Power

Musing on Power: A Layman Looks Into Muddy Waters, Dirty Diapers and An Evil Patriarchy

There is a joke among aboriginals that suggests the only reason man went to the moon is because they heard we had land up there.

We can know that symbolically the moon is an archetype of the feminine, a light in the darkness. There is a ritual referred to as bringing down the moon that is engaged by men who seek vision. Once the moon rests on soil, the little people enter the sweat lodge like children to whisper insight and unify our distractions to give us direction, purpose and understanding.

Power is a big word that is seen by many in strange ways. I try not to over complicate or politicize it too much.  I find that it distorts its meaning and applicability in my life. I’m not a nation, a movement or a concept.  I’m an individual; just a guy.

Power is often viewed as an aesthetic occurrence after the fact as being good or bad. It forms in a variety of sizes and distortions that become hard to distinguish in different scales and forms. The dictionary definition of power offered the following descriptions: 1) ability to do, act, or produce. 2) a person or thing having great influence, force, or authority. 3) the ability to control others; authority; sway; influence.

By similarity people collect, share belief and form structural attachment. A predictable by-product of collaborating is the power to influence. Some individuals become devotees of the group message and initiate a binding doctrine of principle, for the purpose of gathering and focusing influence. Once a common doctrine is formed membership can occur by indoctrination and coercion.  The devout believe and function as indoctrinators. Followers are offered a simpler set of beliefs called doctrine and become empowered by their ability to influence. It is by membership that the devout develop or harvest power. So I have come to believe that power in a larger form expresses influence.

This to me is the essence of special interest groups that include feminism. They evolve to a stage where they fabricate their own reality, history and dogma. By paying attention to comment threads on a variety of sites, you can determine the difference between devotees and members. Members are the soft underbelly of the group’s power to influence. Without members influence dies. Members usually only possess the abbreviated version of the group dogma and will resort to common tactics of deflection and role play for legitimacy. You may recognize that their efforts are to convince themselves more than to convince you.

Typically these are the sorts of people that will enjoy the benefits of influence the group has acquired, but possess no substantive thought or outlook beyond their own privilege. They are corrupt.  They are the “membership women.”

It may be best not to argue facts but to simply argue their grip on reality, by uncovering the contradictions of their thinking. Devotees are a little trickier, since their dogma and bullshit seems never ending. Engaging these types is giving them a soapbox on which to stand. You’re helping them to recruit members. Don’t, you’re empowering them. Even going back after a couple of days to refute their position will neutralize their presentation and is better than giving them a soapbox.

My interest primarily is in the notion of patriarchal power and how it could be oppressive; particularly in consideration of how it would oppress men to the same degree as it is declared to oppress women. I consider it from different positions to try to understand its nature. The declaration of the oppression of women by a patriarchy is for most, difficult to understand. It is an aesthetic idea that is not consistent from one environment to another. So I looked at how the claim of oppression is answered to get a sense of a context.

We have all seen the implementation of programs and policies designed to remove what is described as barriers to women. Affirmative action, title IX, primary aggressor policies, zero tolerance policies, even rape shield laws are designed to remove barriers for women. It occurred to me that there is also something removed by these policies that affect men specifically: competition. These policies seem to be designed to remove competition. Removing competition is somehow perceived to be the key to removing barriers and limiting oppression. I can only conclude that competition is quite possibly the core feature or engine of a patriarchal power.

These days power and empowerment are huge issues institutionally, legally and personally. Let’s not forget the evil patriarchy. I’m curious how it develops and how we legitimize our understanding of it. I see the expression of power in a spectrum defined by repetition and effectiveness. The first expression of power I think occurs in infancy. Infant’s lack the ability to do, but they can act and influence with a cry for food or to settle discomfort. Even an infant has power to influence feeding and attention.

In a way that is uncomfortable to think about, an infant must compete to survive discomfort. Silence will not define hunger or a diaper that needs changing or attention required to enhance development. An infant can be made to compete by simply withholding attention. Prolonging an interval of discomfort may cause an infant to cry out louder and more aggressively causing an insecure attachment. Whereas providing constant and consistent attention creates more opportunities to interact, influence and negotiate a secure attachment.

