By R. CHASE
If you want to see how far woman have come in your lifetime, just watch any episode of â€œMad Men,â€ where they were encouraged to â€œshow a little more legâ€ if they wanted to catch a husband from the pool of available chain-smoking alcoholic men intent on getting them into the supply closet for a good old-fashioned American groping.
Or if you want to see how much the world has really changed, read â€œThe Last Duelâ€ by Eric Jager, a chronicle of the French medieval judicial duel fought in 1386, where one man accused another of raping his wife. Notice I said â€œmanâ€ and not â€œwomanâ€, which is due to the fact that at the time a woman could not bring charges of rape against a man in court because it was considered a crime of property. A woman without a husband, father or brothel owner to represent her was considered fair game. Note to all men reading this: DO NOT, under any circumstances, mention this on a date, unless you want to feel the emotional equivalent of slamming your car into a brick wall at 1000 mph without a seat belt.
As you can imagine, collective female ire over these terrible conditions have spilled over into our modern age. While they have managed to assert their legal rights to equality and the freedom from sexual harassment, it hasnâ€™t been that long since they actually got them in writing. Our society is usually far less enlightened than the laws that govern it.
But in the stampede for the righteous cause of feminism, the fundamental proponents of masculinity were trampled underfoot. While women were asserting their power and status in the modern world, the inaccurate assumption was made that all things â€œmasculineâ€ were the source of the problem. In reality, it was a symptom of a larger conservative social structure. Men didnâ€™t conspire to keep women barefoot, pregnant and illiterate. It was just a narrow societal construct of â€œhow things should beâ€ at the time.
The biggest offense against masculinity that feminism perpetrated is not emancipation. The problem is that in that emancipation, feminism created an atmosphere of uncertainty in the male psyche.
The essence of masculinity is not in what you do, but how you do it. You can wear a pink bow tie and a tutu and still be â€œmanlyâ€ as long as you do it with absolute authority. But the feminist movement in this country created an unforeseen uncertainty in our actions. Is it complimentary to look at a womanâ€™s breasts when theyâ€™re spilling out of her tiny bikini? Or is it sexual harassment? Not really being sure about how to react to your basic sexuality while being deliberately exposed to that sexuality just seems cruel.
This created a world in which every natural impulse we have is mixed with apprehension. Without authority in action, we gradually turn into spineless jellyfish, mired in self-doubt. That self-doubt makes us less attractive to the very women that, in their search for freedom, opened the doors up for this uncertainty.
So what do we do? Itâ€™s a complex problem. We want to be men, but we donâ€™t want to be seen sweaty-headed Neanderthals on the verge of dragging women to our caves by their hair (despite the fact that a 2011 Playboy survey rated hair-pulling as the number four turn-on amongst American women).
Enlightened men represent themselves as they are, express their desires as they are, and refuse to pretend to be anything else. Real men donâ€™t eat quiche. Unless they like quiche, and then they eat quiche whenever the hell they want.
We have been cowed into wish-washy behavior that is spawned by our fear of â€œwhat women might thinkâ€ if we reveal our true nature. But itâ€™s precisely that wishy-washy behavior that stunts our natural state of manliness. This is why all those man-retreats into the woods were so popular in the â€˜90s. It eliminated the female factor, allowing us to act as savagely as we wanted without fear of reprisal.
Being a Masculinist is not about keeping women down. Itâ€™s about keeping men up. In fact, in keeping ourselves to the highest order of our own masculine expectations, we do women a service. We stop pretending to be what we think they want and start expressing ourselves as who we really are. And if weâ€™d rather poke our eyes out with a fork than discuss our â€œfeelingsâ€ in couples counseling after six months in a relationship, we should tell you that up front.
Feminists can rejoice everywhere that just as many men today are offended by the misogyny in â€œMad Menâ€ as women. None of us are elbowing each other in the ribs and saying â€œYou see, Sammy my boy, thatâ€™s the way things oughta be!â€
So when we shed a small wisp of a tear when watching that John Wayne western, we are really wistfully romanticizing the days when men were men. Itâ€™s because we feel like weâ€™ve lost the rules to the game of masculinity somewhere along the way. We want women to have equality in all things, but we still want to feel like men. We want to retain our gender identity while allowing women to assert theirs. And if we can do that, we can embrace the co-equal world with confidence and authority. And confidence is what makes a man feel like a man.