Saturday, December 07, 2013

A drift in modern culture

An American woman makes this interesting observation:
Whether intentionally or not, modern culture has become such that men are held to a certain standard of conduct and women largely are not. Any few standards to which women are or used to be held, e.g. chastity, kindness, beauty and/or childrearing prowess, are contested and ultimately abandoned, because oppression. In today's culture, a man's chief duty is to everyone else, while a woman's foremost duty is to herself. A woman is entitled to a good man, while a man must fight, jump through hoops, beg for and otherwise "earn" a good woman.

The degree to which this is true of individual women varies, but I do think it's true of our culture in general.

I think what happened is this. Liberalism preached the idea that the aim in life is to maximise our individual autonomy, i.e. to have as few restrictions on our self-determining choices as possible.

But (particularly on the left) the idea took hold that men were privileged when it came to autonomy in comparison to women. For instance, the wife of the deputy PM in Britain claimed earlier this year that men are "able to toy with unlimited options" in life whereas women "face a series of stark choices".

Such an idea might be fraudulent, but nonetheless it was believed. It could then be used to justify the idea that the aim of politics was to push to maximise autonomous choice specifically for women. What mattered was whatever women wanted and men were expected to go along with the programme as a matter of social justice.

And over time the general attitude seeped into the culture. It became expected that men would do the right thing, women their own thing.

It's not a viable way of organising society in the long term. There are liberal MRAs (men's rights activists) who believe that the way to change the situation is to challenge the idea that men are privileged in comparison to women and then to push towards an "equal autonomy" in which men and women have the same roles and responsibilities in life.

Traditionalists like myself agree with the liberal MRAs when it comes to challenging the idea of men as privileged oppressors. We have that much in common. But what we would like to see is a return to complementary relationships between men and women: the roles and responsibilities would be allowed to differ according to masculine and feminine inclinations and traits, but both men and women would be held to a standard.


  1. "The idea took hold that men were privileged."

    Privelage is a leftist term, it is a very well thought out expression created through the semantic strategy of equivocation. It connotes the idea of undeserved advantage created mischievously, the real meaning it masks is, 'superior'.

    Whether by design or accident MRAs have (un)wittingly accepted the concept of privelage and further the leftist agenda by supporting the equivalence of the sexes.

  2. I agree with you wholeheartedly. While I am in sync with much of what I read in MRA blogs, sometimes I see men aping the worst aspects of feminism, demanding a purely theoretical but quite unpracticable idea of equality. Just like the feminists, any marriage or relationship that does not include similar responsibilities for earning and providing is rejected out of hand, because it is not "equal." Women should make equal economic contributions, etc. I see some MRAs encouraging men to a sort of selfishness that feminists have encouraged women to. The message seems to be that, instead, we should just live for ourselves, rejecting any and all responsibilities that were traditionally associated with our sex, until feminists finally realize the folly of their ways. Like feminism, that's just constructing an ideology to justify selfishness.

  3. Mark,

    I know this is somewhat off-topic, but I've just found an absolutely fantastic article on the subject of "white privilege":

    This level of insight in this article is astounding. It's the best thing I've read in a long time and I would thoroughly recommend you read it.

  4. "But (particularly on the left) the idea took hold that men were privileged when it came to autonomy in comparison to women."

    Another way of looking at it is from the theological perspective of woman as representative of all of humanity. A disordered emphasis on the fulfillment of woman is flattering to all, men and women alike, inasmuch as woman is the image of man. It is the obvious direction that humanism would take if that philosophy is a pitting of man against God. If man is made in the image of God and woman in the image of man, then the humanist idea of Man being at war with God naturally translates to Woman being at war with Man.