Fatherhood identity is in urgent need of a feminist revision. We need to understand and deconstruct toxic masculinity within the broader economic, professional and familial contexts.
Eastern European activists have some important lessons for American activists when it comes to resisting the rise of the right. The most important of which is the maintenance of broad-based organizations.
“My research soon became an extracurricular activity. Men would take it over and over again to not only harass me but any ideology that was not white and heterosexual. It made me realize how much space men take up, even in empty text boxes asking them, begging them, to return to their own worlds. … We tend to forget not only the emotional labor we cast on young women, but the lack of protection female-identifying researchers at the undergraduate level possess.”
The “misogynist incel” mobilization is shaped around dehumanization of women, men’s entitlement and idolization of prior mass killers—and is part of a spectrum with more “everyday” misogyny and sexism.
The Trump-inspired Capitol riots were a stunning, disgraceful reminder that far-right violent extremism and white-nationalist terrorism are on the rise.
But while much of the commentary about the insurrection has focused on racism, another crucial part of the story has escaped scrutiny: the fact that the vast majority of those who rioted were not just white people, but white men.
Trump’s behavior has so dramatically lowered the bar for what is and should be expected of adult male behavior that it will take years to undo the regression. Come January 20, we will see if our nation’s “moral imagination” can be reignited—this time with infinitely more competent and enlightened 21st century leadership.
Even with President Joe Biden in office come January, Trumpism will still be with us, as will the Proud Boys, the faux militia Wolverine Watchmen, the civil war-promoting Boogaloo Boys, and the ex-military/police Oath Keepers.
As 2020 draws to a close, we need to acknowledge the connection between those groups’ brutish expression of patriarchy and its white-collar counterparts, like Mitch McConnell and Brett Kavanaugh.
All of us who recognize manhood and masculinity are evolving must speak out about the intimidating alpha males who pose a grave threat to society, especially at this fraught moment when COVID-19 is ravaging the world.
Trump might not be a sophisticated political thinker or student of history, but he understands something fundamental about manhood in a patriarchal culture: the system remains in place because a majority of men fear being ‘unmanned’ and losing the respect of other men more than they value abstract concepts like commitment to scientific reason, equal justice under law or even democracy itself.
How will we be able to develop a better, more inclusive leadership class that is capable of finding solutions to complex 21st century problems when our political culture is dominated by language that focuses not on what candidates say or stand for—but on the fact that the “frontrunner” failed to deliver a “knockout punch”?