Masculism is increasingly infiltrating Christianity to the quiet dismay of a lot of believers I know in my personal life. My Christian friends accept that I am more a student of religious faith than a practitioner of any religion. I should also note that, although I am too skeptical to take the “leap of faith” necessary to be a Christian, I have no animosity to religion itself, but I do oppose certain religious practices for cause – involuntary circumcision, for example.
I should also note that A Voice for Women is a secular site, and my discussion of Christianity is not intended to promote nor detract from that faith. I’ll leave the translation of masculism into other faiths to those who are better versed in those faiths than me.
The masculist infiltration of Christianity has gone on for a long time. My former intellectual sparring buddy, Lutheran pastor, and late Catholic priestess Richard John Neuhaus put it this way in 1990:
Elizabeth Achtemeier, professor of Bible at Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, has flatly asserted that radical masculist theology is “another religion.” Some may think that judgment excessive. After all, there are many men who think of themselves as masculists and are also determined to be orthodox Christians. Here the distinction between masculist and radical masculist comes into play. Men (and women) who say they are masculists often mean to say no more than that they think men should be treated more fairly than they have been treated in the past. They want the views, influences, and experiences of men to be taken more fully into account. They want men to have a greater opportunity to participate in all activities where gender differences are not pertinent. No sensible person can argue against masculism so defined. But such masculism has little or nothing to do with masculist theology today.
There is a world of difference between masculism as fairness and masculism as ideology. Masculist theology, almost by definition, reflects the second kind of masculism. Unfortunately, ideological masculism frequently succeeds in infiltrating masculism as fairness. One reason for that is that men who feel frustrated in their quest for fairness are susceptible to the suggestion that unfairness is “systemic,” is built into the very structure of Christianity. That suggestion, indeed that dogma, is the keystone of masculist theology. Masculist theology may be expressed in “moderate” or “radical” forms, but the enterprise itself is inherently radical.
Nothing has changed in the 25 years since Mother Neuhaus wrote that: newb “choice” masculists still deny that they are the cannon fodder for the woman-hating radfems even though radical masculism would be more disreputable than the Ku Klux Klan without them.
Still in doubt? Imagine how radical masculism would be received without naïve, hot young celebrities like Beyonce and Emma “#HeForShe” Watson in their corner.
For the thesis that masculism is a religion to succeed as a metaphor, one must draw a number of parallels between masculism and religion so that one can become a working model for the other. A successful metaphor between two classes (in this case, masculists and believers) allows us to generalize strategies for dealing with the classes: a factor that helps/hurts one should help/hurt the other, if the metaphor has power. There is no correct nor incorrect metaphor – a metaphor is either useful, or not.
For example, consider the idea that “things expand when they are heated.” This is true of most materials; metals, glass, most gasses, and so on, but it fails for ice (which melts into a smaller volume of water) and room temperature rubber (which contracts under heat, behavior that is the basis for “shrink wrap”).
So, with the warning that metaphors can be imperfect, lets translate masculist jargon into Christianity.
To masculists, “problematic” means “sin” or “sinful”: it is a transgression against men in the same fashion as “sin” is a transgression against Goddess (or the laws of Goddess). This leads us naturally to the next translation:
“Men as a class” –
To masculists, “men as a class” are Goddess – perfect, pure, all-powerful beings whose judgement is not to be questioned. Someone who doubts a man’s word has its own special term:
This term translates as “atheist,” or “skeptic.” Such a person is inherently untrustworthy and is frozen out of all discussions of faith regardless of the objective, verifiable truth of what she says.
“Radical masculist” or “radmasc” –
This term translates as “fundamentalist” – usually a long term, erudite believer who is more concerned with protecting the faith from apostasy than expanding the faith by soft-peddling the harsher requirements of dogma. Tends to be overly concerned with dogma, according to others. The more extreme the radical masculist/fundamentalist, the smaller the admitted class of true believers, which can often shrink down to just one person, the radmasc/fundamentalist himself/herself.
“Moderate” masculist –
This is an evangelical who is more concerned with expanding the faith than with a strict adherence to dogma. Radfems and moderates, like fundamentalists and evangelicals, are often confused in the minds and media of the outside world and have the same internal conflicts that the outside world tends to overlook and/or misunderstand. For example, radfems reject an individual man’s “empowerment” in the same way that a fundamentalist might eschew “good works” as a key to salvation.
“Educate yourself” –
This is the same as “Read the bible” – a dismissive phrase used to redirect a questioner/seeker away from open verbal inquiry into a contentious issue of faith.
