There is an interesting subset of men that has evolved in our feminized social environment over the past 60+ years. I can’t quite refer to them as Betas since that seems too broad, and though Roissy’s initial coining of the term “Herb” (as in ‘herbivorous’) seems useful, these ‘men’ are something belonging to that set, but actively embracing and advocating for the feminine imperative. “Vichy Males” is probably a good starting point; men who are so invested in the conditioning of the feminine imperative that, unaware of how it affects their own interests as men, actively collaborate with and promote the feminine imperative’s social reengineering of masculinity.
These ‘men’ are not the oblivious blue-pill guys that the manosphere takes efforts to unplug from the feminine Matrix. They are the advocates of gender realignment, the male feminists, the men whose perspective it is that a more “equal” society is one in which masculinity is redefined to better convenience the feminine imperative. These are the ‘men’ who emphatically define “healthy masculinity” in a feminine framework where the results of testosterone and all of the innate traits that make one male are character flaws that disturb a feminine defined ‘equality’.
For the better part, Vichy Males are more or less oblivious to the feminine imperative that’s conditioned them. Whether this is a willful denial or simple indifferent ignorance is debatable, but in either case these men take the identification schema of Beta Game to the logical extreme. In some instances I’m certain the most successful amongst them make a livable wage from their dependent feminist evangelism (the feminine imperative rewards only the most Alpha-like crusaders who tow the feminist line), but for most, their advocacy is really an extreme form of identification-for-intimacy Game. In a world of White Knights, to seem unique requires a greater devotion to the feminine imperative.
I had originally intended to use The Frisky’s most recent ‘feminizing boys’ article as my example for today’s post. It certainly raised the hackles of a few commenters from yesterday’s Chauvinism post, but unfortunately it’s too easy a target – it’s an incomplete beginning that doesn’t show the inevitable result of the feminization of boys. Women are encouraged to teach boys to be more like girls, teach them to pee sitting down, embrace their emotionality, cry on demand, and basically act less like little boys have an innate knack for, etc., but this is only half the picture. Those boys grow up into the gender-confused feminized men women later despise.
For the other half of the picture I present to you the most recent gender-fare from (once again) The Atlantic – The End of Violent, Simplistic, Macho Masculinity. Kudos to The Atlantic for its gender neutrality in allowing a Vichy Male like Thomas Page McBee to join the ranks of Kate Bollick, Hannah Rosin and Sandra Tsing Loh for their monthly serving of feminist triumphalism. McBee and his male-apologist sympathizers are the end result of “teaching boys to be feminists.”
While McBee is barking up the Hugo Schwyzer tree, this article reads like an exposé into the mental reasoning of a fully feminized Vichy Male. It’s more or less what I’ve come to expect from masculine apologists but I thought I would highlight the parts of it that give us an insight into the conditioning of the feminine imperative.
From the opening sentence we get an overview of how the Vichy Male’s perspective aligns with his feminine assimilation.
Boys aren’t supposed to do a lot of things: show fear or pain, compassion or tenderness; but of course men feel a full range of emotions, whether we’re “supposed to” or not.
There’s never a question about the dynamic of boy’s / men’s expectations of restraining their emotionality. The main presumption that the feminine imperative indoctrinates in its adherents is that gender is a social construct, and as such the “supposed to” aspect of this assertion is really a presumed societal expectation. Not even an afterthought is given to the idea that perhaps men aren’t wired for emotions in the same way as women. This of course might give pause to the idea of a blank-slate people-are-people equalism so the imperative conditions those questions away from any critical analysis.
However, even if this were the case, and gender was a social construct, might there have been a good reason that boys were taught in the past to suppress their emotionality and rely more on rationalism and determination to endure pain? Perhaps it led to better, more pragmatic decision making? Again, these are question the imperative can’t afford to have concrete answers for.
The other is more personal. I know that if you are a man, you’re reading this with awareness or resistance, that how you interpret these men says a lot about the type of man you are. It’s easy to pretend to be objective, to describe a movement as if I’m not invested in its outcome, but as I researched this story I realized that I couldn’t tell the truth without exposing all of it: healthy masculinity as a sea-change, and why I want my own counter-narrative to be part of the turning tide.
