08: Conclusion

with 3 comments

The Conspiracy

In the very first paragraph of this book I asked you to look in a mirror. I asked you to contemplate certain details and to notice that there is an increasingly large disconnect between who you feel you are and the person in the mirror, a distance between the two yous that is difficult to articulate in words. I then asked you to imagine that gap between the mirror and every man in the world alive right now, then for every man who has ever lived. That’s a lot of disconnect, a vast space between men and the men in the mirror.

This is largely a thinking exercise about perception and how easy it is to realize that what you think you know—your image in the mirror—can swiftly be called into question. If we can acknowledge that new perceptions can be established even in our own reflection, then we can acknowledge that new perceptions can be established in all aspects of our identify. But there’s also a more literal sense to this disconnect between men and the men in the mirror. The masculinity conspiracy is chiefly a dissociative exercise: it forces an unwanted space between men and their potential in order to pursue its own ends (which we will explore shortly). Let’s briefly look back on the previous chapters to see where these spaces are constructed:

  • Within the context of history the dissociative space is constructed by tethering men to the past. The conspiracy argues there are innumerable historical precedents for its model of masculinity, demonstrating it is not just culturally and socially determined, but also biologically determined.
  • Within the context of sexuality the dissociative space is constructed by tethering men to sexual polarity. The conspiracy argues that men’s rightful sexuality is defined chiefly by assertiveness in opposition to women’s sexual receptivity.
  • Within the context of relationships the dissociative space is constructed by tethering men to specific relational dynamics. The conspiracy argues that men and women think and communicate differently and that these differences must be decoded and mastered in order for men to be successful with women.
  • Within the context of fatherhood the dissociative space is constructed by tethering men to a narrow understanding of boyhood. The conspiracy argues that boys develop in particular ways and that to ignore this is to rob them of their true nature.
  • Within the context of archetypes the dissociative space is constructed by tethering men to simplistic behavioral templates. The conspiracy argues there are a small number of mythical or metaphorical models of manhood to emulate that encapsulate its true essence.
  • Within the context of spirituality the dissociative space is constructed by tethering men to Biblical masculinity. The conspiracy argues that sacred texts provide a divinely ordained model of masculinity that does not only show men how to behave, but resists the feminization of faith and society in general.

In each chapter I have unraveled some of the initial problems with these lines of thought, and provided some solutions for re-thinking them in more useful ways, all the while opening up a more fruitful space for your own visions of counter-conspiratorial masculinity rather than a specific alternative.



Written by Joseph Gelfer

August 17, 2011 at 6:48 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Hey Masculinityconspiracy,
    In addition to your post I was wondering, So, here’s my first paragraph. Is it good for a college lit class?

    Definitions of masculinity and femininity are strongly present in The Metamorphosis, Things Fall Apart, and Reading Lolita in Tehran; the roles of the men and women appear to be filled perfectly and working nicely, but upon closer look, both the men and women are struggling. The men appear to be powerful, very masculine, and wonderful providers for their families. The women seem to be fulfilling the roles the men have defined for them perfectly. While all seems well, the men and women are having a difficult time fulfilling the roles their society has set up for them, and it will eventually lead to their families downfalls.

    I’m usually confusing when I write, so is it clear? Is it a good thesis? Does it make sense?

    From there, I plan to write a paragraph on each book and how it backs up my thesis. After that, I don’t really know. I guess I’d write the conclusion, but I feel like I’m supposed to have more?
    BTW great blogpost

    Jeffery Wong

    January 3, 2012 at 12:16 am

    • You could get a decent essay out of that, depending on how it was written up!

      However, you’re not going to be able to get into much depth spanning three books. I would opt for one book, unless you are specifically seeking a comparative analysis between the titles.

      Remember: beginning, middle and end. Tell them what you’re going to say in the introduction, say it in the middle, and tell them what you’ve just said (with slightly more insight) in the conclusion.


      January 3, 2012 at 6:52 am

  2. i agree, but i thing that it’s developmental to a certain degree as well.


    September 4, 2011 at 10:44 am

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