The dismantling of Western masculinity has been ongoing since at least the “Enlightenment,” but was initially hidden from view by the modern heroicization of industry and industrial labor and the association of masculinity with the figures of the industrialist and the militant worker. What in recent decades appears in the West as the triumph of an emasculatory feminism is really the collapse of this modern fantasy of entrepreneurial and proletarian prowess. The oversized figure of the former “captain of industry” is now reduced to the proportions of the typical, larvally arrested Silicon Valley CEO. Old John Henry is a screen-fixated drone confined to a cubicle. The truth of modernity turns out to be the transformation of machine-worshiping and machine-reliant man into a machine, or worse, a machine appendage, with all that implies about the redundancy of gender. The myth of gender “equality” issues from this functional abolition of the gender distinction. “Equality” is predicated on sameness; it imposes sameness. But this imposition is only possible when the markers of difference, in this case sexual difference, lose their functional/social value. This liquidation of gender is masked by the myth, the ideology, of female “empowerment.” But what modernity empowers is not women but an unsexed hybrid. The “empowered” career woman is no longer a woman but a phallicized freak, a forced mutation. Likewise, the modern, accommodating, pliable, “sensitive” male is no longer a male but an equally synthetic product, a complementary modern abomination. Today, surgical transgenderism brings into the open the price of the Faustian bargain between man and machine. It becomes evident that the modern “liberation” from the cruel exigencies of nature was achieved by the wholesale artificialization of the human, the self-disfiguring transformation of both sexes into Frankensteinian oddities.
Feminist prudery can be explained in fairly simply terms–provided one is honest about what sex entails.
Sex is always “degrading” to women because for the woman, it is always an act of submission to the man and the enjoyment of that submission. There is no other way to interpret a woman opening herself to a man. On a primal level, it is a woman’s surrender to invasion , to conquest–but also a welcoming, an embrace of the conqueror. Sex is never a coupling of equals. Indeed, the very notion of equality is fatally anti-erotic.
Feminists (hysterics) cannot yield, cannot surrender, either to men or to their own desire, and, therefore, cannot enjoy sex except by inventing fictions that cover up what is involved. Fundamentally, a feminist is a woman who cannot tolerate being a woman.
Perhaps modernity has something to do with this misgendering–which appears to affect both sexes. Perhaps feminists are women unsexed by the paucity of real men and the overall destruction of patriarchal authority. Perhaps capitalism and modern industry unsexed the modern woman by conscripting her into the workforce and making of her a masculinized competitor with men.
What is certain is that sexual equality guarantees the eventual extinction of every society that adopts it as a goal.
Art has always served power but in the premodern period, power, though associated with wealth was not its product. Contemporary power is corporate. It is the power of dead capital, which means that we are subjects not of the Sun King or the Pope but of the nameless, seemingly contingent forces that rule the global economy. This is a power that art is hard-pressed to exalt. The real story of modern art, once one gets past the self-heroicizing bluster of the avant-garde, is the story of the difficulties that had to be surmounted (the craft that had to be forgotten, the qualms that had to be allayed) before art could be sufficiently debased to serve capital.
For art to serve capital, it had to develop the means to give vacuity the appearance of effervescence. And beyond that, it had to develop means to glorify a wholesale inversion of values. Adapting to an ugly age, art learned to glorify ugliness. Adapting to a materialist age from which the sacred had been banished, it learned to glorify superficiality. Adapting to an age of diminished men, it learned to glorify stunted tastes and feelings. Adapting to an age in which the worship of technology had nullified virility, it learned to glorify effeminacy, lameness, and confusion. Adapting to an age “emancipated” from patriarchy, it learned to glorify perpetual adolescence, impotent rebellion, and formlessness. At every step, these adaptations had to overcome the resistance of artists, intellects, standards of taste and probity that retained some filiation with nobility. Finally, with the advent of postmodernism, a succession of triumphs over every lingering trace of decency was consolidated under a rubric that apotheosisized perversion and made an explicit principle out of the elevation of the marginal.
With each step forward into debasement, the diminution of quality has been accompanied by an expansion of quantity until, today, the term art is applied to the slightest affectation. We are now drowning in the excreta of swarms of “performative” mountebanks. Everything today is tainted by “art.” It is as if we are afflicted by the modern equivalent of the Midas touch–now revealed to be the curse of the total commodification of the world and the transformation of everything in it into a hectoring signifier of exchange value.
The deeper meaning of this wholesale artification of the late modern world is that it is driven by the need to aestheticize spiritual, cultural, and artistic degeneration, making the evil consequences of capital’s dominion appear deliberate, provocative, transgressive.
This is the fundamental mystication that underlies all modern “countercultural” ideologies. Thus, capital’s desecration of sex and sexuality is given the cover of a rebellion against “heteronormative” and patriarchal strictures. The destruction of tradition and the banalization of every aspect of existence are given avant-garde lustre. And, finally, every possible degeneration of taste, manners, and character is affirmed as “progressive,” so that the fatuous notion of progress becomes a synonym for civilizational putrefaction.
Since the will to dominate is integral to virility and since women crave dominant men, the possibility of gender equality is nil. Equality between the sexes would require nothing less than the eradication of the sex drive of both parties. This should explain the fundamentally puritanical nature of feminism.
