Texas

Texas

When seen in the context of the most recent developments, the new intensity of the American misogyny appears less of an anachronistic anomaly and more as a logical consequence of the current political struggles. The debates (and the present escalation) of the Abortion law – the topic that had been put to rest in the remainder of the world a long time ago – is resurfacing now, at this particular moment, not in the light of its renewed relevance or urgency, but as an opening act for the new chapter of fascism. — Read more from NOTES FROM DISGRACELAND and follow on Twitter

5.IX 2021

Identity code has a generally excluding effect capable of mobilizing negative energies and social forces towards those who do not share the same origin, territory or culture. Fascism is the fundamental obsession with identity, origin and belonging. It is a knee-jerk reaction to physical and social displacement. Fascism is generally inclusive, which reflects a fear of small numbers — it likes size because identity robustness had been eroded by the defection and erosion of ranks. It absorbs everyone willing to join in and expresses hostility to outsiders.

While there are many varieties of fascism, they all have one thing in common: Misogyny resides at the origin of each and every one of them – there hasn’t been a fascist movement without it. It’s never been too difficult to mobilize enough male solidarity when it comes to organized misogyny. By questioning the external norms that relate to the position of men and women in society, man has had nothing to gain and everything to lose: He would lose not only social and economic advantages, but something far more precious, a sense of his own superiority which bolsters his ego both in his public and private life [1].

The fundamental cohesive force of fascism always begins with a male bonding ritual of masculinization of cultural self-perception. In Italy, for example, early 20th century fascism represented the turning point from feminine self-perception to masculine assertiveness: Erasing feminine quality of its Mediterranean sensitivity – everything that makes life there pleasant and seductive — and affirming a different self-image based on acceleration and male potency (national pride, military aggressivity, industrial growth, etc). German fascism, on the other hand, was not a programmatic cultural defeminization, but rather an establishment of systematic downgrade of femininity to reproductive function as a part of the new nation-serving hierarchization. Its essence was a utilitarian placement of women as birth factories, their subordination to the interests of the National Socialist political agenda (run by men), to serve the numbers.

When seen in the context of the most recent developments, the new intensity of the American misogyny appears less of an anachronistic anomaly and more as a logical consequence of the current political struggles. The debates (and the present escalation) of the Abortion law – the topic that had been put to rest in the remainder of the world a long time ago – is resurfacing now, at this particular moment, not in the light of its renewed relevance or urgency, but as an opening act for the new chapter of fascism. It is showing here in a more convoluted way than it had 100 years ago because the social and cultural displacement of the 21st century Western man has triggered new modes of identity politics.

Modern day misogyny is the ultimate male fantasy of the Western conservatives structured around a nostalgia for the times of lower entropy, a return to the past as a site of coherence, and a relapse to the patriarchal setting when man held their “naturally deserved” upper hand and (a male) God ruled the world. Through misogyny this man articulates the desire to reclaim what he considers his “natural right” to control women and, in that way, take control of his own destiny.

Conservative man’s vision of woman is not objective, but an uneasy combination of what he wishes her to be and what he fears her to be [2]. The masculinization program and return to patriarchal values (the most coveted axiom of any right-wing politics) and assault on women’s rights and their position in society, if they are to be successful, would have to be deeper, gradual and systematic. This means undoing women’s emancipation. The tactical approach of conservative politics is that the masculinization program requires a proper framing and subtle maneuvering — women must not be antagonized; they are many and they vote. In their view, the most effective approach is to strike at the root of a woman’s influence.

No one has more influence on a person during their formative age than their mother. As such, she is a constant threat to both the state and to men in general. The decision of life and death has to be taken away from women. Their influence and importance in the life of their children have to be diminished, if not de facto, then, at least, symbolically. Right to life! This is ultimately the question about who has jurisdiction over the life of an individual, their mother/family or the state (ruled by men, of course). With the help of proper framing, this becomes the theme that defines the core of conservative identity politics, an issue slowly hijacked by (predominantly white) men who feel righteous and entitled, and present themselves as defenders of human life while women take a back seat.


[1] Eva Figes, Patriarchal Attitudes, Persea Books (1986)

[2] ibid.


 

10 thoughts on “Texas

  1. What’s really sad is guys poke fun at a girl, and when the girl tells the guys they’re pregnant the guys all of a sudden disappear and find another girl to poke fun at.

  2. This is heresy and apostasy at the highest level, but I think overturning Roe v Wade would be a good thing. I think Roe v Wade has totally skewed American political discourse over the past (almost) 49 years. There’s an army of people who wake up in the morning & the first thing they hear is the screaming of little fetuses being aborted, and as soon as their feet hit the floor, off they go on their single issue crusade. And unfortunately, the GOP has tapped into them big time.

