Monday, April 10, 2006

Harvey Manfield, Manliness and Suffragettes

This weekend I pondered my debt to the women who fought so that I could be recognized as a full human being; capable of thinking and voting for myself. This morning, I was confronted with Harvey Manfield’s views of Manliness (A manly man can accomplish big things because "he is good at ordering people to get them done."). You may be mistaken to think that Harv is interested in gender studies, nach. He is a professor of government, of manly men government where men are naturally suited to be in charge because democracy requires it: “Does democracy then, tend to produce, and require, manliness?”

If this wasn’t on the cover of Oprah Winfrey’s O reviewed in The Washington Post, the New York Times and immediately championed by everyone from the Neo-conservatives to Evangelical Christians, it would be humorous. When Harv thinks of women at all, it is to ask them to consider how their disobedience of men have really hurt men; “the modern woman above all does not want to be a dependant. She may not have thought what her independence does to the manliness of men.”, “To resist rape a woman needs more than martial arts and more than the police; she needs a certain ladylike modesty”, “Men need deference (from women)”

When Harv states that unlike men who are born to self sacrifice and intelligent thoughtful action, “Certainly women reason and sacrifice too...but their participation in these things in not “equal”” my first response is to ask him what I asked the Christian Theologian who told me that women who qualify for heaven they are turned into men for eternity as a reward; “Have you told this to your mother?”

Ignoring the fact that Harv’s ideas are about as useful as the old bachelor in the back of the church which mutters on about “only buying your car with cash, no credit,” his view of manliness is one which is obsolete, including the word, which was last used, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, in 1879. Even his heroes are all dead, or fictional: John Wayne, Tarzan, Theodore Roosevelt, Earnest Hemingway (nothing more manly than sucking a shotgun?).

Harv states that “courage” is a term reserved for men. This statement among all others generates my second response: Epee lunge to the groin! Courage and sacrifice are not concepts of competition. Every human being practices them and is capable of the greatest acts under their banner. Harv seems to have forgotten that Hero was a woman.

Women have gone to war with men for the right to equally exist, and won, not because men were naturally suited to seeing the obvious, that it was their own prejudice and fear which was making decisions, but because 51% of the population can not be held down without their own agreement. In 1905 the British police and men of parliament thought a tinge of violence would shut up the suffragettes; “The Suffragettes refused to bow to violence. They burned down churches as the Church of England was against what they wanted; they vandalised Oxford Street, apparently breaking all the windows in this famous street; they chained themselves to Buckingham Palace as the Royal Family were seen to be against women having the right to vote; they hired out boats, sailed up the Thames and shouted abuse through loud hailers at Parliament as it sat; others refused to pay their tax. Politicians were attacked as they went to work. Their homes were fire bombed. Golf courses were vandalised.(a)”

Oops, I guess they were “nice” or “modest” either, they were angry, frustrated and desperate. Hey you freaked out old men; Women don’t want to be men; they want the chance to be what they are able to be - pass it on.

(a)- http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/suffragettes.htm

15 comments:

elizabeth said...

Geesh. This should be in Time magazine.
I am more and more convinced that all men are masogynists but - in several cases their mother's are partly to blame. So, I just don't like anyone anymore... (think they'll kick me out of Hufflepuff? - you kind of beat me up a little there woman...)

Elizabeth McClung said...

Sorry about the Hufflepuff (they just are so darn cute with thier dewy eyes next to Slythern that you know what will happen as soon as they meet).

What astounded me is not stupid statements this guy makes (like: "women's bodies are made to attract and to please men") but that he somehow gets a book deal and appears on Oprah and Nightline by saying things that old kooky uncle bill said about women every time he got drunk enough and though his wife wouldn't hear.

elizabeth said...

You mean women's bodies weren't made to attract and please men? I have lost my way.... don't even know why I'm here anymore....

elizabeth said...

Do you mean I can eat a french fry again? Maybe several?

NOTHING said...

eat as many frys as you want, french frys r so good

elizabeth said...

Yes - in truth it is a mainstay for me. I'm Irish - I love all potatoes.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Mmmmmm.....nothing like a little mashed spud across my naked body.....so earthy.

B.V. Brus said...

Hey! I'm a guy!

Elizabeth McClung said...

I'm sure she meant "Most guys", with the possible exception of Johnny Depp - you do look like Johnny Depp don't you?

NOTHING said...

all spud related foods r good

elizabeth said...

Did you ever watch that episode of the surreal life where the house dined off of that model? Mini-me totally copped a feel. It was repulsive and amusing all at once.

elizabeth said...

Uh oh - I'm doing that six-degrees of seperation type of thinking. Don't mind me if you didn't follow.

elizabeth said...

Did someone say Johhny Depp? I'd eat mashed potatoes off his body any old day. Yummy.

Murray said...

Murray

I am shocked and saddened not only by Harvey Manfield’s views of Manliness and the book that he has written, but that he is getting support from Oprah, New York Times and the "Christian" community. What other outdated, ignorant and wrong concepts will he write about next - "the bible says we should have slaves" - "the Arian idea of white supremacy", "poor people are just lazy" I admire the gutzy women (like Nellie MClung in Canda) who fought for acceptance of women as "persons" so they could vote, hold property, inherit and have bank accounts. Oppression is the enemy of truth and Harvey Manfield stands for the oppressor.

kathz said...

Do you think that Harvey got a bit carried away by his surname? I read this a couple of days ago in the office and meant to post a comment straight away, but then there was a knock on my door ...

Somehow it's hard to believe anyone can believe such rubbish. And yet I should know better; I'm old enough to remember debates in Britain in the early 1970s on whether women should have the same access to universities as men, whether people would believe women news-readers (really) and whether married women should be allowed bank accounts or necessary medical treatment (e.g. mastectomies) without their husbands' consent.