Every modern “advance,” every “emancipation,” contributes to a retreat into infantilism. Once everything formerly accepted as fated and immutable is recategorized as purely conventional, the very possibility of nobility is extinguished because the foundation of nobility, Nietzsche’s amor fati, is made meaningless. Instead of developing the rigor to face and embrace fate, one indulges in ceaseless experimentation, deferring forever the assumption of a serious attitude toward life. Whenever difficulty or discomfort present themselves, the ready availability of an alternative choice subverts any inclination to fortitude. With every obstacle, one simply veers to avoid it, until evasion becomes habitual. Thus, all the supposedly empowering advances bestowed by secularism and technology turn out to have a profoundly disempowering, diminishing effect on character and, indeed, on the human organism as a whole. We see the destructive results on multiple fronts: in the extreme reduction of attention span and concentration dubbed Attention Deficit Disorder (in actuality, a condition so pervasive that it constitutes the current cognitive norm) no less than in the mania for gender “reassignment.” What these and numerous related modern disorders attest to is the failure of the modern subject to leave behind the plasticity of childhood and its seemingly infinite but unrealized potential. Understandably, this universal affirmation of the inner child goes hand in hand with the radical negation, the nullification, of the paternal function. In a world, in which nobody is required to grow up, fatherhood in both its actual and symbolic form is redundant. The modern world is, in its essence, the world without a father.
When contemporary ninnies complain of toxic masculinity, they are not entirely off the mark, even if they remain oblivious of the implications.
Masculinity becomes toxic when the complexity and attendant fragility of a society grow to the point where the male libidinal drive becomes too disruptive to accommodate. Such tightly regimented, dense, automated, networked societies require subjects that must increasingly approximate to genderless automatons.
Freud had already observed in Civilization and Its Discontents that the level of interdependence and collaboration that social life demands would be impossible without the repression of aggression. This was always true, but modernity pushes the instrumentalization of the human organism to the point where the modern subject must be completely stripped of any inclination that might ever so slightly misalign it with the Borg-like corporate hive that encloses it. Inevitably, this translates into an aversion toward every manifestation of refractory masculinity.
The early modern worshipers of the machine did not foresee this. To Marinetti, the machine promised hypermasculinzation, an amplification of the most primitive virility. What it delivered instead was a wholesale gelding of Western man, his transformation into a species of hermaphroditic worm. And it is these invertebrates who today declare that masculinity is toxic, for to them the sight of a man can only convey an intolerable rebuke.
Money, then, appears as this distorting power both against the individual and against the bonds of society, etc., which claim to be entities in themselves. It transforms fidelity into infidelity, love into hate, hate into love, virtue into vice, vice into virtue, servant into master, master into servant, idiocy into intelligence, and intelligence into idiocy.
Since money, as the existing and active concept of value, confounds and confuses all things, it is the general confounding and confusing of all things–the world upside-down–the confounding and confusing of all natural and human qualities.
He who can buy bravery is brave, though he be a coward. As money is not exchanged for any one specific quality, for any one specific thing, or for any particular human essential power, but for the entire objective world of man and nature, from the standpoint of its possessor it therefore serves to exchange every quality for every other, even contradictory, quality and object: it is the fraternisation of impossibilities. It makes contradictions embrace.
Today, the money-enabled “fraternisation of impossibilities” visible to Marx in 1844 challenges even the division of the sexes. The fact that progressives hail the overcoming of the gender “binary” as progress just confirms that they are capital’s useful idiots.
Taken on its own, the claim that gender is a social construction is a triviality. All distinctions whatsoever are ultimately social constructions. What is significant is only the moment when they begin to appear as such. When a culture begins to apprehend itself as merely a culture, its tenets and tastes as merely prejudices, it is moribund. The “deconstruction” that ensues is the labor of maggots.
It is not the constructedness of gender that the transgender fad reveals but the power of consumerism to transform anatomy into consumer choice. Everything that was default, natural, is made unnatural, subject to customization, available as paid option.
Those who would free us from the last vestiges of patriarchy are in actuality delivering us into the grasp of the mutagenic corporate Borg. Once it is removed from the patriarchal order that dignified it, the body becomes a machine whose parts can be altered at will. Transgenderism is but the logical expression of this desacralization of the body at the behest of the capitalist drive to reduce all of nature to product.
Hysteric phallophobia can equally express itself as either frigidity or “nymphomania.”
The hysteric, whose worldview is structured by the idea that she is a castrated man, is condemned to regard all contact with men as a potential violation. Most commonly, this results in a horror of anything that can be interpreted as sexual contact.
But hysteria can also prompt an attempted devaluation of the missing phallus via hypersexuality, which strips the phallus of symbolic meaning by repetitive and inconsequential consumption. (The feminist obsession with abortion is in this context to be understood as deriving from a need to deprive the phallus of both its semiotic and inseminating potency.)
However, in each case the result is the same: dissatisfaction. As long as a woman equates womanhood with a cosmic injustice, no satisfactory relationship with a man is possible.
This is why there is no cure for either hysteria or feminism, for what they express is not merely a chronic dissatisfaction but a will to dissatisfaction.
Gender is only a “construction” to those unable to endure themselves.