July issue of Reason, Cathy Young offers some...


June 29, 1994

IN THE July issue of Reason, Cathy Young offers some provocative thoughts on feminism and masculism. Here are some excerpts:

"Although masculism challenges the politically correct view of women as an oppressed class, it often shares some key elements of p.c.: the 'politics of identity,' which eclipse the notion of a universal human condition; an antipathy to such Western values as rationality, competitiveness, and individual achievement; the tendency to view human experience as shaped primarily by restrictive social forces rather than individual will and action. At its worst, masculism can sound like the ne plus ultra of political correctness: The pantheon of the oppressed is completed by the admission of straight white guys. . .

"Feminism not only displaced men from their traditional ground as the human norm but often depicted them as less than human. While 19th-century notions of male superiority in intellect and leadership are now taboo, Victorian views of female superiority in compassion, morals and parental love are very much alive. Male put-downs of women are relegated to the lowbrow culture of Andrew Dice Clay; female put-downs of men are found on greeting cards and in the halls of Congress. Many men drawn to the men's movement are reacting at least as much to male bashing as to frustration with male roles. . .

"One way to escape what can become a vicious cycle of masculism and feminism trying to outshout and out-whine each other is for men's activists to focus on specific issues, particularly disparities in the legal and social treatment of women and men. Divorce is a good example. The traditional paternal role may not have been such a bad deal in the past, with unique satisfactions that were not necessarily inferior to those of maternal nurturing. But high divorce rates mean that many men bear the burden of providing without the rewards of any kind of real fatherhood -- old or new.

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