The end of the macho

// 17 September 2006

Masculinity has to go. Or at least that’s the conclusion of Robert Jensen, author of The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege, in this AlterNet opinion piece.

If masculinity is defined as conquest, it means that men will always struggle with each other for dominance. In a system premised on hierarchy and power, there can be only one king of the hill. Every other man must in some way be subordinated to the king, and the king has to always be nervous about who is coming up that hill to get him. A friend who once worked on Wall Street — one of the preeminent sites of masculine competition — described coming to work as like walking into a knife fight when all the good spots along the wall were taken. Masculinity like this is life lived as endless competition and threat.

A lot of the emphasism of feminism is, of course, on women. But this is a nice reminder that change is in men’s interests as well.

Meanwhile, Women’s eNews reports on how US mothers coming out of jail often find it difficult to regain custody of their children.

Sparked off by Sherrybaby, a film about an ex-con trying to get her life together, Angeli Rasbury reveals how the system is stacked against mothers: they do not qualify for the equivilent of council-housing, they are often excluded from welfare payments for families, as well as contending with relatives reluctant to trust them again or the social services.

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