Thursday, May 21, 2009

Miranda Devine, Rugby League, Androgyny, Feminists, Hotties and the crusade to make men men and women good ol' Eve

(Above: a knight doing his knightly chivalrous thing, with some bonus bondage, painting by John Everett Millais, 1829-1896).

Chivalry was one of the more bizarre manifestations of the code of masculine conduct that evolved during the medieval ages.

Perhaps its finest hour came at the battle of Agincourt, when Henry the Fifth whopped the asses of the French. Let's not get dewy eyed about Henry - he was just an on the make invader willing to do whatever it took to win, in this case deploying long bows to deadly effect, and gaining an advantage because the rain-sodden ground turned the heavily armed French cavalry into mud turtles ripe for the slaughter.

Nor was Henry above slaughtering a couple of thousand French prisoners, just in case they staged a comeback. The French, through a kind of chivalric stupidity, at vast odds with the barbaric reality in the field, lost oodles  of barons dressed up to the nines in fancy armor and even more stupid ideas of heroic deaths in battle (Wikipedia has the story here).

If you want another fine example of chivalry in action, look no further than the medieval crusades where religious piety became a convenient excuse for rape and pillage - again you can catch the outline in Wikipedia here, but I still think Sir Stephen Runciman's four volume account remains a jolly good read. And while you're at it you can catch a thumbnail on chivalry here.

If you've still got a hankering to be a chevalier after that lot, give your psychiatrist a call. Or mebbe just read Miranda the Devine:

Chivalry was once the province of the fighting man - the knight in shining armour who behaved with gallantry, honour and courtesy on the battlefield and off and was always proud to help the weak and defenceless. But decades of androgynous feminism have stamped on chivalry, deriding men who opened doors or stood back for women as being sexist and patronising.

Eer would that be the longbow deploying knight or the hapless French turtle knight stuck in the mud?

Yep, inevitably, she's banging on about the Matthew Johns case in Natural men scolded into timidity, and  just as inevitably we're taken back to the world of Twilight, where a vampire refusing to suck blood or have sex is just the kind of vampire every teenage girl needs as a role model for a rich, sexually fulfilling life with a mate.

Now let's pass over the specifics of the Johns' matter - the details have been trawled through the press in the tawdry manner of tabloids, and in the most lip smacking, salivating, titillating and unsavory way in the Daily Telegraph.

A lot of the coverage has been on the basis of 'sex sells', but the Devine isn't really interested in the actual details or its meaning. She's on  her own crusade.

You always know when zealotry creeps into a story there is another agenda at work - and that is that the Johns case is a beachhead in the war against masculinity, waged by those who think the only difference between men and women is cultural.

This notion of a socially constructed "gender" has been the central idea of the women's studies movement since it began in the 1960s, with its aim to produce an androgynous utopia. But the culture has changed and there are still men who refuse to act like women - damn them - even if they do have smooth, hairless chests.

Ah yes, the demasculinization of men, always a favorite whipping post for conservatives yearning for a never never land of chivalric knightly men rescuing fair damsels in distress, all ruined by the bloody feminists.

And all those boys want to do is return us to the good old days, when a man walked on the outside of a woman in the streets, though there remains some dispute as to whether that was to leave his sword arm free, or to protect her from wayward horses, or to protect her from the garbage flung from upstairs windows (including the contents of chamber pots).

But isn't one of the great advances in civilization the way we've got rid of the smell of faeces and urine in the streets? Not when you're a man and a footballer:

Thus, Roosters forward Willie Mason is stalked by cameras on a night out this week, so that a quick slash in an alley outside the Golden Sheaf in Double Bay becomes a monstrous crime, with pictures of him urinating behind a tree splashed all over newspapers and the internet, and his club hauling him before its disciplinary committee and fining him $2000.

No one enjoys the smell of urine in the street but Mason's discreet call of nature was hardly a capital offence in the scheme of things and at least he was wearing a nice suit.

Virginia, bring me that aspidistra in the pot on the what not, I feel a piss coming on. What's that woman? Well I'll damn well piss where I please, and I'll have you know I'm wearing my finest knickerbockers, so just bring me the damn plant.

