Trump, toxic masculinity and the Christchurch suicide spike – this damage is us as a colonised and coloniser people

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The horror spike in suicide stats in Christchurch is a moment to pause in shock.

The vast majority of those who have attempted suicide will of course be broken men. The twitter feminists will scream they’re all rapists, the trans activists will scream they’re all transphobic, Green MPs will engage in competitive outrage olympics to show how many more threats they’ve received, woke activists will decry all males as free speech Nazis while  The Spinoff writers will compete in a tournament of who hates men the most.

The modern forces of progress in NZ resemble little more than the Sensible Sentencing Trust in drag wearing a non gender defining dress while weaponising victimhood.

Then we wonder why men self harm and destroy themselves in the vast numbers they do. It is clear to anyone and everyone that something terribly wrong has happened to men and our sense of collective masculinity.

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Which brings me to Trump and toxic masculinity.

I believe that this article right here by Dale Beran is the most insightful view of how emotionally stunted toxic masculinity has deformed men into enjoying a women hating culture war which has been fuelled by broken and lonely boys who with no sense of positive masculinity…

It’s difficult to recall what started Gamergate because, like much of 4chan-style content, it never made sense on the surface. The mind tends to discard such things as nonsense. Nonetheless, there was a beginning. In 2014, a jilted lover claimed his ex-girlfriend had been unfaithful to him. He tried to prove to the internet that he was wronged in an embarrassing and incoherent blog post. The target of his post, his ex, happened to be a female game developer.

Soon 4chan and other like minded-men who felt wronged by women took up the rallying cry. The effort somehow moved from lurid interest in a particular woman’s sex life to a critique of video games. Gamergaters believed that “SJWs” (Social Justice Warriors) were adding unwanted elements into their video games, namely things which promoted gender equality.

Strangely enough, they believed this was happening not because video game creators and the video game press were interested in making and reviewing games that dealt with these issues, but because there was a grand conspiracy perpetrated by a few activists to change video games.

While this whirling connective tissue of nonsense doesn’t seem to make much sense at first glance (and indeed, much of the game-making community and the press in general struggled to understand it), it makes perfect sense if we look at this New York Times story about how more than 16% percent of men in the nation are unemployed.

Again, here we can understand this group as people who have failed at the real world and have checked out of it and into the fantasy worlds of internet forums and video games. These are men without jobs, without prospects, and by extension (so they declaimed) without girlfriends. Their only recourse, the only place they feel effective, is the safe, perfectly cultivated worlds of the games they enter. By consequence of their defeat, the distant, abstract concept of women in the flesh makes them feel humiliated and rejected. Yet, in the one space they feel they can escape the realities of this, the world of the video game, here (to them, it seems) women want to assert their presence and power.

If this sounds hard to believe, take for example Milo Yiannopoulos, the “Technology Editor” at Breitbart News, whose scheduled lecture this month at Berkeley spawned massive riots and protests. Yiannopoulos rose to prominence via Gamergate. He is not a “technology” editor because he compares the chip architectures of competing graphics cards. Rather the “tech” here is code for the fact that his audience is the vast population of sad young men who have retreated to internet communities.

Likewise the mainstream press sometimes describes him as troll as a way of capturing his vague association with 4chan. This term, too, is inaccurate. He is 4chan at its most earnest, after all these men have finally discovered their issue — the thing that unites them — their failure and powerlessness literally embodied (to them) by women.

…these young 4Channers helped promote Trump and Trump’s rise in of itself speaks to the political promotion of toxic masculinity

Understanding the bizarre strands that bond the Alt-Right with this damaged sexual culture are difficult to appreciate if you haven’t seen the mutation of Breitbart media over Obama’s past two terms.

I think the weird hyper-hetrosexual Putin fetishisation that has seduced so many of the Alt-Right is part of this wider backlash towards women fed by this sudden confrontation of privilege via social media.

