THE MASCULINITY CONSPIRACY

08: Conclusion cont’d

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But in exactly the same way that the conspiracy constructs a particular form of masculinity (demonstrating its changeability), so too is the conspiracy itself constructed. Wink argues the domination myth took hold through various accidents of social and cultural construction and warfare (and, importantly for Wink, humanity’s Fall from grace in the eyes of God), to the point where it seemed ingrained in human nature. This does not mean that domination is inherent in humanity, simply that it was forced up on it, as noted by Wink: “The struggle for domination meant that many humane cultural options that people might have preferred were closed off. The self-interests of individuals were subordinated, often even sacrificed, to the interests of the larger systems in which they were embedded.”

Identifying how the conspiratorial machine operates then becomes increasingly simple. Domination as the myth of default human behavior took hold, and we can see how this filters across society. Wink claims, “power lost by men through submission to a ruling elite was compensated by power gained over women, children, hired workers, slaves, and the land.” In that sentence alone we see our previous contenders for the conspiracy: patriarchy, capitalism, class, race, and how they all serve the domination myth.

The domination myth became the consensus reality, taking on a life of its own: this is why it is impossible to identify a “person” behind the conspiracy, because the conspiracy is the sum of all our actions and complicity within the domination myth. Further still, Wink argues that even the leaders who run the various modes of domination do not have genuine agency in the matter: their roles are conferred upon them by the domination system. For Wink, “people have thus become slaves of their own evolving systems, rather than civilized society being the servant of its members.”

In order for such a false consensus reality to take hold, we—as actors in this conspiratorial drama—must allow ourselves to be blinkered by the conspiracy. Or, in the parlance again of The Matrix movie, we must choose to take the blue pill: “wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” Wink claims that “whatever the System tells our brains is real is what we are allowed to notice; everything else must be ignored.” This explains how the “natural” and “common sense” appear to prevail in the conspiracy, despite there being easy-to-grasp alternatives: our conspiracy-conditioned brains simply cannot see them, they must be ignored.

Have you ever been faced by a large quandary (let’s say third world poverty) that seems so blindingly easy to fix (a more equitable distribution of global capital), but the solution seems so obvious and simple that you feel it must be wrong—otherwise we’d be doing it, right? That’s the domination myth at work: the consensus reality it constructs will not allow us to accept the blindingly obvious solution. Similarly, the conspiracy will not allow us to accept the blindingly obvious alternatives to the model of masculinity it demands.

For many, the real horror is not that this has happened throughout human history (although this is bad enough), but rather coming to the realization that this trick has been pulled on us personally and our role within it. Wink states, “It is only after we experience liberation from primary socialization to the world-system that we realize how terribly we have violated our authentic personhood—and how violated we have been.” For some, the horror is too great: Plug me back into the matrix! For others, the pulling back of the curtain to see the “great” wizard is a genuinely empowering revelation: I have met people who have woken up to this fact and rapidly changed their lives in fundamental ways.

So to recap, while it is important to understand how the conspiracy works in terms of masculinity, it is also important to understand what is actually behind the conspiracy:

  • The conspiracy mobilizes patriarchy by encouraging men to oppress women (and atypical men), but paradoxically has little interest in men as individuals.
  • Patriarchy is not the conspiracy, nor are other plausible-sounding contenders such as capitalism, classism and racism.
  • Power and domination are at the heart of the conspiracy.
  • The domination myth is simply a consensus realty. Despite the claims of the conspiracy, it is not natural or inevitable.

CONTINUE >>>

Written by Joseph Gelfer

August 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm

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