When Cynthia Cockburn and Ann Oakley wrote about the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women this year, they decided to skip writing about violence against women. Instead, they criticized the “culture of masculinity”—and men, generally—for perpetuating all forms of violence.
Feminists have nursed a perverse obsession with what men think and do for decades. They’ve had to, because the success of the feminist program has always been completely dependent on what bell hooks called “the will to change.” The female strategy has always been to nag and manipulate until men stop doing what men want to do and start doing what women want them to do. Men caving and giving women what they want is as natural as salmon swimming upstream. It’s painful to watch but almost everyone does it eventually.
Industrialization, birth control, globalism and a First World shift to managerial and service economies allowed women to push past old boundaries and upend the balance between the sexes.
First Wave Feminists marched for the vote and property rights. Feminists love marches, walks, and long candlelight vigils on the beach. Second Wave Feminists shouted “I am Woman” and stomped around for more exciting employment opportunities and the Gaia-given right to kill their babies. Third Wave feminists stripped off the polyester pantsuits of yesteryear, got painted up like trash, and went genderqueer.
Forth Wave feminism, already well underway, is a female coalitionary effort to control male behavior through public policy while wielding the threat of state-sponsored violence.
Feminists have long dreamed of a gender-neutral world of peaceful security, pleasure, and plenty. For years, they held to the idea that men and women were essentially the same and that traditional ideas about gender were as “lightly linked to sex as are the clothing, the manners, and the form of head-dress that a society at a given period assigns to either sex.” Patriarchal male culture could be blamed for all of the evil in the world, and our ancestors were all peaceful goddess-worshipping pansies.
Now that St. Margaret Mead has been all but discredited, only pink-haired stoners believe in peaceful prehistory, and “SCIENCE” keeps validating both tradition and common sense, feminist gender theory has run aground on the rocky shores of reality and punctured the hull of her Big-Boned Barbie cruise ship.
Feminists have needed to change directions to stay afloat, so they have slowly been conceding that men and women are, in fact, different. Today’s feminists brag about the things women do better than men. The traveling sisterhood of the New Girl Order is proud that women have the kinds of traits that 21st century employers say they want.
Cynthia Cockburn and Ann Oakley want to you to understand that women are more peaceful than men, and men are more violent than women.
Men aren’t always content to march with candles; men are more likely to riot and loot. Oakley and Cockburn noted that 92% of the UK rioters this summer were male, and all of the rioters charged with violent offences were male. Cockburn and colleague then reported that men were responsible for 87% of traffic offences and 81% of speeding offenses. Citing prison statistics, they suggested that if men committed crimes leading to custodial sentences at the rate women did, their nation could save about £3.4 billion every year.
Cockburn and Oakley concluded with some conflicting commentary about testosterone and violence.
First, Cockburn and Oakley explained that, according to SCIENCE, testosterone is associated with status-seeking, but not necessarily with violence.
I’ve read the same studies, and this may in fact be true. But they failed to address the logical progression of status competition. As I’ve written, violence is golden because while it may not be the only way to resolve a given conflict, it is a definitive way to resolve a conflict. Violence beckons from the end of a path of escalation. You can beat me at checkers 30 times in a row, but somewhere in my frustrated gut I know that if I stand up and shoot you in the face, I win. Game over. Violence is “the nuclear option.”
Violence is not merely a criminal or “anti-social” action. The use of force against criminals is merely the violence of the many against the one, disguised by the pretense of “justice.”
The same logic of escalation plays out in state vs. citizen conflicts. Even the most soft-spoken regime must carry a big stick. For instance, a gay liberal mayor can ask some protesters nicely again and again to stop camping in the park, but if they refuse again and again, eventually some kind of physical action—however “non lethal”—will be required to restore order. Likewise, if kids are going to sit in the road and block traffic, eventually you have to break out the pepper spray and “negotiate” more aggressively.