The Right in America, in an attempt to undermine Obama, always built Putin up as some sort of Ninja Chess player who constantly outplayed Obama. Putin worship in America bonded with the Right as a way to belittle Obama’s foreign policy. Mix those trends in with toxic masculinity insecurity and Putin’s macho man brutality towards the Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans and Gender Fluid communities and this aggressive hyper-heterosexuality has spread like cyber chlamydia throughout right wing social media.

Take the ultimate Alt-Right insult ‘cuck’. Cuckoldry is the sexualisation of everything toxic masculinity hates. The idea of a male allowing his female partner to enjoy her self sexually with any other sexual partner she choses while playing with those taboo gender constructs of power is blasphemy to the Alt-Right. For the vast oceans of men morbidly fractured and damaged by toxic masculinity, the mere idea of giving power away to their partner in such a way is a sin to all and everything they understand.

To me, the need to dominate women and abuse them is a symptom of a failed masculinity in a failed capitalism in a failed culture, Bern picks up this thread

In a previous essay about contemporary counter-culture, I mentioned Barbara Ehrenreich’s The Hearts of Men, a feminist critique that discusses how gender roles bind and control men. Ehrenreich writes about how, in post-war hyper-capitalist 1950s America (the baseline America to which both Trump and Hillary harken back) a new role was invented for men. A man’s wage and his Playboy “bachelor pad” linked his earning potential to his role as a ladies man. This replaced a previous, more conservative ideology in which your earning potential meant you were able to support a wife and children. These two schemes, Ehrenreich maintained, are still the dominant ideas that control men’s behavior in the U.S.

As she pointed out, only “hipsters” managed to break and destroy this schema — the first and most famous ones being the wife-leaving beats, whose sexual adventures both gay and straight were totally disconnected from their earning potential and all societal expectations. They were dead broke (“Dharma”) bums, who much to the frustration of the pro-capitalist Hefner-style playboys, got laid all the time despite being stone broke and sometimes gay to boot. In other words, their enjoyment of life and sex was decoupled from the ideological demands of capitalism.

Recall the central themes of Gamergate: women represent Anon’s “beta” failure in capitalism. Anons have achieved neither of these ideological ideals; they are not playboys with bachelor pads or wage earners with families. If the U.S. were in fact what it pretended to be, that is to say, the best way to become either the playboy or the family man, Anon would not exist. But it is this gap between ideological expectation and cruel reality which created him. Instead, Anon resides in the very opposite of bachelor pads: his mother’s basement. We learned from the New Yorker profile of the alt-right leader Mike Cernovich, that he broadcasts from his girlfriend’s parent’s house, letting his male viewers believe the pool in the background of his webcasts is his, not theirs.

Video games were Anons’ way to retreat from this painful reminder of his failure, a failure which was literally embodied by women — whose physical attainment is the end goal of both ideologies. Gamergate was a pained cry, that here too, even unto their escapist fantasies, empowered women, like the mythological furies, were hounding them.

We can see now why several weeks ago 4chan went to “war” with artists and their “safe spaces”, trying to shut down music and arts venues across the country. What’s striking is how close the populations of 4chan and those who wanted to shut down the “safe spaces” are. The artists themselves are young people on the fringes of the economy who are also immersed in romantic fantasy. The main difference is that the artists have learned different ways to cope with the same problem. Instead of residing in their mother’s basements, they created ways to live together cheaply in warehouse spaces.

By contrasting 4chan with their self-proclaimed enemy, their counter-culture counterparts, we can see that, though demographically they are so similar, the real difference is introduced here — at the thorny of issue of the girlfriend. 4chan’s self-described “beta” males are trapped in this ideology, hating their counterparts whose key difference is a willingness, like the beatniks of old, to slough off the “gender binary” and live how they please.

But rather than take this as reason to be ever more contemptuous of Anons and their misogyny, the left should regard Anon/the deplorables as a failure on its part, a terrific mangling of the left’s own arguments that has resulted in alienating the very group of people who could be the most helped by their ideas, if not the most convinced.

