Sunday, September 20, 2015

On Emasculation

I just saw this tweet by someone named @OwenJones84:

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but is a British general threatening a military coup in the Sunday Times?!

The part of the long quote that I found most notable was the general's use of the word "emasculate" to describe what a Corbyn government might do to Britain's military.

It's notable that there is no commonly used verb to describe removing a woman's femininity. And if there were (defeminize?) it would refer to something like removing makeup or putting on unfrilly clothing. Maybe cutting your hair short. Nothing about removing her reproductive capacity or ability to have sex.

Emasculation is a threat of violence, the worst that most men can imagine, I would think. Using it as an analogy to downsizing a country's military force fits into the recent Alpha Male/Beta Male posturing of Right-Wing foreign policy in the age of Putin. All of this is part of a push to take the U.S. and the whole world back to an honor-culture-based way of interacting.

As Steven Pinker discussed in The Better Angels of Our Nature, we have been on a long trend away from that bad way of doing things. Women (and men) are better off when cultures are feminized. As he puts it, "A world that is less invigorated by honor, glory, and ideology and more tempted by the pleasures of bourgeois life is a world in which fewer people are killed."

1 comment:

Gina said...

Wow. That's a rather extreme reaction by that British general. Clearly he feels threatened personally and professionally. I don't know why, though. It sounds like if Corbyn becomes PM, he plans to downsize the British military. I wonder how big it is at the present moment. Perhaps it truly would threaten British national security if it were downsized.

The use of "emasculate" is interesting. I wonder if this general really wanted to equate military downsizing with emasculation? Equating male sexuality with the military? Interesting......