By Jeffrey Nall
Bell hooks contends that the patriarchy is the "most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation." Throughout its more than 4,000-year history, Western patriarchal culture has never meaningfully wavered from its advocacy of violence as the fundamental tool to resolve disputes, be it between nations or between individuals, and to establish support for claims of "manhood," a term that has historically been synonymous with "dignity" or inherent worth. As Gilligan explains: "Masculinity, in the traditional, conventional stereotypical sex-role of patriarchy, is literally defined as involving the expectation, even the requirement, of violence, under many well specified conditions: in time of war; in response to personal insult; in response to extramarital sex on the part of a female in the family; while engaging in all-male combat sports; etc."
Armed with the threat of shame and emasculation, patriarchy fosters the expectation and demand that males seek control over connection, silence their emotions or risk identification with the "inferior sex," and resolve major problems including profound internal turmoil by turning to force. They are to form identities based on the pillars of emotional detachment, stoic toughness and mental and physical exhibitions of dominance. This patriarchal model of masculinity does not encourage nonviolent emotional expression nor does it remind others that men's well-being requires such opportunities. Instead, "real" men are encouraged to act impervious and indifferent to physical and emotional pain. In practice, this means men are supposed to contain and shove down their feelings. But these feelings cannot be repressed forever. For this reason, anger is perhaps the most commonly glamorized and accepted form of manly emotional expression. Patriarchy's bargain with men deprives them of human wholeness, giving them anger--much of it socially condoned--as their defining quality and mode of expression.
What someone said about Iraq:
Former Bush Official: We Went Into Iraq Because 'We Were Looking For Somebody's Ass To Kick': Report
applies to almost any problem or situation. From killing Indians to defending sports mascots, our goal is to prove ourselves the alpha male, the winner, the chosen one.
For more on the subject, see Zimmerman Verdict Shows America's Pathology and America's Culture Based on Violence.