To the deplorables, whose central complaint is one of masculine frailty, pride, and failure — to deny their identities as men is to deny their complaint. They are a group who define themselves by their powerlessness, by being trapped into defeat. But if they are to accept the left’s viewpoint, they must accept that the problem at core of their being is all in their heads. That is to say, the left’s viewpoint of sexual-difference-as-illusion is exactly what they don’t want to hear — that they have cornered themselves into their mother’s basements.

The left does more than simply declare their opposing viewpoint wrong, the radical idea of sex/gender-as-illusion denies their viewpoint an existence. To the left, a complaint stemming from being a man is null space, lying outside the realm of what it will acknowledge as true.

The irony here, of course, is the radical idea of sexual-difference-as-illusion is meant to solve the deplorables’ problem. It was created to liberate those who are oppressed by the concept of sexual difference by dispelling it as a cloud of pure ideas. But to these powerless men, it’s as if the left were addressing their issue by saying in an Orwellian manner, “There’s no such thing as your problem! Problem solved!”  

Here the notion of sexual-difference-as-illusion is not performing the work it was built to do, rather the opposite. Ironically, it works to convince alienated men that sex/gender has marked them as a unique sort of outsider/failures, who cannot be accepted even into the multicultural coalitions that define themselves by their capacity for acceptance. In this way, 4chan’s virulent hatred of gender-bending “safe spaces”, though not justified, makes at least a perverse sort of sense, one tangled in wounded masculine pride.

On a surface level as men we must pause constantly in our interaction with others. Flippant writing off of concerns where our power pushes others over, even when that power is invisible to us, can be interpreted as sexist, abusive and supportive of rape culture. Some men will call that over sensitivity and the other persons problem, but I think such sensitivity is a symptom of just how widespread rape culture has become and how sick of it those who suffer under it righteously are.

On a deeper level as men we must constantly check our own level of privilege (even when we don’t feel or believe we have any privilege) and those of our peer group and be prepared to vocally vote down such behaviour when it is privately on display.

Rape culture stops when we as men rebuild our sense of wounded masculinity in a 21st Century that demands inclusivity and equity. For those finding that a difficult idea to agree to, remind yourself of this…

…but let’s also acknowledge that violence by women towards men also occurs and is grossly under represented in the narrative as well…

Male victims of domestic violence are being failed by the system

According to a 2010 study by Parity, a men’s issues campaigning group, more than 40 per cent of victims of domestic violence are male. Yet startlingly, as BBC London reported last week, there are no refuges in London (and only 18 nationally) that serve men. That is despite a nearly 80 per cent increase in reports from male victims between 2012 and 2016.

…and we know such stats occur here in NZ…

Study findings on domestic violent present ‘challenging picture’

The findings of an in-depth domestic violence study, which showed violent conduct almost evenly split between the genders, are potentially cause for concern, a senior police officer says.

South Canterbury Family Violence Co-ordinator Senior Constable Steve Wills was reacting to the findings of an analysis forming part of the world-renowned Dunedin Study, which has focused closely on the lives of more than 1000 people born in Dunedin in the year ending March 1973.

“It presents a challenging picture. If the findings were a true reflection of our community, we should be concerned,” he said.

Wills said recent ‘mainstream’ studies on the subject had shown about 80 per cent of the perpetrators of domestic violence were men.

However, in their paper “A couples analysis of partner abuse with implications for abuse-prevention policy”, authors Terrie Moffitt, Richard Robins and Avshalom Caspi found a more even split between the genders when it came to violence in the home.

They found that 40 per cent of male couple members in the study had perpetrated at least one of a list of 13 physically abusive acts, ranging from slapping and kicking to forcing sex and use of a weapon, while 50 per cent of women had.

The data did not fit the male-dominance model, which attributes aggression mostly to men, the researchers concluded.

…this duality of men as perpetrators and receivers of violence is a double whammy for males…

The way we construct masculinity excludes weakness and assumes men will be physically dominant over one another and over women. It’s what sociologist Paul Kivel calls the “act-like-a-man box,” in which men are expected to be violent and in control, particularly in control of women, while supressing their emotions and sucking it up whenever life doesn’t go their way. When a man steps outside of this box, he is often ridiculed as weak or as not being a “real” man.

