Social Injustice Social Issues

New frontiers of feminism: reforming and correcting the too masculine man

Rome . Empowerment, dismantling of patriarchy and detoxification from the old canons are no longer enough: the new direction of feminism is the corrective maneuver, the reform of the male.

“We’ve been so busy lifting up women that we haven’t focused on the reason we had to do it, which is the fact that men hurt them,” Jessica Valenti, a feminist activist and journalist, told The Cut. #metoo initiatives – he has a column in the Guardian, “The Week in Patriarchy”, which he inaugurated shortly after the election of Donald Trump to the White House and through which he updates readers on the state of progress of machismo. If so far we have acted on the effects to eradicate sexism and misogyny, the time has come to work on the causes – and Valenti has no doubts about the fact that these causes are men. It is a change in method that Valenti is a candidate, if not to guide, at least to promote and encourage and which, however, is not one of her intuitions: it is, however, her idea to put it into practice. For many months we have been discussing toxic masculinity, that is, the prototype to which our societies have forced and are forcing men to adhere. The strong and heavy male who never has to ask for help or consent, who does not falter, does not cry and bases his relationships on possession rather than empathy. Wikipedia’s definition of toxic masculinity is: “One of the ways in which patriarchal society harms men”, complete with an example: “The idea of ​​man-woman interactions as competition, not cooperation”. That patriarchy also disadvantages males is a fixed point of the battle, much opposed by feminists and not very recent, of the MRA ( Men’s Right Activism ) which despite having many memes in common with feminism (“Keep Calm and Smash Patriarchy”) , starts from a more complex, opposite assumption, and argues that our societies were built on male expendability. Ultimately, even Valenti admits that what intoxicated men was a precise cultural dictate and it is from that dictate – here lies the novelty – that he believes it is the burden of feminism to liberate men, to impose another, better one on them, developed by women with the enthusiastic and “optimistic” competition of the feminists. This liberation by prescribing is a vice of the emancipation packaged by contemporary pop feminism which has opponents: Jessa Crispin ( Why I’m not a feminist , published this year in Italy by Sur), for example. Or the letter of the hundred French women against #metoo (reduced to a vulgar “manifesto for free harassment” by the press that cannot translate and by the indignant who cannot read).

In his next book, The Mysoginists: who they are, why they hate us and how to stop them (how will it be translated in Italy? Here we root for misogynists explained well ), Valenti announced that we will read, in addition to a manual on how to ferret out misogynists and sexists, the proposal of a “far-sighted model of masculinity”, what according to her lost males are looking for and, for now, find on the wrong paths (she cites Jordan Petersson, the Canadian scholar accused of being the ideologue of the incels , the involuntary celibates who believe it is legitimate to force women to go to bed, who maintains that to stem men’s violence, monogamy must be imposed on women). “It’s one thing to say that we need an alternative culture for men and another to create it and I don’t know if it’s a female responsibility to do so: male feminists must intervene,” says Valenti. Therefore, the recipe seems clear: taking inspiration from women, and after self-exorcism, men must build a feminism-proof male model. A model that allows – in Valenti’s words – “to make sexism a cause of social ostracism: the sexist must not be able to leave the house, he must not live peacefully”. If we dare to dare a radical criticism, it seems like the harbinger of toxic femininity: another undeniable gain for equalization.

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