Bell Hooks on patriarchal violence to men

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.”

Bell Hooks

One of the issues that seems to pop up a lot at the moment is the level of assumption, judgment and discrimination (exhibited by all genders)  that exists towards men in this society. One strand of this is the deemed/projective sexualisation of a lot of masculine behaviour – whether actually sexual or not – which creates a potentially dangerous climate for a man who dares to work with children or in physical therapies, or indeed to be in many other 1:1 situations with a woman or child. We notice a cultural tendency towards suspicion, and ‘guilty until proven innocent’ in this context – a powerful coercive field, that imputes motivation/external locus, and overrides facts. Another strand is the difficulty that exists for a man who wishes to inhabit his own feelings, his fears and uncertainties, his softness, his nurturing, loving self. This can attract ridicule, and – again – suspicion. Even his anger or assertion is off limits and punished, unless funnelled into sport or some other culturally acceptable form of displaced expression. The loss to our men, and to all of us, is immense. Very grateful for the work many people are doing – for example, Jeff Foster, Jason Hine, Charles Eisenstein, George Monbiot, Mark Greene – to reframe concepts of masculinity, and reclaim the sacred masculine, that has been as distorted and harmed by the patriarchy as the feminine, and those who do not self-define in binary terms.

Thank you to Monica Cassani on Facebook for drawing our attention to this.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994


This entry was posted in 'evil', abuse, conditions of worth, cultural questions, Disconnection, emotions, fear, identity, masculine, non-conforming, political, power and powerlessness, self, self concept, self esteem, shadow, shame, shaming, trauma, violence, vulnerability and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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