. Mold this pecking order so that it meets the exploiters' needs. Make success measurable, by giving prizes and punishments (not too often, however: any single act should bounce up, down and laterally in the hierarchy for the underlying information to attain maximum effect). Encourage an environment where status is valued.
Do that, and any Real Macho Man will turn in a puppet, a lamb. But be careful: leave them in the illusion of being powerful, and all what they got was the consequence of their prowess, or value, or whatever in line with the pecking order. That's great, because it means you can control over them all at a very low cost.
This is not my translation of Machiavelli's "Il Principe", but just the way we were normally treated in structured organizations. No surprise that the most appreciated people were the "manageable" ones, invariably very stereotypically masculine. To them the "best" career opportunities. To all others, "just stay quietly apart and don't disturb the driver".
Within this kind of context many tremendous things were said of feminine "qualities" (I'm just skimming through my own personal file to see some - indeed quite usual, to the point I guess they were written before our tests: "a tendency of being too emotional"; "possible problems in providing negative feedback"; "may encourage dependence"). But one thing stands out for sure: feminine people are the ones "non-manageable".
Sure, not within that kind of crappy organization. But maybe there is something true.
That apart, this "dynamics of tough docility" seems to me at work in many contexts other than big (and, to date, quite failing) companies. Indeed, it tends to constitute everywhere a minority of people tries to control many other individuals instituting hierarchies, from the church, to the military, passing through politics, and more.
The controlling minority has of course a vested interest in maintaining that docility is a precious value. But they can not claim that too openly, for otherwise their wolf-self-believing lambs would feel hurt in their core - the same core which provides all the very energy exploiters need, to maintain their flock under control.
Staying in a hierarchy, and thriving there, demands both a desire to dominate and a willingness to be subdued, the latter possibility occurring with a much larger likelihood than the former.
But, although no less part of stereotypical masculinity than other qualities, willingness to (readily) submit a Supreme Head is not very often dealt of. Is it maybe the case of advertising this quality a bit more? Guess this may help all (women and men) getting rid of patriarchy.
(In addition, maybe, to Julia's Cure: ask the Tough Guy to wear some girl stuff? After all, they are (in most cases) anallergic... ;-) )