This toxic view of masculinity often leads men to become perpetrators of domestic violence, but when they’re victims, it can prevent them from coming forward. The stigma, and the fear of not being believed, can be so strong that men simply don’t report the abuse.

…painting men out as the all encompassing problem when it comes to the wrongs of society seems to miss the deeper themes and threads of power and failure and pride and sense of identity that all come together to create this current crisis of masculinity.

The ‘Kiwi way of life’ is a low imagination horizon anti intellectualism based on exploitation of confiscated indigenous resources where ignorance & malice is celebrated by the rural volk while middle class attention is engulfed between school rankings & property speculation.

A country with 295 000 kids in poverty, 40 000  homeless, 668 suicides per year making it one of the highest rates in the world and an appalling domestic violence rate; a country with generations locked out of home ownership and job security on deunionised wage levels that lock us into insecurity, desperation and subservience; a country undermined by exploited migrant labour and speculation where primary industries get to pollute and rape the environment without remorse or punishment ; a country that refused to feed the kids because it was ‘the parents fault’ and who re-lected Key despite dirty politics, abuse of political power and mass surveillance lies; a country that could only apologise for the atrocity at Parihaka 140 years after it happened; a country with social services who chase and hound beneficiaries to death and persecute them; a country whose bloated private prison complex locks up as many people as America and we release men back into the community more damaged than when they went in;  a country whose politics are owned by vested big business interests and petty corruptions; this is a country where The Project and Seven Sharp are considered current affairs with all the intellectual curiosity of the ZM and Edge Breakfast shows.

Whatever noble lineage that existed within our egalitarian roots has long been killed off by the 30 year neoliberal experiment that has placed individual success above any collective solidarity.

We are a juvenile country with all the cultural maturity of a can of day old coke.

The pitiful response NZ has to suicide is to compulsorily list phone numbers for depression counselling whenever it’s mentioned -that’ll fix it.

We need genuine healing of men to fix this, in a cacophony of selfish voices all competing for martyrdom that genuine healing can never and will never occur, this damage is us as a colonised and coloniser people.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Well I could recognise the tactical positions of hegemonic powers contained in the above blog. The problem I have with the counter cultures of toxic masculinity is that if feminists or who ever reject people like Germain Greer (who is a celebrated 2nd wave feminist from the 70’s), then that makes it impossible for me to be a feminist. Oh is me, boo hoo. And I reject outright this denigrating behaviour. I’v noticed that even in real life that I as a male is being constantly corrected. Could be my partner, or some salesperson on the phone, I just hang up straight away. Although when I have to face them later on, dinner is always on me. I know, I can see the manipulation but I play the game anyway because I get enjoyment out of it.

    Close friends and family at the same time I’v noticed respond in patronising ways as well. They say to me oh I don’t like the way you speak to your partner, they tell me I need to do this and that. The worse thing is that these are the people I can not hang on because they hold moral authority. These are my friends and family I am talking about and I have all sympathy for them but I do enjoy reminding them just when they start to whined up about how they screwed up that one time as well. And I am very leftist but I’v noticed how I delight in rejecting this patronising behavoir.

    The problem I see here is commodification. When you interact online every key stroke and interaction is monetised. Maybe the money doesn’t go to you but certainly the top 5 largest companies in the world have to do with the Internet. So then every one focuses on this idea of how other people perceives one and other online. But when you live with someone there is no hiding the flaws, Y’know there’s no hiding the screw ups when you stole something years ago or what ever. But I think that is not how love functions. I don’t believe that there is a perfect recipe that we can fall in love with. There must be some sort of disturbing elements that in spite those disturbing elements I love him or her anyway.

