March 09, 2005

Gender politics in the US of A

Have I mentioned how much I'm enjoying the guest bloggers over at the panda which has left?

The problem with comments like this [that the greatest gift a husband can give his wife is the freedom to choose whether or not to work] is that men in this country are already oppressed by the American Dream, the male version, at least. As far as I know, there's no female-centered version of the American Dream. In the American Dream, our hero Ward Cleaver is a Real Man because he has a job that pays for him to have a big house, a family and a most importantly, a wife who is financially dependent on him and under his direct control. This is how masculinity is defined for so many, many men in our country. The problem is that fulfilling that dream of having a woman sequestered away at home tending to you and your children is that it's out of the financial reach of the majority of men.

Of course, what this means is that we have a population of men in this country that both believe that in order to be Real Men they have to have a wife that is both at home and subservient, but out of financial necessity, they have wives who work. And it's hard to get subservience out of someone when you can't tell them, 'Well, who makes the money around here?' There's a lot of resentment there.

In step the Republicans, who can't give these guys what they really want--jobs that pay enough to have a family with one income--but they can give them an endless list of people to scapegoat: welfare moms, illegal immigrants, disobedient women getting abortions, gays who want marriage when you can't even have the Leave It to Beaver one you wanted for yourself, and so on and so forth. Plus, the President is all too willing to be a walking phallic symbol for all sorts of masculine fantasies of power to be projected on. Maybe you can't be Ward Cleaver, conservative men of America, but at least you can pretend you're Dirty Harry.

I wonder if Jesse consciously turned his blog over to a handful of women during women's history month?

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