Wednesday 28 March 2012
by Michael Holloway
What Time Is It Now?
Where are we on the path to Gender Equality?
My brain maps things. I like to take stock periodically, measure What Time It Is, in a variety of cultural meme.
The progress of the belief in the equality of Women and Men has I believe, is once again reaching a turning point in our culture. Our beliefs about these issues are foundation stones to changes in cultural practices – and in the Law.
I think we have made great progress in a generation; many boys and men are feminists by nature rather than as something they have learned, or come to believe in through their experience. I count my self among those young men. I found myself with an internalized feminism that didn’t turn to ugly women hating jokes or ‘mistakes’ when in the company of only men. (Unfortuneately) the vast majority of men – the so called baby-boomers – the generation of the great transformation, the cultural revolution of the 1960′s, are that in my opinion.
I come from a very progressive family where gender roles myths were exposed in practice all through my life – a place where the equality of women and men wasn’t a theory, but a day-to-day practice – a fact.
As with all things social, the imperative to fit in is very strong. Many men in the first wave of gender enlightenment understood that women’s equality was a necessary pretense to social acceptance in many of their social circles. It’s likely the root of where the later term ‘politically correct’ came from – and from where the idea that you hear much amoung conservatives — that young men only join social justice causes and cultural movements (like the counter culture or the hippy lifestyle, self identifiers of the 1960′s) — in order to get ‘laid’
(Which for those who choose that view is I think, a euphemism for ‘conquer’, or ‘win’ … the fear of the ‘other’ in them too strong to break the barrier – to allow a sharing, perhaps love. These generally conservative personalities marry, and then explore their sexual selves outside the marriage with-in the safety of a relationship which is a master/slave construct – or to put it more gently, ’free of entanglements’ – with a Mistress.)
In the late 1990′s a backlash against so called ‘politically correct speak’ began (proliferated with aplomb by the mass media – still full of the boyz), which I believe represented a sexual identity crisis in a significant part of the population – but in an especially large proportion of males.
In an attempt to find a balance in the law that corrected gender biases that favoured men, specifically in child custody cases (which severely limited the protections of Habeas Corpus for men – process and law which erred so far towards an accommodation of the traditionally oppressed that men were almost assumed guilty at the beginning of the process, it seemed to many men that went through the process that they had to prove they were not men in order to win equal standing (in a judicial system dominated by men, the imbalance was quickly corrected).
All of a sudden it was OK to talk about the subculture of the male experience again. But this has carried with it in the next generation, a misunderstanding, a disconnect to the cultures important, just learned equality of the sexes lessons.
A subculture of men who were open about their misogyny began to flourish – and then with the events of 9/11, and the subsequent militarization of so many aspects of our culture – this subculture of slightly masked hatred of women has crept into the culture of some young boys and girls though a process of osmosis – and accelerated the meme to the point where many of the gender enlightenment no longer feel safe going about their business with-in the larger culture.
The oppression of women (and of the extremely verboten, feminine male*) has reasserted it’s dominance in our culture now.
More generally, and more hopefully, I think this is a time of rising intolerance in comination with a broad, newly formed, internalization of acceptance.
To me, that’s what time it is.
More on this by me, here at Occupyto.org - 27 March 2012 – “No country for old men? – ‘New Form’ GA to meet Mondays” - http://occupyto.org/2012/03/no-country-for-old-men/
More on this by ‘Sonny’, here at Occupyto.org – 22 March 2012 – “Race Matters” - http://occupyto.org/2012/03/race-matters/