  2. At the risk of the indignation at what I’m about to write to cause the earth to stall in its rotation and bring on an unending winter…
    ( Because! Tomorrow morning! At 3.54.01 AM ! It’s spring time! That’s right! It’s the winter Solstice at 3.54am so at 3.54.01am? Spring time! Oh, the lambs and wee beasties! Bring on the fucking daffodils! I’ve set my alarm. I’m going to get up and I’m going to fucking party! Winter? Fuck right off! )
    I fit all those demographics which are now fashionable to hate except being $-rich. I’m certainly not that.
    I’m white, middle aged, heterosexual, half Irish, half Scots, half English and some would argue, half witted but worse! Opinionated.
    Having said that, I’ve come to believe that there’s one dysfunction that creates so called toxic masculinity and misogynistic attitudes towards women.
    And that is for a fellow to have a toxic relationship with his mother.
    Every single fellow I know, or knew of, who fundamentally dislikes women has had a shit relationship with his mum. And if a fellow’s heterosexual and likes sexy times only with women and yet can’t get close for love, on-going emotional comfort and companionship? What a lonely and confusing life to live perhaps. It must be like being caught in no man’s land.
    When that little amygdala is developing while being subjected to resentment, emotional abuse and disinterest? The results can be catastrophic societally. I knew a psychiatrist once who told me that the amygdala actually literally atrophies. It can be seen on MRI scans of the brains in severe abuse victims. She also told me that, that can, with good professional help ( And drugs! ) be reversed. And here’s another factoid. If the amygdala is atrophied [it] can’t communicate fully and properly with the hippocampus.
    Here’s the amygdala: The amygdala (Latin, corpus amygdaloideum) is an almond-shape set of neurons located deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. Shown to play a key role in the processing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system.
    How about that? Look it up. Now here’s the hippocampus : The hippocampus is a small organ located within the brain’s medial temporal lobe and forms an important part of the limbic system, the region that regulates emotions. The hippocampus is associated mainly with memory, in particular long-term memory. The organ also plays an important role in spatial navigation.
    And chillingly, the same goes for women from my experience. Women, who’ve had dysfunctional, un loving relationships with their fathers veer towards men who treat them badly so one can only imagine the outcome of a child born into that kind of environment.
    Add to that, financial hardship, particularly within a society such as ours where the measure of a person is calculated by how much money they can flash about and you get a fuse waiting to be lit. A virus to be spread but by far, the very, very worst. An $-opportunity to be $-exploited. Is that not so, insurers and banksters? You evil bastards literally bank on dysfunctional societies.

  3. Thanks for mentioning male victims of dv. Having said that, repeating the narrative of men not asking for help when they are victims is cruel.

    One reason is that it is very much blaming the victim. We don’t blame women for not asking for help when they are victims anymore. It’s time we have that side to men as well.

    Another issue is that it is inaccurate. Men are being picked up as victims of dv by the police at a very large scale. You can check the statnz website with that data publicly available regionally and monthly. A tiny bit of spreadsheet fiddling shows that pretty much 25 percent of adult victims flagged as such by the police are men. That figure is accurate in every region pretty much.

    Men are denied specialist support services when they are victims of dv. I’ve seen many Police and dv workers deny this claiming that men are offered support services.. they are usually vague about what those are, which is strange that 25 percent of adult victims bring men.

    When they do know what the process in their region is they still say it isva good enough service for the men. I suggest that maybe the service should just provide for the women in the same way and they usually bark with laughter at that moment.

    I’m in an unusual position in that I’ve heard from many men that had police interventions as a victim. It was shocking the indifference and inaction. Sure you can women that can claim this as well but it’s not hard to imagine them being much less receptive of a man’s claim of abuse.

    So please, just stop the victim blaming behaviour with men.

    The other issue is add you noted that the is an awful lot of bad press toward men as a gender. It’s not hard to find expression of significant anger toward men as a group in various media. It’s very easy to feel hated in that context.

    Low self esteem is a significant driver of suicide in men. An atmosphere of low esteem for men supports this.

    Guys get very little love. I suggest exciting that in a future article.

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