No Apocalypse Today

Consider traditional gender roles, feminism, and the media. A post-gender society strikes me as an untempered good in a world that is not subject to apocalyptic levels of uncertainly. However, much that I hear is not delivering on this thesis.

I’ve read (older) feminist pieces that elevate traditional femininity to sacred status and assert that it is an aspect of the world that men simply cannot share. This strikes me as attempting to treat a gender imbalance by denying it exists. Nothing changes by saying this except the definitions involved. We can define any amount of pain as happiness and claim that we’ve solved the problem but I expect that most people are not satisfied with this approach.

There is not shortage of articles and news pieces on toxic masculinity and the conflicts that result. There are even articles that propose various solutions. What I don’t see as any large agreement on any proposed solution. The closest comparison to the current state of affairs is the oft-spoken aphorism on democracy that it is the worst political system except for every other one tried.

In fact, the modern media message shouts that everyone should have the freedom to be a man, to partake in traditional masculine roles, and that anyone who says differently is a horrible sexist. While I agree that everyone should have the freedom to make this choice if they desire, what I’m really affirming is the freedom aspect and not making a normative command. Those problematic elements of masculinity won’t disappear if acted out by women. This is one of my objections to the idea that there’s some silver bullet in replacing more of the ruling elite with women.

Our society’s message needs to change before post-gender becomes more than a weird fringe sub-culture. Part of this can come from greater support of anyone attempting to navigate outside accepted gender roles and part of this can come from adding new narratives to the media. One of the things I’m most looking forward to in the coming decade is greater progress in this area.  I believe that we’re all better off from society supported diversity in gender roles.


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