Oh dear. Camille Paglia is back in the news, pointing out some icky truths that make feminists stamp their feet and pout, as icky truths tend to do.
In a three hour interview, Paglia points out just what we’re getting wrong, culturally.
The diminished status of the military means that the cultural elite has no military experience – no explicit training in analysis, strategy, defense, offence, subterfuge – any of the tactics that permit an understanding of how to face down evil and triumph.
This leads to the idea that everyone is basically nice and if we’re nice, they’ll be nice right back. North Korea: just be nice and everything will be okie-dokie. How’s that working out, Jang Song Thaek?
“These people don’t think in military ways, so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we’re just nice and benevolent to everyone they’ll be nice too. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”
Women in particular are oblivious to the dangers of the world, and insist that they have every right to put themselves in vulnerable situations and when bad things happen, they cannot and must not be held responsible for that:
“I believe that every person, male and female, needs to be in a protective mode at all times of alertness to potential danger. The world is full of potential attacks, potential disasters.” She calls it “street-smart feminism.”
Men are neutered, essentially from birth, and taught that their energy and desire to interact physically with the world is a mental disorder that requires medication. “Sit quietly and color, boys, and please don’t build projectiles with your crayons”.
“Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It’s oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys,” she says, pointing to the most obvious example: the way many schools have cut recess. “They’re making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters.”
Primary school teachers, who tend to have backgrounds in the Barista of Arts academic tradition (degrees in reading, dancing, feeling, etc.) dislike teaching hard facts and quantitative skills (math is hard, Barbie!), and instead focus on “female values” such as sensitivity, cooperation and socialization. And it doesn’t get better in higher education, either.
“This PC gender politics thing—the way gender is being taught in the universities—in a very anti-male way, it’s all about neutralization of maleness.” The result: Upper-middle-class men who are “intimidated” and “can’t say anything. . . . They understand the agenda.” In other words: They avoid goring certain sacred cows by “never telling the truth to women” about sex, and by keeping “raunchy” thoughts and sexual fantasies to themselves and their laptops.
The loss of the manufacturing base has stripped men of role models, leaving only the sports arena where traditional masculine virtues are openly celebrated. Being faster, stronger, smarter and more relentless than the opposition is a undeniable good. Of course, there are plenty of arenas (tech development, finance, high level corporate management) where men are as competitive and ruthless as ever, but the difference is that we only celebrate the sports heroes. Corporate heroes make the ladies feel a bit queasy, and they only like the soft, gentle ones. Bill Gates and his geeky ways are okay. Mark Pincus, not so much.
Pincus obsessively tracks analytics for all staff, sets harsh deadlines, and aggressively pushes his employees to meet them.
And how is that working out for Pincus?
The data pipeline allows Zynga to fine-tune its games to optimize engagement, helping the company attract some 270 million unique users each month, many through Facebook. The four-year-old Zynga, which has emerged as the Web’s largest social game company, recorded $828.9 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2011, more than double the period a year earlier. It is also the rare Internet start-up that is profitable, earning $121 million since the start of 2010.
Oh well then. Let’s strangle that puppy on the doorstep. What could go wrong?
Paglia notes that it’s not just men and boys who suffer when the demonization of men and masculinity becomes culturally de rigeur. She throws a bone out to the rich, white ladies, too, because we all know that no one has cornered the market on suffering quite like rich, white ladies.
Women, particularly elite upper-middle-class women, have become “clones” condemned to “Pilates for the next 30 years,” Ms. Paglia says. “Our culture doesn’t allow women to know how to be womanly,” adding that online pornography is increasingly the only place where men and women in our sexless culture tap into “primal energy” in a way they can’t in real life.
A lifetime of low-fat yogurt, Pilates and porn. Gosh, the tears are welling up here. It’s so heart-rending. Poor, poor elite white ladies. That’s just terrible.
Whatever can we do?
Paglia has a few ideas:
A key part of the remedy, she believes, is a “revalorization” of traditional male trades—the ones that allow women’s studies professors to drive to work (roads), take the elevator to their office (construction), read in the library (electricity), and go to gender-neutral restrooms (plumbing).
Indeed. We’ve argued that exhaustively. Let’s stop proclaiming men obsolete and start recognizing that our entire economy and civilization depends on men continuing to believe that their role is to provide and protect, even in the face of a culture that actively denies them basic human rights, such as reproductive freedom, equal treatment under the law and the right to genital integrity. The ingratitude of feminists is staggering, and Paglia is not shy about pointing it out, either, although she does frame it in terms of women only. Well, Paglia does call herself a “feminist”, so that doesn’t really come as a surprise.
In her view, these ideological excesses bear much of the blame for the current cultural decline. She calls out activists like Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi for pushing a version of feminism that says gender is nothing more than a social construct, and groups like the National Organization for Women for making abortion the singular women’s issue.
By denying the role of nature in women’s lives, she argues, leading feminists created a “denatured, antiseptic” movement that “protected their bourgeois lifestyle” and falsely promised that women could “have it all.” And by impugning women who chose to forgo careers to stay at home with children, feminists turned off many who might have happily joined their ranks.
Well, this stay at home mother would never have joined their ranks in a million years, largely owing to the fact that feminism outright lies to women and actively attempts to deny women what they most desire: a life with children and family. A movement that has at its heart the destruction of women’s most deeply held desires does not come across as “pro-woman” to me.
“I want every 14-year-old girl . . . to be told: You better start thinking what do you want in life. If you just want a career and no children you don’t have much to worry about. If, however, you are thinking you’d like to have children some day you should start thinking about when do you want to have them. Early or late? To have them early means you are going to make a career sacrifice, but you’re going to have more energy and less risks. Both the pros and the cons should be presented.”