Here we have a man parroting the standard male-shaming the feminine imperative conditions into women. The circular argument goes like this; if you’re a Man with a different interpretation of masculinity and this redefinition offends you it’s because you are insecure in your masculinity. This is a standard trope feminism has bred into the past 4 generation of men and women – “if you don’t agree with the feminized interpretation of masculinity it’s due to your insecurity in your own masculinity.” Ergo, you’re less of a man for disavowing the interpretation. And this interpretation of ‘healthy masculinity’ is one which more perfectly aligns with, and doesn’t inconvenience, the feminine imperative.
He points to data: Generation Y men do more housework and are more involved fathers than any generation in American history. They also have more cross-sex friendships, which Kimmel suggests means that young men see women increasingly as true peers—equals—in life and work.
Again, more feminine-centric presumptions about male intent. Nowhere is there a consideration given towards motive or the socio-economic variables that may have led to these data.
He lists some of the words the men at the summit used to describe healthy masculinity: nurturing, kind, positive, good, caring, courage, confident, inclusive, courageous, honest, accountability, and respect. Not your father’s Marlboro man—but maybe closer to the reality of your father. Which is the point. “We have an exercise we do where we ask men and boys to name the strongest man in their life and then talk about what it is that makes him strong,” McGann says. “Most of the time, it’s their father or a counselor or a minister, and the ways in which they care for them. Or it might be about integrity, or it might be about their willingness to stand up for what they believe in, their compassion, all those kind of qualities—which are much more qualities of character. Those are always the things that we’ve associated with healthy masculinity.”
Here we see the feminine imperative evident in the qualities that should make for a “healthy masculinity.” Dropping a few of the more subjective qualities on this list, you could easily describe women having a “healthy femininity” with these characteristics. The aspersion of the ‘Marlboro Man’ is simply one more caricature of masculinity that’s been a go-to derision of the feminine imperative for decades.
The main problem with the Vichy Male characterization of a new “healthy masculinity” is that their comparative definition of ‘traditional masculinity’ has been so distorted by the feminine imperative over the past 60 years that it’s become a straw man parody that’s easily knocked down. The former “masculinity” they oppose is the ridiculous, beer swilling, fart joke, boob mesmerized, borderline abusive masculinity that’s been reinforced in pop-culture courtesy of feminization. A masculinity that requires a uniquely feminine correction is the mental image these men cling to while establishing themselves as the perfected, new and feminized version of masculinity. In other words, masculinity can only be positive in a feminine defined social framework.
The toxic narratives of unhealthy masculinity are often unquestioned, and they start very young. “There are no four more depressing words in educational policy circles then ‘boys will be boys,’ ” Kimmel says. “Because when do we say that? We say that when we throw up our hands in resignation that we can’t do anything. Why don’t we say ‘boys will be boys’ when a man wins the Noble Peace Prize?
Because doing so would give unique credit to masculinity as being the source of a man’s ability to achieve a Nobel Peace Prize through sheer determination – and that’s a credit the ‘equalist’ agenda can’t afford to have men think about. Boys will be boys and truly, despite the feminized bleating, women wouldn’t want it any other way. Boys will take risks, boys will injure themselves, boys will leave the security of the safe side of the sidewalk their mothers forbid them to leave, because that’s what boys do.
Compassion might be a place to start, for yourself and others. “Trying to hold men accountable connects to unhealthy masculinity,” McGann says. “I’ve said for years that one of the things about unhealthy masculinity, or dominant stories of masculinity, is that men are socialized to push past pain, ignore pain, like it doesn’t harm you in any kind of way, you’re not vulnerable. If you can’t really recognize and experience your own pain, then how can you do it with anybody else?”
Men push past pain for good reason – it is the key to growth into a healthy maturity. Men push past pain, not just a social expectation from other men, but because of the same expectations from women. It’s by necessity, not social pressure.Very few men fail to recognize their own pain, but a feminine mindset determined to vilify masculinity would rather we believe that not expressing that pain is always a net negative. The irony this mindset is oblivious of is that at the first mention of a man’s pain, at the first expression of his own self-concern he is accused of bitterness. “You must’ve been really burned to think what you think.” This is the root of the Male Catch 22.
