God save us, Ross Douthat has appointed “left-wing gadfly Fredrik De Boer” as spokesman for us libtards on the topic of “The Left and Masculinity.” Douthat analyzes a post in which FdB muses about the UCSB shooter’s twisted notions of masculine entitlement and calls for the overthrow of “traditional masculinity.”
Predictably, it’s that last part that shrivels Douthat’s raisins:
I mean, I understand his point insofar as ”the celebration of violence, sexual entitlement, throbbing misogyny, and a fake self-confidence” are problems that have always particularly infected the male half of humanity, and the sexism inherent in traditional gender hierarchies has allowed men to get away with violent, entitled, hateful behavior on an often-epic scale. But he’s making an argument about “traditional masculinity” as something distinct from “sexism,” as a cultural problem unto itself — an unworkable model for male aspiration, a life-ruining ideal, that straitjackets today’s young men with its toxic, sex-and-violence-saturated demands.
Douthat is confused by FdB’s separation of “traditional masculinity” and “sexism,” but I think it correlates roughly with “privilege” and “racism,” which are two distinct and yet interconnected phenomena. FdB specifically addresses what it is about “traditional masculinity” that makes it a model worth rejecting and describes what will replace it:
It won’t be anti-confidence or anti-leadership or anti-toughness. It won’t be anti-sex … But it will reject utterly the strangled, stupid, pathetic association between male strength and the capacity for violence. It will stop associating a man’s value with the number of women he has sex with.
You can quibble with FdB’s definition of traditional masculinity, but he’s defined his perception of it pretty clearly. That seems to sail right over Douthat’s chapeau for some reason.
Douthat then goes on to cite vintage matinee idols and fictional characters whom he believes embody the best in traditional masculinity and implies that modern developments like feminism and free love are more to blame for the warped values and behavior of the MRA and PUA types than vestiges of The Patriarchy. We would expect no less from the man who once distained the favors of Chunky Reese Witherspoon.
Anyway, the whole thing makes my lady-brain hurt. The end.