Paglia’s prescription for how to “fix” feminism includes expanding membership to stay at home moms and focusing on true injustices by tackling matters like rape in India and honor killings in the Muslim world.
That’s nice. But it won’t “fix” feminism. Feminism, which continues to trumpet that gender is a mere social construct and that the lack of female engineers and computer programmers is due to the fact that boys are mean, cannot be fixed.
Paglia is absolutely correct that in neutering the masculine, we are destroying our civilization. But the solution is not more or better feminism. We can take all the things we have learned from this disastrous cultural experiment and apply them to create a world of true diversity and equality.
The first step is to recognize that women have been elevated at the expense of men, a situation that was observed a long time ago.
Bringing the cultural conversation back to equality is the first step, and where we are right now. We cannot effect any change until the need for change is acknowledged. And then what?
Here are three strategies that could be put in place to dramatically reverse the decline we are all facing together:
1. Full reproductive rights for men
When men have full reproductive rights, and cannot be forced into fatherhood (as women cannot be forced into motherhood) a few dramatic changes will take place. The era of the babymama will essentially evaporate overnight. When men are given the same rights as women to choose fatherhood, all the incentives to trap men and extract maximum resources without consequence will be eliminated. The only men who will have child support orders enforced against them will be those men who have legally agreed, in writing, to father children with a particular woman.
We used to call that “marriage”. We still can, but I see no reason why any sort of legal agreement to parenthood should not be enforceable. And marriage itself is not a sufficient condition in which to enforce parenthood. Couples who intend to be childless need to specify that legally. Every child must be wanted by both parents. Every individual reserves the right to parent alone, but when that gargantuan task becomes even more difficult, we will see the rates of single motherhood collapse.
Men are grossly exploited by child support laws, and ending that is a matter of keystrokes. Change the legislation and give men and women equal reproductive rights.
2. Separate school streams
Schools should fall into two categories: those that emphasize qualitative skills with only a slight focus on quantitative, and those geared towards developing quantitative skills, with a correspondingly lesser focus on the qualitative.
In reality, boys will skew quant, and girls will skew qual, but there is no need to force anyone into any particular pathway. Boys who wish to study art and poetry and psychology will be permitted to do so and we will vigorously protect them from having their masculinity questioned or derided. Girls who wish to study robotics and calculus will be permitted to do so and we will vigorously protect them from having their femininity questioned or derided.
Creating a stream of schools, from primary onwards, focused on developing analytical, mathematical, hard skills will bring men back into the teaching profession in droves, because they tend to be the ones who have those skills. At the secondary stage, the schools can split further into skilled trades and advanced analytics, both quant and qual. Quant schools would feed programs in masonry, plumbing, carpentry on the skilled trades side, and STEM on the advanced analytics side. Qual schools would stream into hairdressing, childcare worker, food preparation on the skilled trades side and all the liberal arts on the advanced analytics.
People should be free to change streams according to their own desires and talents.
This is not a physically hard system to imagine. Germany runs an educational system that already does most of this in practice.
The opposition is entirely political and comes mostly from feminists, who cannot stand that the skills gap between men and women will be stark indeed when polytechs and vocational schools stand alongside liberal arts schools in the same numbers. And to be clear, this is not an argument that women are incapable of developing quantitative schools. Perhaps they are, or perhaps it is merely a complete lack of interest: either way the outcome is the same. It’s mostly men who pursue quantitative occupations and skills.
3. Financial incentives to encourage parents to care for their own children
The practice of allowing families to deduct child care expenses as a tax credit needs to end immediately.
The correct incentive is to allow families to income split as long as one parent is at home fulltime with children. A single earner paying income tax on $50,000 will pay more tax than two individuals earning $25,000. Same income, lower tax burden. Effectively, one parent should be able to pay the other parent for their services. This not only incentivizes families to care for their own children, it offers a prestige and acknowledgement of the value of childrearing, something that is sorely missing in our culture.
Whether mommy or daddy stays home does not matter. The legal right to pay your partner for the work they do at home should be enshrined in law. Canada is slowly moving to make that a reality, but not fast enough.
Again, it is a simple matter of keystrokes to make this law. The short term loss in revenue will be made up for by having a nation of citizens who understand what responsibility and obligation actually means, by seeing that a lived reality in their own lives, and who are growing up without the negative effects in social development that arise when children are parceled out to daycare institutions.
It’s really not that hard to reverse our decline. The first two strategies require a close focus on the rights of boys and men in particular, while subtracting nothing from women. Give men the same right to choose parenthood that women already have, and provide boys with schools that match their strengths, whatever those might be, while not excluding girls in any way.
If we can get those first two right, the third one will become a saner, more reasonable choice for men. It will restore reciprocity and interdependence to marriage, replacing the competitiveness and selfishness (mostly on the part of women) that currently reigns.
Paglia is right to highlight that we are in condition critical culturally, but her suggestion that a more inclusive feminism will light the way to salvation is ludicrous at best.
Focusing on the rights of boys and men is the way out of this mess. The good news is that this is not a zero sum game: enshrining the rights of men does not mean women will lose some of their rights.
The bad news is that women will have to surrender some unfair advantages.
- They will no longer control men’s incomes by controlling reproductive choices.
- They will no longer exclude men from appropriate training and education by eliminating male interests or attributes.
- They will no longer control poor men and women by exploiting them for cheap domestic labor.
And they will gain some important advantages, too.
- If women stay home to care for their own children, which were born in legal agreement with the father, they will be rewarded with an income, as agreed to by both parents.
- If they choose to work, they can legally pay their partners to care for their children
And begins here. A Voice for Men.
We’re not just an advocacy group. We’re a suicide prevention group.
And we intend to save our whole world.
Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.
And so we shall.
Lots of love,