Like a lot of guys, I had a shitty dad. He was uneasy in himself, abusive, shut down. Being a guy to me seemed located in his hamstrung emotions, his uncomfortable displays of drunken vulnerability. I remember him singing Frank Sinatra in this mournful voice, how I pitied and hated him, how I never wanted to become him.
“No Luke, I am your Father.”
“That’s not true!,….THAT”S IMPOSSIBLE!!”
I suppose I should mention here that virtually all Vichy Males are Promise Keeper.
Whether or not men know the phrase “healthy masculinity,” signs of changes are blooming everywhere. I think about Kimmel, who says the roots of the shifting gender roles are a movement away from rigidity. Feminism allowed women to unlock the parts of themselves society kept from them, and now men are doing the same. He posits that a cure for what ails us that sounds familiar to me, the work I’ve done to become my own man embodied: “I don’t see us as becoming a more masculine culture or a more feminine culture, I see us becoming a more balanced culture,” he says. Look at the last election: men helped vote women into power all over the country, including a transgender woman in New Hampshire.
Mark Minter, paging Mark Minter, please report to the comments section, thank you. One element I find interesting in feminist men is a desire to experience the same so-called liberation from a masculine gender role assignment that feminist women claim to have. It’s as if the feminine identification isn’t complete unless they can tap into that same gender straightjacket indignation release women do – they can’t be ‘equals’ unless they suffer a similar (albeit self-constructed) gender role release. This is the level of conviction Vichy Males strive for.
One part I do agree with though, “Feminism allowed women to unlock the parts of themselves society kept from them, and now men are doing the same.” The tragic irony of women’s innate Hypergamy’s unfettered release on men is entirely lost on McBee. And yes, Men, Alpha Men, are now released from the same previous constrictions.
Men are embracing a more nurturing fatherhood with zeal, from Michael Chabon to the super-engaged, former stay-at-home dad Chris on Up All Night. And Modern Family‘s dinosaur patriarch, Jay, is as old-school as they come, especially next to his touchy-feely son-in-law, Phil. In a reversal of past tropes, however, Jay’s blundering inability to connect to his feelings makes him the joke to be tolerated and Phil’s the man of the moment. More techy than macho, he’s thoroughly nonplussed when he realizes he’s on a gay date just as he’s being kissed.
As I stated above, the only model for masculinity these ‘new men’ have for comparative purposes are the distorted archetypes of masculinity that a feminized pop-culture and media has characterized for them, and here we have the perfect example of this. When all you’ve ever had representative of a masculine archetype has been ridiculous cartoon characters of men, it’s not such a daunting task to “be a better man” than them. In fact, the episode McBee describes here not only props up a “dinosaur patriarch” archetype, but also knocks him down with a character he identifies with in being the ‘new’ definition of masculinity. Yay, for team ‘new man’!
You can read the article in its entirety if you have the stomach, but it essentially ends on the same note as my last highlight here.
Our popular conscious perspective of masculinity has been remolded by the feminine imperative and fed back to the likes of Vichy Males like McBee here. I wish I could say he was an outlier, but he’s not. He’s one more crab in the barrel pulling frustrated, confused and conflicted men back down into feminization. Maybe unwittingly, maybe as a form of Beta Game, but men endorsing and evangelizing the feminine imperative are the most effective ambassadors of the imperative. It’s men, and particularly ones other men respect, who make the best tools for feminization – in fact men’s participation is an integral part of the imperative’s effectiveness in social engineering.
One aspect of McBee’s misgivings I do agree with is the need for a Positive Masculinity. A masculinity not predicated on the social interests of the feminine imperative. One defined by uniquely male standards that embrace our natural capacities for focused agression, that accepts rather than derides the effects of testosterone as a constructive (and yes, destructive) part of our natures. We need a masculinity that recognizes women’s innate arousal and attraction to it as something that sets men apart by its difference from women, not one that attempts to homogenize and androgynize it to be more palatable to women. A masculinity that is respected for being the predominant driving force in what our species has become as a result of it. A masculinity that is unapologetically dominant and beneficent.
We don’t need men to get in touch with their feminine sides, feminization has reinforced this for far too long. Masculinity isn’t about ‘men behaving badly’ in a feminine context, nor is it about parodies of men rediscovering “manly pursuits” pre-manufactured by what the feminine imperative laughs at men for.
Masculinity is about Boys being Boys, and Men being Men.