Wow, it really sucks that Trump is the POTUS, right? He is really terrible on so many levels and different ways. Worse still is that Mike Fucking Pence is next in line, and the two are supported by morally destitute members of Congress like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. It is really, truly awful knowing that these are the people in power: the kind of guys who would probably strangle me to death with their bare hands if they thought they’d get a dollar for it or get to pass a bill to hurt LGBTQ* folk.
Anyway, the reason why I’m writing this post isn’t just to vent my spleen and remind everyone of the heavy blanket of dread that they carry around. (Everyone who reads this blog anyway.) I’m hoping, in however small a way, to reset the low, low bar that Trump regularly slides under. We’ve become accustomed to how horrible he is at everything and his supreme selfishness. When you see headlines that read, “Trump Did [X],” “Trump Says, ‘[Y],’ But Scientists Disagree,” “Trump Surprises Staff by Declaring [Z],” it all runs together, and when he’s marginally less bad, people are starting to call it “presidential behavior.”
So instead, I’d like you to think of Trump’s behavior through the lens of people who write to advice columnists. (It’s a stretch, I know, because Trump hates asking for advice.) The people who write advice columnists are usually looking for someone to say that a) they’re right or b) they can get a divorce; the advice usually is to a) stop what you’re doing, b) stop hanging out with awful people, and/or c) have a real conversation with someone like an adult. Though sometimes, the advice columnist will publish something and the advice is, “You’re a terrible person, and I hope your family, friends, co-workers, and strangers are safe from you.” That’s the kind of letter writer Trump would be. Continue reading What Trump’s Letters to an Advice Columnist Would Look Like
Part 1 of these essays provides some context as to why I’m writing them and covers the negative consequences for men in regards to women being trophies for successful masculinity. The next subject I will cover is how patriarchal standards require men to perform masculinity in a way that emphasizes action, strength, and dominance and the negative consequences men face.
Now, to a certain extent these attributes are also valued in women. But in a patriarchal society, I consider them in much the same way that physical attractiveness and social adeptness are valued in men as compared to women. Is it advantageous for a man to be good looking and socially smooth? Absolutely. Are these things required for him to be perceived as masculine? No, but prettiness and social consideration are required for women if they are to be perceived as feminine. Being attractive in a way that’s pretty or being extremely socially conscious can even make a man seem effeminate. After all, the term metrosexual wasn’t devised because being deeply concerned about how you look and what others think is part of traditional masculinity.
Continue reading The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 2
It has become relatively common to hear that patriarchy hurts everyone. While I generally believe that this is true, I’m usually hesitant to talk about it because the concept seems to invite a rather unhelpful dialogue. Often “Patriarchy hurts everyone” translates to, “That’s enough women talk; let’s get serious and talk about men! You know, the real people.” I’ve seen people make the argument that men were and are historically treated worse than women, that the patriarchy hurts men because without it they would get laid more, that feminism also hurts men, etc. It usually doesn’t behoove me to spend the energy trying to wade through it all.
So why would I talk about patriarchy hurting men? I’m obviously not too keen on it. Well, I stumbled across this poor guy’s Internet cry for help:
Continue reading The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 1
In Beowulf, the term “peace-weaver” is used to describe noblewomen who are married to an enemy clan in an attempt bring peace. The role isn’t an easy one, and a bard sings the story of Hildeburh: a peace-weaver whose husband breaks the truce and she loses her husband, brother, and son in the hostilities that inevitably break out again. Hildeburh is a tragic character pulled between strong, opposing loyalties, but she is also an exemplary one; she does her best to keep the peace and pretty much does everything as right as you can considering the situation. The use of Hildeburh’s story is more of a foreshadowing device, but I still remember being struck by what a raw deal she had.
For most of Western history, marriage was about two men formalizing a political or economic bond through use of a woman. Whether the woman was kind or pretty or intelligent didn’t really matter as long as she was related by blood to one of them and able to make blood-related babies with the other. Women were used as a way to strengthen individual families and as societal soothing device. How a woman was as a flesh-and-blood human being seemed inconsequential unless she was rebellious (in which case, tame that shrew) or very rich and influential (in which case, it’s important to get invited to her parties.) That’s not to say that there weren’t amazing women in the past, we’ve just lost most of their stories because their marriages didn’t stop or start wars.
Continue reading The Peace-Weavers