Friday, May 02, 2014

The strangest thing in the world

For me, the strangest phenomenon in the world is the assault on the feminine.  Here I'm defining the feminine as a set of qualities that include nurturance, kindness, empathy, and compassion.  And historically (but not always), these qualities were embodied by women.  These are qualities that connect people and are the basis for love. [I realize I'm in all sorts of dangerous territory here with these definitions because they risk being essentializing, partial, or just plain untrue. So for example, is love a feminine quality or is there a masculine version of love or is love beyond gender? But that's a question for another post.] These are the qualities that provide us our greatest joy as human beings.  So then rape is not only a crime, in fact, it makes no sense at all (it should not exist, it should be beyond our capacity to imagine it) because it's the one thing guaranteed to take us farthest away from the source of love and joy.

But then the case gets even weirder -- because the Jesus story is an attempt to explain the human assault on the feminine.  Of course at this point we have to note the obvious irony that evangelical Christians in the U.S. have built their entire faith around an assault on the feminine and the deification of hegemonic masculinity.  But as far as the actual Biblical text, Jesus is the most feminized guy one can imagine in the ancient world.  While there is debate as to whether he was married to Mary Magdalene, asexual, or gay -- he was certainly queer.  He walked around basically homeless with a band of social misfits and he connected with EVERYONE regardless of their station in life.  And he gets killed by a collusion between the mob and the state (indicting both culture and institutionalized hegemonic masculinity).  While the Old Testament is trying to answer the theodicy question (why do bad things happen to good people -- Old Testament answer: it's our fault) the New Testament is trying to answer a trickier question -- why on earth do people try to quash the feminine when it is the pathway to love? Jesus being killed on the cross is a metaphor for misogyny and the mystery of societal contempt for the feminine (when it is largely defenseless, only there to do good, and for most people, the primary source of love).

And so basically I have no sympathy or interest in hanging out with people or institutions that participate in the assault on the feminine -- Republicans, masculinist (which is most) religions, capitalism, most men's movements, Wall Street, Ivy League universities, fraternities, BDSM cultures (whether straight or queer), masculinist alternative movements, etc.  In fact, my work is to undo the harm they create in the world and provide an alternative.

I fear I've simply revealed my own unique ontology here rather than shedding much light on the human condition itself. (For example, I believe that most women I know would strong disagree with my analysis here and are much more comfortable with and sympathetic to masculinity than I am.) Still, this is the question that animates me so I thought I would post it here.

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