Two terms used in “attachment theory” is “securely attached infants” and “anxiously attached infants”. This may be where and when we begin defining common gender traits in our children.

Attachment theory is a worthwhile read since it is an area of early psychology with the largest body of empirical study and reference. It also offers an interesting insight into personal and partner behaviors, since early attachment influences later adult relationships. There are four main categories and additional subcategories with descriptions of behaviors that may better represent the partner you thought you knew.

What struck me regarding this information was the ability to instill gender behaviors with simple and subtle nurturing by the primary care giver. This to me seems to be a profound insight to the nature and nurture argument representing the very core of nurturing attachment. Women themselves may be the first to instill in a child what they refer to as patriarchal power. The subtle response of nurturing in the first year of life, can establish competitiveness in an individual along with very dark expressions of socialization that contribute to violence in general.

Consider the effect of withholding nurturing care from a child consider the effect of reducing it to a minimum. Or consider a reduction to a perfunctory expression of love, not unlike one who is stalking their own benefits and comfort. Would it be any wonder that a child experiencing this may act out to please or simply gain the attention of a parent or nurturing caregiver? Or that a man would engage this pathos in a never ending spiral of adult animation. Could we say that this also may be the source of chivalry in men, the need for acceptance and love that was likely withheld in the formative year of infancy? A psychological burden carried for the duration of life that constitutes a desire to belong and to be loved.

This no doubt is where and when male shame is installed, a control mechanism that does not define original sin but provides the sense of its existence and foreboding. Marshall Mathers figured this out and decried the abuse in his popular rap song “Cleaning Out My Closet,” which for those listening closely will hear the words “I’m sorry Mama, I never meant to hurt you”. Those are the words that hold his sin, his shame and his repentance for the abuse he received or the absence of loving acceptance. Can we guess that these are the words of a man who experienced an anxious attachment as an infant?

Having been required to cry louder and longer during infancy to compete for attention, then being directed not to cry may introduce an early emotional contradiction. Male children are more often disciplined by segregation that we call a “time out.”

Paradoxical stimulation may be the defining difference between healthy competition and pathologically aggressive competition. The fact is, boys do cry as do girls, a crying boy represents an unacceptable display of vulnerability, hardly worthy of competition. It may be less about the plastic guns and more about the plastic touch.

It’s a process that every male individual is indoctrinated into from the moment we determine their genitalia, it seems to be primal, instinctive and intuitive – but instinctive to whom? It may be self-serving, even hypergamous for a mother to drive her male child to competitiveness. Would she reduce or withhold nurturing to instill a competitive desire for acceptance. Can a mother instill a desire that would subdue a boy to her and later drive him towards coupling with a mate? Would his desire pit him as one man against all others, a desire to be accepted and loved?

Childhood is where we learn the practical application of competition, to do it, how to do it, when to do it and why to do it. When we compete or choose to compete, we compete alone. The basis of competition the “how too”  is usually offered in two flavors good and evil, supporting a dichotomy of measurable effectiveness, and the introduction of the invisible moral umpire, God. This is accompanied by fair and unfair, right and wrong and measurable context. You will be judged.

Negotiating, which is not done alone however, creates a visible moral umpire. Inherent in the exchange, judgments applied to a negotiation become shared, each party becomes equally innocent or equally guilty, but they remain equal by participation. There is no God required, innocence occurs by participation. Women for the most part are Godless and suffer no independent judgments. Hence the social equation, (Competing)Man)=Bad (Negotiating)Woman)=Good.

Patriarchy comes from where?

Hmmmmm……

About J Galt

Keith is a father, writer, social commentator and mentor to young men. He is a regular contributor to A Voice for men focusing mainly on gender politics and pervasive social illusions.

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  • http://truthjusticeca.wordpress.com/ Denis

    My own interest in attachment theory is the patterns of maternal gatekeeping, traditional male roles and societal bias against males as caregivers that interfere with the father-child bond.

    http://imgur.com/vFWcQ

    Interesting developments in Europe:

    http://www.nikk.no/Men+on+the+Menu.b7C_wljIY0.ips
    “Nevertheless, there was a strong common denominator. The 32 men in the Panel greatly emphasized the fact that the male ideals in Norwegian society must change, if gender equality is to improve for both men and women. It must be legitimate for men to be caring, vulnerable and concerned with close relationships.”

