Last time, I detailed why men need women. Which is perhaps putting it too nicely for the menz, since that sounds like it’s short for “men need women around”, which puts men at the center and women around them, which I think I called out as a generally disastrous situation. So I guess it would be better to say that I detailed why women should be at the center, and maybe men could hang around at the edges if they behave well enough, hoping for a useful spot in the household. Important distinction to make: Men need women, but women don’t need men. Unless they want to reproduce. And, given recent scientific breakthroughs, even that won’t be a guaranteed job for men for long.
So let’s engage in a flight of fancy for a moment. Let’s say that Artemis (or Athena, or, I dunno, Emma Goldman) came swooping down and led the world’s women into a new Amazonian utopia. Things are great for everyone, except in New Jersey, a place Dan Brown, Joss Whedon, and other noted demonologists have pinpointed as a swirling pain-hole. (It doesn’t matter if it’s in Hawaii. Jersey just seems more appropriate.) The men are relegated here. The women are kinder than they have any excuse to be: we men will be educated, fed, clothed, and otherwise provided for by shipments, broadcasts, and the like; further, the women will not interfere at all in our lives – so long as we don’t stray over the wall.
Now, I kinda like this scenario, except then I remember what side of the wall I’d be on. The wrong side. With the men.
How could it be the wrong side? you ask. This hypothetical sounds pretty swell, Jersey aside: we get whatever we need, and complete autonomy within our postage stamp. Finally, we can handle things the right way! (‘Cause we’re doing such a great job of that now, when women are marginalized, hm?)
The first thing that would happen would be a war. A big honkin’ war, and it would be the most brutal war the world had ever seen. You know the old saw: “I dunno about Dubya Dubya Three, but the fourth world war will be fought with rocks and sticks”? At least we’d get to skip the nuclear winter implied in that chestnut. Of course the women would have made sure we didn’t have access to weapons, or easily weaponizable materials, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t get to fight.
And we’d have a lot to fight about. With no wealth following us over the wall, we’d have to decide who would be in control of the resources. We’d have to separate out the haves from the have-nots. Democracy would be proposed, of course, but since all the men of the world would be in this enclave, there would be those kind of people in with us, and they don’t understand Democracy and Justice and Our Religious Values. Anyway, no one would be able to understand anyone else who didn’t speak the same language, so there’d be screaming arguments in gibberish over the line to the latrine which would escalate into murderous conflict. Hour one. Guaranteed.
(Tip: Women would not be spending their time fighting and establishing hierarchies in Amazonia. There might be a global conversation about power and privilege, and not everyone would necessarily be happy with the results, but I think they’d manage without anyone being killed. In the end, my wager is that situational chains-of-command would arise when necessary, and would fade away just as quickly when the need was over. But that’s another post for another day.)
So once we’d sufficiently reduced our population, we’d have our stratification. Jocks and nerds, winners and losers. But it’s not over yet. We’d have another problem: sex. Men need it (no they don’t). If a man doesn’t have sex on a regular basis, he will choke and die (“penisphyxiation”). So immediately another class of men would arise: the bottom-class. The men who have always wanted to be exactly what they expect women to be now. The “replacement women”. With the bottom class happy to take on the role that men have spent the past ten thousand years forcing onto women, they will be sufficiently feminized that it won’t be “gay” for the top class to have sex with them – that is, the top class won’t have their manhood threatened by a perceived equal. Of course, expect a normalization of BDSM culture, which will serve to extremify these roles and permanently canonize them into the social order.
Oh, and slavery. Men have a hard time refraining from pushing everything to the extreme, and if plain ol’ self-entitlement doesn’t make some men force others into servitude, then the entitlement hidden within male sex culture will do it. (The entitlement’s not hidden very well – the Hidden Pictures segment of Highlights for Children looks like a feat of clever obfuscation in comparison – but as a recovering doodbro, I can sadly attest that it could be wrapped in neon and blaring “Stars and Stripes Forever” and it would still be invisible to the average fella.) It might be based on something as simple as race or language group, but the menfolk of the modern era are sophisticated; we’d probably base it on IQ or something (so that the tests could be skewed in favor of a particular race or language group).
Already I don’t want to cast my mind any further into this scenario. Starting to look like John Norman’s Gor here.
Maybe I’m being an extremist. Could be that the situation would engender a heartwarming brotherhood, where everyone works together, unified by a common purpose, building something greater than ourselves. And when it’s done being built, we’d release the lever, and the catapult would launch the bomb over the wall, and Emma Goldman would have to open a can in retaliation. I mean, misogyny does a pretty good job of unifying men right now. Bros before hos and what. Men don’t take well to feeling caged (read: having our entitlement addressed).
The best thing that women can do for themselves is separate. It’s also the worst thing that could happen to men. I wouldn’t blame women for doing it, but I’m hoping for a future where men choose to separate, where we leave women alone until we can get our shit together. Take the log out of our collective eye instead of claiming that there’s no log, it’s just that everyone else has specks in theirs.
This series isn’t over yet. There are at least two major themes which still deserve a look. What would the world be like if men existed with women, instead of without them (as above) or against them (as currently)? And, rather than put the onus on women (again), what can men – in groups, not individually – do to shape up the situation now?