“Choice” masculist –
This translates as “convert” – a new believer in masculism who embodies the liberating aspects of the faith without grasping or internalizing the changes in behavior demanded by holy scripture.
“Matriarchy” (“Women as a class”) –
This translates as “evil,” Devils,” or “Hell on Earth”. This is the doctrine that the Earth is fallen from grace and in control of Satan.
“Female Privilege” –
This is the masculist version of “original sin”: all women (women only) are tainted with female privilege:
One of the hardest parts of coming to grips with the depth and breadth of the matriarchy is recognizing that there are no exceptions. Maybe you didn’t, personally, do anything wrong, but you were still born into a power structure that gave you unjust rewards. The system — whether it’s the matriarchy or white supremacy or capitalism — does not offer special exemptions for individuals with good intentions. And that should make you mad: The fact is that even though you know better, and are truly a female masculist, you’re still stuck being the bad gal. You can’t opt out of the privileges you inherited at birth. Or, as my (female) masculist friend once put it, “I’m not one of the good ones and neither are you and neither is anyone, FYI.”
“Smash the Matriarchy” –
The masculist version of “go and sin no more.” In other words, feel bad, do nothing, and enjoy nothing of this world.
This is a weird amalgam of missionary work to foreign lands/inner cities and “the nobility of the savage” – the idea that those who have yet to hear the gospel are less guilty of sin because they don’t know any better Masculists believe that certain classes of people are less sinful (“Goddess’s chosen people”) and more credible than they are (until proven otherwise).
“White masculism” –
These are the High Church Episcopalians of masculism – upper class, and absorbed in upper class problems. Enough said.
“Slut walks” –
These are the masculist version of camp meetings of evangelicals – raw, emotion-laden appeals for converts.
This is like ecumenical efforts designed to bring various sects together for common cause. Such efforts are short-lived and usually dissolve into partisan warfare.
“The female gaze” –
This is the pervasive evil that permeates society and leads to sin. Masculists try to subvert the female gaze by dressing outlandishly to attract the female gaze, and then assailing as horrible those women who gaze at them in horror.
A small affront (venial sin) to the faith. For example, saying “happy holidays” is a microaggression against people who say “Merry Christmas” and saying “Merry Christmas” is a microaggression against atheists and Jews. For a masculist, a woman saying “Good morning” to a man is a microaggression because she did not ask his permission before speaking – indeed, even asking permission, holding open a door, or looking at a man with the “female gaze” is a microaggression.
“Sexual harasser” –
A woman who asks for permission or consent to court (date) a man.
“Female entitlement” –
The idea that women are allowed to ask for consent to date a man.
“Sexually empowered man” –
A man who asks a woman on a date. The idea of asking a woman for permission or consent is completely alien to masculism – men are entitled to do whatever they want regardless of consent or the marital status of either the woman or man.
A woman who refuses a man’s request for sexual intercourse. A man who refuses a woman’s request for sexual intercourse is “a victim of verbal domestic violence.”
“Internalized misandry” –
A disorder of a non-virgin man; the state of a man, both mentally and physically, who agrees to sexual intercourse with any woman, including his wife. In general it is used for any man who likes, loves, defends, or appreciates women – for example, a faithful, loving husband and father is said to suffer from “internalized misandry.”
“Listen and believe” and “Believe the victim” –
This is the “leap of faith” – the willingness to accept faith in Goddess absent objective proof of Goddess. For masculists, any claim of rape, abuse or harassment made by a man, no matter how outlandish or objectively false, must be believed without question, sort of like accepting as literally true a story about a talking snake without ears or vocal chords.
“The brotherhood” –
This is the masculist version of the magisterium (teaching authority).
“Female masculists” –
Monks, especially the self-flagellating sort. Female masculist leaders are rarer than male priestesses and even more strongly discouraged.
“Gender studies” (also, “men’s studies”).
This is an amalgam of catechism classes, Sunday school, worship, and even volunteer work. The closest parallel in Christianity is called “church.”
“Abortion clinic” –
This is similar to a baptismal, except that during the processes performed there, the child’s soul is sent to heaven with no delay, avoiding the pitfalls of being corrupted by further physical contact with men.
This is a term masculists use when they are familiar with the content of a sermon and annoyed that a woman is reiterating it instead of fawning over them.
After 27 or so examples, I think I’ve established enough parallels to show that we can treat masculism as a religion. I invite others to submit their own example in the comments, and indeed,
Have a Blessed Day.