THE MASCULINITY CONSPIRACY

07: Spirituality cont’d

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Let’s then look at those aspects of masculinity tabled by Coughlin, such as assertiveness. Why is assertiveness masculine? Because the conspiracy says so? Because it is “natural” in men but not in women? Those are not compelling reasons to me. What we are seeing here is that the very meaning of what is and is not masculine is not just socially constructed, but also problematic in one of two ways: first, the meaning assigned to masculinity is completely arbitrary; second, the meaning assigned to masculinity proactively serves the ends of the conspiracy (the ultimate agenda of which we will unpack further in the next—concluding—chapter).

Fox’s book provides some good examples of this seeming conundrum. Remember those ten metaphors of which Fox writes: Father Sky; the Green Man; Icarus and Daedalus; Hunter-Gatherers; Spiritual Warriors; Masculine Sexuality, Numinous Sexuality; Cosmic and Animal Bodies; the Blue Man; Earth Father; Grandfather Sky. Fox has done a better job of making his metaphors “masculine” by connecting them specifically with men’s roles and images of men (albeit glossing over the sex/gender distinction we explored in the Introduction chapter). As such his “ten metaphors to awaken the sacred masculine” seem, initially, more intuitively correct than Coughlin’s values which happen to have been assigned to men. But this is simply a cursory gesture that is not immune to the fundamental question of why?

Why are the values behind Father Sky, the Green Man and any other of Fox’s metaphors masculine? Because they are values performed by men? This reasoning makes no sense. What happens, for example, when a man and a woman both embody the value of nurturing? Is nurturing a feminine value for the woman, and a masculine value for the man? If this is the case then there are no inherently masculine or feminine values, rather gender-free values that happen to be performed and embodied by men and women. Or is it the case that we are witnessing a man embodying a feminine value? If this is the case then please provide me with a compelling argument as to why nurturing is inherently feminine. I’m waiting… Remember, too, that we’re talking here within the context of nurturing, but this reasoning extends to each and every theme and value we have examined in this book.

CONTINUE >>>

Written by Joseph Gelfer

August 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm

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