The paradox between male privilege and male misery is often used to argue that women’s oppression is balanced by a similar or even worse lot for men. Warren Farrell, for example, writes that societies such as that in the United States are both patriarchal and matriarchal, with each gender having its own areas of oppressive domination. As with other false parallels, Farrell draws attention away from patriarchy to men as victims who deserve sympathy as much as women do.
At the extreme, men’s woes are used to blame women for the price men pay for privilege, even though the price usually is exacted by other men. Men’s reluctance to open themselves fully to their inner emotional lives, for example, is based far more on fear of being vulnerable to other men or of being seen as insufficiently manly-not in control and controlled by others-than on worries about women. In similar ways, the competitive grind, insecurity, or fear of violence that many men experience is overwhelmingly in relation to other men, not women.
Our work of love should be to reclaim masculinity and not allow it to be held hostage to patriarchal domination. There is a creative, life-sustaining, life enhancing place for the masculine in a non-dominator culture. And those of us committed to ending patriarchy can touch the hearts of real men where they live, not by demanding that they give up manhood or maleness, but by asking that they allow its meaning to be transformed, that they become disloyal to patriarchal masculinity in order to find a place for the masculine that does not make it synonymous with domination or the will to do violence.
In fact, the nature of new media art is that it tends to be a deconstructed series of events spread out over the course of any project or an artist’s lifetime. This type of art is more a kin to a form of aesthetic research, which derives its meaning within the information sphere of established global networks. This is actually a move beyond postmodernism that doesn’t really have a term attached to it.
What is it about modernization that causes suicide? Modernity comes with capitalism and individualism, which travel hand in hand. Reduced to its core (and thus risking gross over-generalization,) modernity causes suicide because it commodifies individuals.
What does it mean to be commodified? In a pre-modern society, people’s social identity is defined by their unchanging relationship to the larger society. If you are someone’s father, you never cease to be the father (short of a catastrophe.) Accordingly, your duty and worth as a father likewise never change throughout your life. Such unchanging constancy is precisely the character that a commodity lacks. The worth of a commodity is strictly proportional to its usefulness. If the commodity loses its usefulness, it automatically loses all of its value. The commodity, quite literally, becomes worthless. And once rendered worthless, its existence no longer matters.
Perniciously, modernity commodifies human beings, with sophistication and precision never seen before in human history. In a capitalistic society, every “human resource” (hideous words, if you think about it) comes with a sticker price, precisely indicating his/her value. A lawyer costs $350 an hour; a stripper, $20 a song. And inevitably, for a large number of humans, the value is zero or near zero—useless, therefore worthless. Likewise inevitably, for even larger number of humans, the sticker price that are given to them (which is something that they can only partially control) is far lower than their own ideas of their intrinsic value. This discrepancy pushes such people to view themselves as worthless. The next step is easy—the commodity whose existence no longer matters proceeds to end its existence.
I’m trying to explain to my mother that domestic work is upaid labor and therefore that she’s being exploited whether she enjoys this work or not, because exploitation isn’t a moral harm brought upon you, it’s economic extraction, it’s someone getting more out of your labor than you are.
The family is one of the most politically fucked up institutions. Think of how we raise our kids to view their mothers as obligated to do this shit. The responsibility for tending to housework needs to be evenly distributed.
If you find that problematic you can go fuck yourself.
“The household is also the site of egregious thefts of services, where women perform thousands of hours of work annually but are not paid for it, and in fact sink more deeply into dependance and poverty the more committed they are to their families, whereas men benefit from women’s domestic work and often would not and indeed could not succeed outside the home without it. Women also frequently perform tasks for men that are directly related to men’s paid employment or careers, such as co-writing (or writing) men’s novels, or men stealing ideas from their wives without ever giving proper credit or compensation. Men individually and collectively become increasingly successful where it counts — in the public sphere — and build their empires on women’s backs and through women’s labor without sharing power with women individually or collectively, and male power is then wielded over all women abusively.” [x]
“To make a mess that another person will have to deal with—the dropped socks, the toothpaste sprayed on the bathroom mirror, the dirty dishes left from a late-night snack—is to exert domination in one of its more silent and intimate forms.”