It is so easy to blame feminism for the ills of the world – mainly because of continued misconceptions and misunderstandings about the definition or meaning of feminism. Feminism is responsible for poverty, bad leadership, wars, the polar vortex, the list goes on. Feminism is still considered a derogatory term that serves to incite prejudice against those who label themselves as one. In fact, negative connotations surrounding feminism are exacerbated in today’s culture, especially in the media. Fox News seems to be the poster child of “femiphobia” – a term coined by Stephen Ducat and defined as “wanting to repress every man’s feminine side and demonize the feminine and gay wherever we see them.” Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Nick Adams, in a recent interview, illustrate this femiphobic viewpoint by blaming feminism for raising a culture of “wimps” and “wussies” and thus compromising the U. S.’s national security and weakening its global presence. In other words, feminism is to blame for the problems of the world.
According to Adams, men around the world are no longer allowed to be “manly” and that this phenomenon is a “dangerous” problem:
American men are of course very susceptible to it. It’s really important particularly in America given the leadership role that America has in the world that American men be allowed to be men.
What does in mean to be a man and how is Adams defining that stereotype? While I am aware of the discussion of gender identity and roles even gendered stereotypes, this post is not about what those roles mean. Rather, for this point of discussion, I want to address the issue of masculinity, feminism, and what it means to be a “wimp” as portrayed by popular media.
With that caveat in mind, I ask the following questions:
Is the author suggesting a move to a “hypermasculinity”?
Is Adams identifying masculinity with aggression and violence in a world where feminists and perhaps all women are demonized?
In a society dominated by the “alpha male” character trait,male honor and pride are paramount. Is Fox News telling men to replace so-called passive behavior with pride, abrasiveness, authoritarianism, and arrogance–in such a world if where women are demonized, then assaultand rape will follow. The call for “real men” or “hyper-masculinity” therefore provides a real potential to move us further towards a misogynistic rape culture of violence–in the direction of barbarianism.
“Where are you from?” I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me that question since moving to California. I would be able to make a substantial payment towards my student loan debt by now. No one knows I’m “different” here in SoCal until I open my mouth. My thick Southern accent happens to be my signifier.
Before I moved to Claremont to begin graduate school, I never considered my accent a problem. Despite the fact that when I moved outside of my hometown to college only two hours away, some of my friends teased me about my accent. Since I grew up in the very southwestern corner of Georgia, I lived right along the Alabama border. Some of my college friends from other regions of Georgia thought I sounded more Alabamian. Still, mostly everyone I went to college with had some form of a Southern accent and that was okay. It was safe. It was normative. Continue reading “Navigating the Academy with an Accent by Amanda Pumphrey”