Friday, August 30, 2019

Heroes And Housewives. The Desired Sex Roles in Right-Wing Authoritarian Movements?

I wrote about the views that all the new right-wing authoritarian movements share about women in a post last December, and also a year ago, in August 2018.  Neither post, sadly, is out of date today.

That last August post, in particular, delves into the question why very different types of authoritarian movements, from ISIS to US Proud Boys, share the same basic view of women's proper roles. One possible theory:*

The very definition of ideal masculinity in the right-wing movements can also cause this:
The ideal man is a virile, violent and fit patriarch, and that ideal can be magnified and made sharper only by denying women any roles which are seen to infringe on male prerogatives.  This is because masculinity in those movements is defined as subtractive: It is what women should not be or what women cannot be.

Thus, to increase the power and space for men, it's necessary to enlarge the sphere of masculinity and to shrink the sphere of femininity.  In the most extreme right-wing movements women are strictly limited to their reproductive roles and kept out of public spaces.

That prescription may sound particularly appealing during times when those men who already have right-wing values feel that their dominance is threatened, that they are slipping down the rungs of societal power ladders. This could explain the appeal of far right movements to some American white men with conservative views, given the changes that outsourcing,  globalization and recent immigration are causing in the society.

* Go to the original link to read the footnotes those paragraphs have attached to them.  I removed the asterisks here to make the quote look cleaner.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Talk Is Cheap. Especially in Politics.

I'm increasingly convinced that we have too many debates about, say, bigoted speech and too few debates about the institutional and economic underpinnings which make bigotry so harmful.  It's not that the former aren't useful, but that the latter are so rare is truly worrying.

I wrote on this topic in 2017 while criticizing David Brooks.  It made sense to pick on him, because Brooks is the foremost representative of the argument that cultural differences Are Everything, that economic differences do not matter at all in our understanding of Republicans vs. Democrats or of blacks vs.whites and so on.

But the problem of over-focusing on linguistic and cultural questions is now wider than just Mr. Brooks, and it has spread to the political online left.

To see why that concerns me, just try to think how we could eradicate institutional racism in this country without reallocating resources*. 

Then ask yourself why we don't talk much about the resources which are needed, where they would come from,  and how they could be allocated to their best uses:  To schools in segregated black areas, to poorer schools in general, to health care clinics which cater for the low-income populations, to antenatal clinics in areas where black maternal mortality rates are extremely high.  And so on.

The material infrastructure for the differences many of us lament does matter.  With few exceptions (Elizabeth Warren comes to mind here), politicians don't address those questions adequately, either.  We really need to change that, especially when the Trump administration is exacerbating the already terrible income inequality in this country.

* The same question can be asked of other types of -isms.  For instance, without paid parental leave and access to good quality daycare women, especially poor women, are handicapped in the labor market, as long as childcare is gendered. Expressing feminist sentiments doesn't alter the need for resource reallocation to such uses. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

On Incels. A Summary.

This post puts together my earlier writings on that frightening online-fueled movement (which, by the way, does not seem to be getting the kind of police and legal attention it should). 

Most of my writings are about the truly weird theories which the online incels (involuntarily celibate young men who believe that they are entitled to sex) hold as truth. 

This one tells us one economists theory about the redistribution of sex to incels (but only to men). 

This one looks at several flaws in the beliefs most incel sites seem to support. 

And this addresses the fundamental incel idea that 20% of heterosexual men get 80% of all heterosexual sex and the rest of the men are fucked for life.  Or not fucked for life, I guess.