I’m pretty down lately, thinking about men. Coming to grips with just how wrong we got it in the past ten thousand years or so, with how far off track we are as humans, and whose fault it is that we’re here…
(I mean, this “pretty down” is on top of being horrified, enraged, embittered, and of course the frustration of feeling unable to do anything in the face of a world usurped by those who take what they want and turn everyone into fun-fems or MRA zombies. This is minor shit in the grand scheme. I’m just being self-indulgent here. :P )
I envision the world from a radical feminist separatist’s point of view, and I’m ambivalent. I see a world like the Mosuo – the Na – of western China. It’s matrilineal, with the household and family centering around women, and men generally belonging to their mother’s home. (Or at least, that’s how it is for now. We’ll see how things change as the consumerist world continues to consume them.) It’s worth learning more about them. There’s been a lot of anthropological interest in “the only remaining matrilineal society in all of China”.
When I look at the Na, I’m melancholy. On the one hand, I see the closest thing to a stable, nonviolent, family-oriented society that can exist and still be primarily agricultural. They don’t have a word for “rape”, for cryin’ out loud. But on the other hand, I see a society which can be so peaceful and stable precisely because men don’t have a role in the day-to-day running of the household.
Men are violent. Or at least, violence comes from men. So it seems that the only way to have peace is to treat men like dogs: creatures who are useful, friendly, even enchanting… but never safe. Like dogs, if you teach a man to work, give him a satisfying job, keep him fed and dry, and pat his head, he’ll generally keep his teeth to himself and live a happy life. But like dogs, if you let a man think he’s got the run of the place, he’ll piss on all your stuff – and you’ll always be wondering whether any given encounter with him will turn vicious.
I’m feeling this dog analogy. Let me run with it a bit.
There are some dogs who are more family-friendly than others. If you’ve got kids, a border collie or cairn terrier is one thing, but a pit bull or Rottweiler is too threatening. In fact, a lot of dogs are great workers, very loyal, all these great qualities, but they’ve had a fundamental flaw bred into them. Literally bred into them; their genes make them untrustworthy. Just like trainability, a capacity for self-control, and a disposition toward gentleness is bred into the border collie.
Lately, from a human history standpoint, it seems like men have been more pit bull than pettable. (that was a lol, lol with me) And we don’t have the benefit of easily defined physical characteristics to set us apart. No phenotype will ever tell you whether you’re dealing with someone who is perfectly content in our rampant rape culture. To pull a phrase from a long-forgotten source, every man is Schrödinger’s rapist. For those not familiar with Erwin Schrödinger and his quantum kitty, the takeaway is that every man must be treated as a potential rapist – as a current rapist, someone who has probably raped and is probably looking to do so again right now.
Did something happen with the dawn of agriculture? Have our hormone levels shifted since we first became distinct as a species? What were testosterone levels like in paleolithic men, a hundred thousand years ago? Have we men been literally breeding (raping) ourselves into a dangerous, sickly parody of what we could have been? (Can we blame it on our interbreeding with the vaguely creepy, carnivorous Neanderthal? That would be convenient. “I’m an asshole because my Neanderthal DNA is totally dominant. Check out this jutting jaw and sloped forehead. Also, I’m potentially cannibalistic.”)
In other words: does the only hope for our future as a species lie with the disenfranchisement and exclusion of men? Are we merely dogs, after all?
So, see, I’m melancholy. The Buddhist, the humanist, and the tenaciously clinging third waver in me all say that personal responsibility, self-awareness, and human connections can overcome the evil in any person. But the pragmatist, the radical profem, and my own rocky path out of modern masculinity are all tossing popcorn and booing. And all these parts of me mourn for all the possibilities of human history which have been crushed under the heels of men.