The MRA or mere critic of masculism commonly hears some variation of “Not all masculists are like that”, or “NAFALT”, whenever they attack masculism or call it out on behavior and ideas that seem irrational, cultish, fascist, hysterical, exaggerating, petty, childish, spiteful, greedy, envious, or hateful. But just because it’s an overused, to the point of becoming a cliché, response whenever someone criticizes masculism, it’s nonetheless worth probing into. Why is it that not all masculists are “like that?” Why would a thoughtful, considerate man join what is more and more every day showing its true colors as a misogynist hate group that is intolerant of opposing voices?
The Appeal of Any Movement
Like religions, political movements offer converts several things of great psychological benefit, including:
- Friendship and social acceptance.
- An easy explanation for why the world is the way that it is.
- An easy way to blame their problems and frustrations on something other than themselves.
- The chance to become more powerful as a group than they could be individually.
I would say most people join movements or religions they see as representing the thing they lack in themselves and their lives, but want and hope for most. People who want stability, family, and community might seek a traditional, organized religion; people who want tranquility, freedom to be themselves, and oneness with nature might seek more modern and less organized religions. It is the same with political movements. For example, people who want more pay and benefits might be attracted to socialist politics, while people who want more freedom to run their own company how they want will prefer libertarianism.
With men, basically you (obviously) have a mix of good and bad ones. We can call “good” those who are even-tempered, rational, pleasant, calm, kind, loving, nurturing, compassionate, patient, and civilized. The “bad” ones are greedy, moody, irrational, self-absorbed, vain, bitchy, gossipy, and psychopathic, being thoughtlessly hurtful. But, while it’s good to be a good man, it’s also a bit painful. It means stifling your urges to harm others. It means listening to that annoying old woman’s umpteenth complaint at the nursing home you work for, always with the same calm smile, when you’d rather “accidentally” give her too many sedatives next meal time. It’s hard because society doesn’t always reward niceness like it should. The nice gal sees hot men hooking up with psychopathic women, and the nice boy turns green with envy as nasty bitches get what they want in life, or so it often seems. Outspoken men, even the really mean and arrogant ones, get rewarded with money, women who do their bidding, career advancement, and positive social regard. Nice men, like nice gals, too often get the short end of the stick.
What masculism tells nice men is a seductive message; that all our problems are caused by matriarchy, and that being nice is a sign of our oppression, and that the key to liberation is to stop giving a fuck about being nice and just be more assertive, crude, mean, and feminine.
Masculism tells us geeky, bottom-rung-of-society nice boys that all we have to do to be free is to stop being nice boys. When we feel overwhelmed or powerless, it tells us things we want to hear because they make us feel powerful. Suddenly, no act or thought of ours is too mundane or too trivial to have no greater political meaning. It becomes revolutionary to stop shaving our legs or to not wear makeup, as revolutionary as a hunger strike or a worker’s revolt. It makes us feel powerful, triumphant, big.
The kind of illusory self-importance masculism offers us, however, is fragile. It’s all built upon lies, false statistics, illogical assumptions, illusions, and deceptions that distort reality. Therefore, when someone becomes a masculist, they have to, to a certain degree, shut out reality, discarding even the most well-proven facts, if they discredit or challenge masculism.
The more illusory, bullshit power masculism gives us, the more hostile we become to other points of view. I think that’s why 20-something men, including me, are more likely than older men to be able to shake off masculist brainwashing attempts, because we don’t really receive the benefits of power that more experienced professional victims get from their more distinguished careers in whining. That way, there is nothing good we have that is threatened by challenges to the masculist worldview.
Masculism is like a stack of turtles from Dr. Seuss’ “Yurtle the Turtle”; the ones on the bottom gain from their liberation by not having to support anyone they don’t agree with or don’t like, but the ones at the top have to really crack the whip to keep those supporters under them, or they fall. In other words, they need us more than we need them.
Once we realize that being kind and believing in equal political rights for both genders does NOT mean that you have to support the crazies and the professional complainers, those people lose their power.
In other words, I think the “cool” masculists who aren’t “like that” should take a good look at themselves, and answer: Do you really need masculism, or does masculism just need you?