    Is “vulnerability” an admirable trait for parents? That doesn’t bode well for competition, but it will be a lesson that is learned the hard way.

  • Me

    “This to me is the essence of special interest groups that include feminism. They evolve to a stage where they fabricate their own reality, history and dogma. By paying attention to comment threads on a variety of sites, you can determine the difference between devotees and members. Members are the soft underbelly of the group’s power to influence. Without members influence dies. Members usually only possess the abbreviated version of the group dogma and will resort to common tactics of deflection and role play for legitimacy. You may recognize that their efforts are to convince themselves more than to convince you. Typically these are the sorts of people that will enjoy the benefits of influence the group has acquired, but possess no substantive thought or outlook beyond their own privilege.”

    Ignoring for a moment the main body of the piece, how is it possible that you can write the above and not see a direct correlation with so much that is written on supposed MRM sites? That kind of lack of self-awareness is quite staggering.

    • keith

      1. Where did I deny any correlation?

      Of course I don’t correlate writing an article or reading an article as substantive political power that monetizes a special interest group.

      So I guess I don’t see men in general sucking the political influence tit at the expense of anyone else. Glad you could touch on that self-awareness hope it reduces your staggering. Don’t want any false allegations of intellectual violence.

      I’ll bet you could probably correlate the similarity between coniferous and deciduous also.

      • http://avoiceformen.com Paul Elam

        I was writing my response as you were writing yours. Thanks for affirming that I wasn’t the only one that saw the staggering stupidity of the comment.

        Great piece, btw.

        • keith

          I think the commenter well represents the point. Confusing self absorbed with self aware! Fucking navel gazer.

      • Eff’d Off

        Great write up Keith.

        There’s no doubt that all of us have the right to present as foolish or shallow in thought.

        The post written by “Me” demonstrates a curious push at expressing that right to possibly it’s furthest edge.

    • http://avoiceformen.com Paul Elam

      Not speaking for the author here, but what makes you assume he does not see elements of such groupthink in the MRM and about a hundred other places in the world around him?

      How can you make any assumption at all about what is in the authors realm of cognitive “vision”?

      Any claim to that level of “other” awareness is what is staggering, and in more ways than the sheer arrogance of it.

    • mongo

      I suspect most of us were trying this on for size as we read it – and the author is clearly smart enough to have been able to consider the same.

      There’s nothing in the piece to suggest a lack of self-awareness. Perhaps you’re engaging in a little projection?

    • keith

      To restate my position: the fact that I could draw such an unstated correlation and still have the article appear speaks volumes to the integrity of this site and the lack of integrity witnessed elsewhere. That challenging men’s self awareness is acceptable on a MRM site highlights the difference. OF course if you would like to represent an example that correlates to this kind of integrity on a, oh I dunno, say “feminist site” please feel fee to provide a link.

    • Tom M

      Hmmm, sounds like “Me” has a degree in psychology, really, literally.

      He despises men just like a psychologist is trained to do, for sure.

      Self importance and contradictions are the order of the day for most of those folks – easy to identify.

  • http://www.cyclotronmajesty.net Cyclotron Majesty

    “We can know that symbolically the moon is an archetype of the feminine, a light in the darkness.”

    The moon reflects the light of the sun.

    • keith

      Bingo!!!!!

  • keith

    Maternal gatekeeping as far as I’m concerned is just competitive parenting, it’s psychotic, as is the social gatekeeping that uses male parenting stereotypes and branding. I’ve experienced the shit that occurs in the cartoon link (too often).

    One difference between Nordic men and American men seems to be access to media and the ability to express the message. Mangina media over here seems to prefer to tell men what they are experiencing.

    “Is “vulnerability” an admirable trait for parents? That doesn’t bode well for competition, but it will be a lesson that is learned the hard way.”

