Why is it so important to protect masculinity? What do we gain from accusing victims of slander? Do we have a much bigger problem in this world than the #metoo movement has shed light upon? It is not just harassment of female professionals, Olympic athletes, students. How long have religious institutions of all denominations been protecting clergy? Centuries, eons, it is so prevalent, that it is part of our culture: shaming the victims is the norm, protecting the perpetrator from embarrassment is always the objective.
Meanwhile, false masculinity is spared from being exposed. Victims are urged to “think of his innocent family”, think of other employees and their jobs, think of the company, think of the religious institution. Why is it the victim’s responsibility to protect a rapist’s family, does he not bear such responsibility himself? We live in a culture where a male may not be shamed. His masculinity may not be challenged, even when clearly he has no masculinity to speak of. Is this the definition of masculinity? Something fragile that must be propped up at all costs to the detriment of women, children and boys?
But is there a greater problem? Is there an epidemic? A psychological disorder that causes some men who are unable to tolerate the decline of their own masculinity, to use tactics such as harassment to validate themselves as males? Is there a psychological or criminal profile for these men, or are they forever destined to remain nameless, spoken about only in hushed tones? I bet there isn’t a single psychology textbook addressing this problem. Have we coddled declining masculinity into a pathological perversion?
We are treating these criminal acts as separate, unrelated incidents (The #metoo movement, rape of child athletes, sexual abuse by clergy) when it happens systemically on all levels of society, in every industry and religion. The faces of the victims change, but the abusers are the same. Silent, nameless, protected, egotistical, sacrosanct, bulletproof, desperate duds who hide behind their churches, companies, wives, and other males.
To be clear, I am not pointing a finger at all men, most of the ones I know are speaking up in our defense. I am questioning why is it a crime to challenge masculinity, or address false masculinity, or point out perverse behaviors of certain men? Historically, women have been burned at the stake for challenging manhood, what is it about manhood that is so fragile? What is it about manhood that we have to prop up with compliments to their sexual prowess, tolerance of their misdeeds, protection of their character?
We live in a culture that invalidates females as women once they pass childbearing age, but props up males the very day their dicks go limp? We ridicule women when estrogen depletes and they suffer from mood shifting hormonal changes, but bolster the confidence of men when declining testosterone results in unattractive baldness. She loses her status as a real woman, but he gains status as a real man. We live in a culture that is more at ease turning a story of rape and assault into a late night TV joke, rather than point the finger directly into his face. Oh he’s just a real man, a man’s man, no harm done.
I am not sure where the problem began. It was probably thousands of years ago, in mythical times when Eve got blamed from getting Adam expelled from Eden. And it no longer matters. What matters is that even today, society, culture, religion and the legal system is more likely to chastise women, blame the victim, humiliate the injured, rather than reveal the false male.
Isn’t it time to question what we have been taught about manhood? Isn’t it time to actually study the psychology of an aging male, as objectively as we study the aging female? Isn’t it time to create a criminal profile, so that these perverts hiding behind the mask of maleness can finally be brought to justice? By now there have been enough criminal charges of priests, CEOs, academics, celebrities, and common predators to create a profile. Who is he? Why do we still not know?
And why are healthy, non-violent men protecting them? What is the risk to them? Certainly, there have been many outspoken men who have urged against blaming the victims. But the vast majority of men are rolling their eyes, asking when will the #metoo movement end. Enough is enough, they say. But only the victims can say when it is enough.