Run, Little Man, If You Can
In every boy there's a girl waiting to break free. If boys were only encouraged to get in touch with their Inner Whiner, the problems plaguing them in schools and society at large would likely dissipate.
Distilled to its essence, this is the position some in the women's movement are advancing. Feminists once aimed to unseat men, now they are actively engaged in queering them.
The new friendlier feminism is oddly attractive to men, who've been snarled at for so long by these attack dogs. One such dog in disguise is Carol Gilligan. At the risk of engaging in what liberals call "lookism" (I note that the anti-ageism bigots have taken to deriding Ann Coulter for being in her 40s), here's a photo of her.
The tumbleweed hair and the ghoulish grimace ought to be enough to make all men head for the hills. But Gilligan gulls the gents because hers is a slightly more evolved feminism.
Most feminists have dedicated their careers to denying the facts of nature, namely that men and women are different. Not Gilligan. On discovering the genders have "differing moral and psychological tendencies," she devoted herself to elevating the sillier sex's proclivities.
You see, before they were so thoroughly feminized, "males and masculine persons" settled moral and ethical dilemmas differently to "females and feminine persons"—they were inclined to draw on individual rights and justice. Ladies, conversely, generally like collectivist considerations such as what is best for the group.
On observing this, Gilligan morphed psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of moral development from a theory of absolute morality to a theory of relative morality: She decreed that reasoning rooted in collectivism was every bit as evolved and just as that based on individualism.
It recently dawned on Gilligan that boys had fallen far behind girls in almost all walks of life. Did this elicit introspection? Did she reflect on the crimes caused by codifying feminism into law? Did she finally confess to what privileging women and "women's way of knowing" has wrought?
Affirmative action, the equal representation of women everywhere (including in sports), progressive teaching paradigms emphasizing group think; the banishing of competition (for which boys are hardwired) and moral instruction (which they generally crave); the demonization of the greatest writers, scientists, and explorers because they were men, the chemical castration of boys via Ritalin—was Gilligan driven to atone for these transgressions against boys and change direction? Did she even make the connection between men's problems and the "Girls Gone Wild" gains of the women's movement?
Not on your life.
In a recent column for Newsweek, Gilligan writes: "That boys are having trouble with school is not news. But images of rough-and-tumble boys not fit for the classroom now may blind us to a problem that has less to do with how boys seem and more with who they actually are—but are not allowed to show."
That men have practically been made over in the image of woman is not enough for Gilligan. Their final "recovery," as she sees it, lies in embracing the alleged woman within with complete abandon. Or in Gilligan speak, getting in touch with one's "emotional intelligence," "relational self," and "feeling brain."
Gilligan's credentials for "fixing" problems "scholars" like her have created include "having read 'Tom Sawyer' and 'Catcher in the Rye,'" and thus knowing "that boys and school don't mix." Her scientific data are as compelling—they're drawn from a one-case study of a badly abused little boy.
As Gilligan tells it, "Four-year-old Sam asked his mother one day, 'Mommy, why are you sad?' Wanting to shield him from her sadness, [mom] replied, 'I'm not sad.' Then, according to Gilligan, poor Sam sprung his Inner Girl. "Mommy, I know you. I was inside you," he told his long-suffering mother.
No tyke will spontaneously refer to his mother's uterus unless he has been taught to. This boy sounds as normal as Alexander Portnoy, the antihero of Philip Roth's eponymous Portnoy's Complaint.
But for Gilligan, there's nothing creepy about a toddler's reference to his mother's entrails. Au contraire. She casts the clearly contrived and inculcated womb talk as natural—as just the "kind of emotional openness, sensitivity and connectedness" men are forced to suppress for fear of appearing unmanly. "[B]oys often repudiate these human qualities," she laments. If they "can be encouraged to embrace them, these qualities will develop, expanding their capacity for relationships and also their sense of themselves."
Vagina monologues or uterus prattle—feminists believe that as long as their insides are being discussed, humanity's progress is guaranteed.
Remember the cult, 1967 British television series, The Prisoner ("I am not a number—I am a free man!")? Whenever "Number 6" (the individual) attempted to escape from "The Village" (the collective), a giant balloon called "Rover" gave chase and subdued him. Little Sam's metaphoric "Rover," you can be sure, is his mother's suffocating monster womb.
Unless the men's movement is more concerned with claiming victimhood than reclaiming manhood, its advocates ought not to go along with feminism's new, kinder castration.
© 2006 By Ilana Mercer