    Everyone is vulnerable it’s not gender specific, not everyone however defaults to victim status. Competing makes you vulnerable. Too many women however expect success to be the default for any effort made. That’s not competing it’s just showing up.

  • Keyster

    The “victim” thrives on self-pity, and if they happen to identify as part of a victim group, they often get pity from others as well without even trying.

    Men are bigger, stronger, faster and slightly more intelligent on average. The playing field must be tilted to favor women, so that men and women can compete “equally”. If you’re against “gender normalization” you’re an oppressive patriarch.

    Problem is, is that men are also reverting to the female mean of expectations, out of fear they’ll hurt woman’s feelings, by appearing “too superior”. Deference to women, rather than winning against them, is degrading and devolving our society.

    Nothing antagonizes a woman more than a man who proves he does something better than her. It’s something a “good man” of “conscious man” will certianly avoid. Let the girl win. Always, let the girl win. After all, her precious self-esteem is at stake.

  • Stu

    I would say victims thrive on the pity of others. The goal of the self proclaimed victim is to extract pity from others as means of obtaining preferential treatment.

    Yes it’s just like when I used to play chess with my grandfather when I was a little kid. He used to let me win about half the games so I wouldn’t think I was a complete loser. It wasn’t until I was many years older that I realised what he was doing. It was the same with everything i done with him. He was such a big strong old wise man that if I could beat him at anything I would feel like a king…..and so he let me feel like a king often. Many men continue to treat women like children all their lives…..because the women demand it.

  • Tom M

    Just as mothers are actually the ones who put patriarchy in place (because that empowers the matriarchy – women, mothers, even feminists…), feminists likewise WANT the patriarchy because of the double edged sword they can use to their benefit – chivalry.

    Look how feminists are always teaming up with and appealing to the patriarchy in their news stories to protect women only…

    Without chivalry (the dark side of patriarchy’s double edged sword), feminist supremacy falls flat.

  • rebtus

    The Supreme Court in Rosker v. Goldberg reversed a ruling that women should register for military draft. The Court rationel was that since women were exempt from combat, they need not register. Is it time to revisit that ruling? Link:
    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/04/22/1636078/spotlight-on-better-uniforms-for.html
    Quote

    WASHINGTON — Throughout history, military gear has been made with the male physique in mind. But for women in today’s combat or close-to-combat jobs, that can mean body armor that fits so poorly it’s tough to fire a weapon, combat uniforms with knee pads that hit around mid-shin and flight suits that make it nearly impossible to urinate while in a plane.

    Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/04/22/1636078/spotlight-on-better-uniforms-for.html#ixzz1KPgmaPKy

  • Me

    Apologies for a late reply here…

    @keith

    “Where did I deny a correlation”?

    Well, technically you didn’t. But since you mentioned special interest groups, websites and mindless, corrupt member drones, the inference was that you do not consider the MRM to contain such elements.

    Now I shall leave you to discuss the main body of the piece.

    • Tom M

      Are you a psycholgist by chance? Sure sound like one.

      • Tom M

        Or have just had a LOT of sessions with one (or many) so you can parrot their hate and projection to perfection?

  • Lovekraft

    I think mothers are missing the point regarding giving their children practical life lessons. It isn’t abusive or neglecting, but rather a way to prepare the child to react accordingly. When mothers fail to do this, the child is brought up with overinflated egos, the inability to ‘take a hit and get back up’ and become wusses.

    Father figures have a deep instinctive desire to ensure the stability and strength of their ‘tribe’ so that when they are too old to keep on as the protector, the next generation can take on this role.

    Enter feminism, a branch of socialism, which is designed to weaken the family, thus causing a corrosive effect in how a culture (that has adopted it) is able to confront and fend off attacks.

  • Tom M

    Competitive parenting is a huge problem, esp from the female side: “Dear baby, you have to chose which parent you love.” “If you love him, you can’t possibly love me enough.” this goes with playing the kids against each other and the other parent…

    That is quite typical behavior for Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissism (which is taught as being a birthright to all girls and women today) and of course this behavior goes with being trained as a psychologist…

    You see this behavior with most mothers who indulge in making false abuse allegations (75% of divorced mothers) and parental alienation child abuse, which this is just a part of.