    If Roe v Wade were to get overturned, there would be some short-term pain, to be sure. But I think a lot of wind would go out of the so-called “pro-life” sails (as well as campaign contributions). But perhaps—and hopefully—newer, less invasive (and less obvious) methods of terminating pregnancies would be developed, and Democrats (I use the term loosely) would fire up enough political will to get something allowing abortions into federal law.

    Regarding this particular Texas law, yes, it’s heinous. But I had dinner with some libertarian lawyers the other night, and they said people are jumping to conclusions on this law. The Supreme Court refused to hear it because it hasn’t been implemented or challenged in a real case yet. They are convinced that the first time there’s actually a real case, the Texas law will fall apart. We’ll see . . .

    1. It’s not necessarily apostasy. I am no constitutional lawyer but it seems to me that the justification for Roe v Wade is pathetic and a total stretch.

      OTOH, abortions should be legal. Regulated (as is pretty much anything under the sun) – and people of good will can disagree on where the line ought to be drawn exactly – but legal and safe.

    2. I get the feeling that’s not how it would play out. Once Roe is toast and all the red states have imposed abortion laws as bad or worse than TX the will use the outsize influence they have generated to implement federal abortion laws which also punish states that do not adopt TX style abortion laws as well as pushing for federal voting restrictions to curtail the voting influence of the poor and minorities. The wind doesn’t come out of the sails of these movements when they succeed but rather when they fail and the last torchbearers die off. The push for facism is strong and growing stronger. I see white supremacy and nationalist militia stickers on trucks now regularly.

  3. Misogyny somehow justified.
    Eve eats apple out of curiosity, inquisitive human nature. Zap,banished to boring old hard-working earth. Adam, owner of many more ribs and women to follow, has Apple land in his hand and chooses to follow her and bitch about her choice for all of eternity. She was just curious, he was a dumb ass. All of eternity has now been men trying to dumb down women.
    Just a monogamous version of the Pandora story, not very creative.
    Monotheism is a dream come true for autocrats/fascism. Being taught to believe the ridiculous is a great beginning. When people had choices of gods to follow ruling could be messy.

  4. I agree the new intensity of the American misogyny is less an anachronistic anomaly and more a logical consequence of the current political struggles. But it is an anomaly and a product of political struggles, so its impact and viability depends upon the will of the body politic. Indeed, abortion law has largely been put to rest not only in the world, but also in the US. Time will tell where this new chapter of misogynistic and fascistic political tendencies in our country may lead us. But, in my opinion, it’s a political loser, not unlike Trump politics, because it fails to gain enough and substantial consensus.

    Nixon’s “Forgotten Man” or “Silent Majority” (or whatever he called it) has over time become either informed or displaced. Suburban women and independents are ruling the political roost, though that may be less certain in suburban communities around Dallas.

    I’ve heard fears expressed multiple times and from multiple sources about the preponderance of firearms in the context of the rising some extremist elements in our society. But I don’t believe the political will exists to support those extremists. And if they find the courage to come out and impose any threat, Mark Milley has said the National Guard would quickly squelch it in any form.

    It’s kind of funny how a man can be mocked and put in his place by his wife when confronting issues that inspire him to “pound his chest,” allowing himself to lose control and loudly express his anger and frustration. More often than not, the man realizes she’s right, but he just wants to express himself. The entire, twisted, Texas political anomaly is an attempt to score a 99-yard touchdown on a hail Mary pass from Governor Abbot’s own end-zone. But it’s only going to inspire more challenge, and place more national, political focus on his state. I doubt it will end well for him.

    I think the Texas governor is “seeing how far he can skip stones in a big pond.” But his actions are not without impact on his own people. And though he tries to impose his own will by limiting free speech through the vote, Abbot’s actions are not taken in a void. There will be consequences, though what they may be remains to be seen. I don’t know much about Texas politics, and I wish I could predict the future. But I don’t imagine Texans are going to sit on their hands about this.

  5. As is often the case, your observation and perspective provokes thought and imagination. I really appreciate that about your work. But I have to call out your references to “conservative politics,” “conservative man,” “Western conservative,” etcetera.

    Funny. I voted for Biden who, like the country, is rather conservative in many ways. “Republican” inclination to distinguish the party by resorting to radical policy should be a liability for the Trump wanna-be candidates in the 2022 election. They’re free to be radical if they wish. But I feel the democrats should call out these radical policies and name them as such.

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