Heard the one about the old man who is listening to an evangelist on the radio, when the evangelist proclaims, "Put one hand on your afflicted part and your other hand on the radio and you shall be healed"? So the old man puts his left hand on his penis and his right hand on the radio, at which point his wife looks over and says: "He said he was going to heal the sick, not raise the dead."
Jokes and stifled sniggers are the usual response to the subject of impotence. But beneath the facade of humour lies a widespread, serious problem.
"Nothing equals the devastation wrought by the lack of an erection at the right time. Nothing except the loss of his job can make a man feel more worthless. Men have tied their self-respect to the upward mobility of their penises and when their penises do not rise to the occasion, they do not feel like men,"
The male's sanctimonious preaching pretends to 'worship' the female. The deception is so complete as to almost be believable. But, nobody who is paying attention could be fooled. We all stand aside as those inadequate males force themselves on all of us in every manner imaginable.
The violence becomes natural - almost genetic. It seems as if 'man' was created with these tendencies toward violence. It is domestic violence in the home and it is war in the international scene. In the home, the woman becomes the victim. Our entire culture is oriented toward keeping her 'in her place'. On the world-front, it is the bullying of less strong nations that supports the ego of the impotent. Nothing beats standing at the front of an army of troops in a 'victory' parade.
To be the 'envy of every guy' doesn't require actual accomplishment or actual ability, it only requires the deception of mirrors and screens... the appearance of... and, 'all of the girls will swoon'...
Men who see themselves as inadequate are completely dependent on illusionary imagery to bolster there 'sagging egos'. They need a bigger gun, a bigger car, a supposedly powerful position, a bigger lie. Bragging and grandiose displays of importance are tools used to make up for their own awareness of the truth they keep hidden, that they are impotent - unable to perform.
We knew about the evils of sexual exploitation all along, but we kept it hidden for as long as the victims didn't make too much noise. Even when a raped woman attempted to complain, she was most often victimized a second time by public condemnation.
Finally, we have reached a point where many women are coming forward and identifying the sexual villains. The list is long. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed and/or assaulted multiple women over decades. The image of Bill Cosby has been refocused. Pussy grabbing Donald Trump bragged about his assaults on women.
Sexual Assault & Our Militarized Culture
I'm waiting for the day when the female-led sea-change we're now witnessing around the gun in men's pockets might attach itself to the weapons in their holsters and on missile launch pads.That would truly revolutionize our world.
Recent furor around the sexual harassment of women by famous men has reminded me of the old Mae West tag, "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"
It's made me wish that all of us were as perceptive as Ms. West in implicitly connecting aggressive male sexuality and gun violence -- especially in our militarized culture. Such sensitivity might help rid us of danger posed by real guns, which is far greater than "the boss" flashing or fondling his metaphorical counterpart in front of understandably shocked and repulsed female underlings.
In other words, I'm waiting for the day when the female-led sea-change we're now witnessing around the gun in men's pockets might attach itself to the weapons in their holsters and on missile launch pads. It would revolutionize our world. There mostly white misogynists currently shape not only Hollywood stories, news reporting, music, and comedy, but also our country's domestic and foreign policy. There the male solution to everything seems to involve guns, bombing, and threats of violence.
Think about it: Both the gun referenced by Mae West and real guns are pretty strictly male things. Anatomically, women simply can't exhibit the pocket gun. And strutting about with a Glock on their hips or an AK 47 on their shoulders seems fairly distant from most women's reality. I find it hard to even imagine a mass shooting perpetrated by a woman. Has one ever occurred? (In fact, mass shooters tend to be white middle aged men with actual records of domestic abuse.)
Why this male fixation?
Feminist commentators as far back as the '70s had It figured out. They said that male exhibitionism and aggressiveness with that gun in their pockets isn't really about sex. No: it's about power.
After World War II, men resented the entry of women into the public sphere. Harassing them sexually was one way of putting them back in their place. "You don't belong here; get out" was one message. Another was, "Unless you 'put out' for me, you won't be hired or advanced."
Both messages drove many women away or into jobs like teaching or nursing where female community was easier to find.
In other words, sexual harassment represented male response to female threat to their traditional territory and power.
Might something similar be said for men's love affair with real guns -- for their fascination with their size and power and capacity for multiple bursts? Is it a response to a world where women and other outsiders have entered white male bastions?
Consider the evidence provided by the most testosterone-soaked bastion of all, the U.S. military. There at least 25% of women report having been sexually assaulted; 80% say they have been sexually harassed. And, of course, rape of "enemy" women has long represented one of the spoils of war -- including for U.S. servicemen. If they are so willing to sexually assault their colleagues, what do you think our soldiers do with enemy women?
The answer for all of this is a profound change of patriarchal systems designed to denigrate, harass, intimidate, silence, devalue and assault not only women, but anyone who threatens male privilege. The answer is for men to take the lead in betraying our fondest ideas of masculinity and our reliance on weapons to solve political problems. It is to deconstruct completely our misogynist culture.
That means imagining and crafting a world run by women -- or at least where without harassment or assault, women are allowed to achieve proportional representation in national assemblies. In such a world, diplomacy, dialog, and compromise, would predictably represent the default diplomatic position rather than immediate resort to military hardware.
Simply put, our militarized patriarchy isn't working on any level. Predatory masculinity has been exposed in the workplace. For those willing to see, the disastrous failure of its martial equivalent also stands evident in the world at large.
Acknowledging that exposition and countering it with female energy would change everything.
Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Recently retired, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program. Mike blogs at http://mikerivageseul.wordpress.com/