There may be more chemical links between maleness and violence, but since Cockburn and Oakley are willing to accept that testosterone increases status competition, one could simply say that:
After saying that testosterone doesn’t have to increase violence, for good measure Cockburn and Oakley suggest ways that male testosterone can be influenced.
Here’s the whole quote:
Testosterone, the male hormone, the “metaphor of manhood,” is portrayed as driving men inexorably towards aggressive behaviour. Yet studies show that testosterone is related to status-seeking but not directly to aggression. Many other factors are influential. Testosterone levels are increased or diminished in both males and females by diet, activity and circumstance. The opportunity to interact with guns, for instance, appears to increase testosterone, while men’s testosterone levels fall when they are involved with the care of children.
The case we are making is that certain widespread masculine traits and behaviours are dangerous and costly both to individuals and society. They are amenable to purposeful change. The culture of masculinity can be, and should be, addressed as a policy issue.
Some researchers believe that the average man’s testosterone level has plummeted over the past 20 years. According to the MAYO clinic, normal testosterone levels help men maintain healthy bone density, fat distribution, muscle strength and mass, red blood cell production, sex drive, and sperm produc tion. Testosterone can be increased naturally through weight training, and while most men experience a gradual decline in testosterone after age thirty, evidence suggests that weight training can help men can keep their levels higher for longer and possibly stave off some of the negative effects of aging. Unusually low testosterone levels in men are associated with coronary artery disease, aortic atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and depression.
Policy initiatives aimed at pacifying men by lowering male testosterone are a kindler, gentler alternative to castration, with the same net effect. Men will have lower sex drives, lower sperm counts, and they will more often be fat, depressed, and diabetic. Feminist dreams of sleek, gender-neutral utopias will inevitably lead to more doughy bonobos and chunky Chaz Bonos playing out their endless manic-depressive melodramas in a big bean-flicking circle of sterility, sickness, and desperation.
As far as I can tell, we’re half way there already.
It is true that Cockburn and Oakley did not state outright that male testosterone should be reduced as a matter of public policy. After addressing sex differences and testosterone, Cockburn and comrade slid back to the safety of Second and Third Wave feminism and recycled, blank slate rhetoric about changing the “culture of masculinity.”
However, if feminists recommend policy-based cultural and behavioral changes that lead to reduced testosterone, they achieve the same sickening, emasculating end. Fourth Wave feminism is about wielding the principal’s paddle—state power—as women attempt to mother males into helpless and obedient second class women. The feminists of the 1970s made moralistic arguments and pleaded for fairness and equality, but as women came to power their impatience with maleness and the reality of sex differences was evident.
The changes Cockburn and Oakley seem to recommend have already been made. The average man in the UK is not armed, and has probably never fired a handgun. In America, any hint of male interest in violence is frowned upon in the classroom. Christina Hoff Sommers brought an institutionalized anti-male bias in education to national attention over a decade ago, but little has changed. Males who show what in Mark Twain’s day would have been seen as a normal interest in fighting and combat are recommended for counseling or flagged as problem children. Boys with high energy are routinely diagnosed with “ADHD” and drugged. 8-year-old boys are suspended from school for possessing 4-inch toy guns made for action figures. A 7-year-old was recently accused of sexual harassment for kicking a bully in the nuts. Professional feminists like Cockburn and Oakley are paid to advise schools and speak to young people about sexism and sexual harassment. Public and private universities run “My Strength is Not For Hurting” campaigns and seminars. Feminist Jackson Katz is even paid to teach the freaking Marines about “toxic masculinity.”
If men already have far lower average testosterone levels than they did a few decades ago, and males still act like males, how much more enforced cultural retraining will be necessary for feminists to be satisfied?
In light of obvious and persistent differences between the sexes, will feminists simply give up on their dream of a gender neutral world, and work towards a cultural harmony of the sexes instead of an artificially imposed “equality” of apples and oranges?
If men and women are different, the new feminism will simply conclude that men must be “fixed.”
For feminists, the answer to any problem with feminism is always more feminism.
First Published at The Spearhead, 12/11/2011