"Consider how different our behavior would be if the default positions within this culture – the positions we are taught to accept, were…that the world is not organized hierarchically but rather in a complex interweaving, and that to hyperexploit one’s landbase is to destroy the tapestry that supports one’s own life; that relationship is more important (and more fun) than the acquisition and wielding of power, and that beings are more important than things…(Derrick Jensen, Endgame Volume II).”
What do limp penises, imperialist governments, predatory capitalists, religious fanatics and wanton environmental destruction have in common? Everything. Politics, money and religion are rendering Planet Earth into a place incompatible with the maintenance of complex life, and it’s all about sex.
The governmental urge to press its will upon people in foreign lands, the capitalist imperative to economically do the same, the religious zealot’s unbending desire to turn women into submissive, baby-making housewives and the ceaseless campaign to render the living Earth into inanimate resources are all manifestations of overblown, out of control masculine dominance. The purveyors of such policies not only exalt in everything manly – the greatest military force on Earth, a Father in heaven and rampant accumulation of wealth, they also revile everything deemed to be feminine. Disdained feminine attributes include perceived weakness, dependency, collectivism and unbridled fertility.
For example, conservatives are staunchly against public “entitlement” programs for the poor. Poor, single mothers are scorned as “welfare mothers” who are portrayed as lazy, good for nothing moochers, having children merely as a means of milking the system for revenue. On the other hand, married stay at home moms are held up as the pinnacle of ideal femininity. For some reason the maternal efforts of married women constitute honorable work while that same work performed by unmarried women (conceivably a much more demanding status) is condemned by conservatives as sloth. The married woman, under the perceived control and domination of an appropriate male is virtuous, while the independent woman, who clearly does not respect the conservative’s version of the natural order, is a pariah upon society.
The conservative right is also profoundly concerned with the rights of fetuses but have no interest in ensuring adequate food, clothing and shelter for those fetuses once they become people. As fetuses, the unborn are extensions of their fathers’ insemination, but as people, and outside of a “traditional” family, they become dependents of the despised welfare state.
The greatest feminine target of conservative contempt is the living Earth herself. While the Earth is obviously neither male nor female, our planet has been personified throughout human cultures and history as the Great Mother of all. Earth is the metaphoric epitome of everything feminine. Each of her myriad organisms is entirely dependent upon all others and the landbase within their ecosystem. Earth’s communities flourish in their collectivism. Furthermore, an ecological community in a pristine state is fecund, oozing fertility like a woman with an insatiable sexual appetite (limp penises beware).
What makes some people despise everything deemed to be feminine?
In a society that professes values of equality and justice for all, how can such a strong trend against the feminine have gained the upper hand? Social scientists in gender studies are particularly interested in this enigma and have discovered some telling clues regarding the origins of misogyny and its outward manifestations. Very young children, up to the age of three do not have a strong gender identity. That is, they do not identify themselves as permanently male or female. Many small children think gender is mutable and that one can change from girl to boy or vice versa at will. Furthermore, small children always identify with and see themselves as the same as the person or people who nurture them. In traditional patriarchal American society where mothers stay home and fathers go to work, small children almost invariably identify with their mothers.
To test the concept of maternal identification, researchers asked a group of small children (age 3) whether they wanted to be mommies or daddies when they grew up. Not surprisingly, the majority of girls wanted to be mommies, but interestingly, so did the majority of boys (1). In his book The Wimp Factor, author and psychologist Stephen Ducat explains the significance of this research. Children will identify with their primary, nurturing caretaker. In traditional patriarchal cultures, where care giving is performed almost exclusively by mothers, children will identify with the feminine. This phenomenon is reinforced by the patriarchal cultural bias against men performing nurturing tasks, which largely excludes men from the role of raising children.
As young boys mature in such environments, they have little concept of what it means to be a man, but as they enter the patriarchal world, they receive the message that feminine boys are abhorrent. The confused child has no apparent recourse but to reject his internal identity completely and to adapt outwardly to the values that society deems to be masculine; hence, the macho man is born.
Another study confirms the above hypothesis. A group of men were connected to polygraphs and asked questions about gender such as, “Would you rather be a woman?” and, “Do you think you are a real man?” While all men answered in the negative to cross-gendered identity questions, for some men these responses registered as falsehoods on the polygraph. The men who demonstrated the largest propensity to lie were also those who outwardly displayed stereotypical male dominance and were more likely to eschew values of gender equality (2). Anywhere one sees an extreme aversion to perceived feminine qualities, a little boy who identifies with his mommy, cloaked in the protective garment of the misogynist is almost assuredly lurking beneath the surface.
Sadly for the world, the cult of anxious men has gained dominance over the planet in the futile effort to protect fragile masculinity. Thinly veiled chants of “drill baby drill” are the impotent man’s attempt to wield the permanently erect phallus he so desperately lacks. As manly men neglect and abandon their children in order to retrieve a missing manhood, the vicious cycle perpetuates. And so the train of unbridled masculine destruction is running down the track to global cataclysm. We must collectively expose the little boys with their big sticks, forcing them to acknowledge the buried feminine values within us all that the Earth desperately needs now to survive.
(1) Study by Rabban Meyer, “Sex-Role Identificaion in Young Children in Two Diverse Groups,” Genetic Psychology Monographs 42(1950), 81-158. Cited in The Wimp Factor by Stephen Ducat, page 32.
(2) Study by Denis O’Donovan, “Health and Femiphobia,” Paper presented at the 95th meeting of the American Psychological Association, 1987. Cited in The Wimp Factor, p. 28.