Okay, so no harm done pissing in the street. Sure you might be a highly paid entertainer, pursued relentlessly by the paparazzi, as they pursue all kinds of useless entertainers, but it's your god given right to piss in the streets and be caught out by a camera, just as its right for morning talk show hosts to get falling down drunk in front of a cell phone (subbie, bring me that shot of Russell Crowe pissing in the streets to illustrate the point. What's that, we haven't got one?) Yep, the right to remain a dumb boofhead getting paid squillions is absolute.

And anyway, really it's all the fault of the new androgyny. I blame feminists and transsexuals  myself, or at least it seems the Devine does:

The new androgyny has also expected that women, too, must change, particularly in their attitudes towards sex. Popular culture today presents a narrative in which the liberalisation of sex has travelled on an inevitable continuum from the 1960s to some Brave New World free-for-all where Huxleyan teens engage in clinical couplings in which the only things to be negotiated are safety and consent.

Oh dear, so Marlene Deitrich struggled in vain to establish the androgynous look as far back as Der blaue Engel.

But at least the androgynous thing has stopped young girls from dressing themselves up like sluts and trying to appeal to men in a way which has been damned by the bible since Adam and Eve, and by preachers ever since (damn you Eve, for ruining the entire human race for ever and ever).

Where once girls were told that sex without emotional attachment would leave them feeling hurt and used, now such ideas are regarded as judgmental and moralistic. Instead girls are taught the most anti-woman thing of all - to judge their worth and the worth of others by "hotness" - that is, how sexually desirable they are, even if they are only 12.

The ensuing chaos in the mating world stems from this disconnect between what popular culture tells girls and boys they should want and how it really makes them

Damn, got it wrong again. It seems that young women (and girls) are being trained to be conventional Eves, little hotties, rather than decent New York style, Andy Warhol loving, Factory living androgynous folk.

Feeling confused by now? Had any real insights into men, women and the whole damn thing? Okay, time to resolve this one:

Killing off rugby league isn't going to stop men being aggressive and sexually motivated. In fact, such games are the few outlets boys have left for excess physical energy.

In sanctioned team violence on the football field, young men can test their courage and express what it feels to be male, to have testosterone surging through young bodies, building huge muscles and attack instincts for which society has little use any more. It is teaching them, not to be violent but how to control their violent urges.

Um, okay, men are naturally violent, but if they get out on to the field, or  perhaps the field of battle, they can play gladiators, or if push comes to shove, they can kill each other. I've always thought the notion of female soldiers was slightly bizarre - damn you Israeli army for giving women the deluded Amazonian notion they can be warriors. It seems women are just the gentle sex, incapable of anything nasty and cruel. That's a relief.

But wait, men aren't naturally violent at all. They're not only hard wired to go the biff, they're hard wired to be pussie cats:

In the end, men's drives aren't all violent and predatory. Most have a deep, possibly hard-wired, desire to be noble and chivalrous. That's why in situations such as the Port Arthur massacre, so many men died shielding their wives or women around them.

Well that's clarified about every cliche and stereotype I can think of for the moment in relation to men and women and chivalry. Any last way to abuse feminists for creating the problem of men?

It would have been better for women if feminism had appealed to men's better natures.

What, like get them out of rugby league and into macrame? Sorry head hurt time. It was so much simpler in the old days when a knight was a knight, and a woman was a rolled cigar. Oh sorry, got that wrong, a woman is just a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Bummer dude, and it's been a bummer ever since. But at least you can still have a piss in the street standing up. Try watching a woman do that, especially in high heels.

(Below: curse that vile temptress androgyny).


Adam said...

Christians have such a forgiving and compassionate God, don't they? One of the many illogical fantasies I could never understand, even as an impressionable kid, was when one of God's punishments was to make childbirth painful (if I remember correctly). It seems to me that passing something that big through a hole that small would be against the laws of physics if it weren't painful. Maybe Eve's vagina was incredibly big before then and God made it smaller?

Your word verification is "munged", which seems appropriate for some childish reason.

Have a good day.

dorothy parker said...

Well you made me look up mung and I discovered it's computer jargon for "to make repeated changes which individually may be reversible, yet which ultimately result in an unintentional, irreversible destruction of large portions of the original item".

Childish? That's as good as 42 at explaining Miranda the Devine. Golly you learn something every day.

Thanks for that, but don't crank me up about the Christians. Imagine a parent banning a kid from his favorite garden just because he ate a piece of fruit, and then it's just relentless punishment until the end of time, what with the endless suffering and the childbirth thingy and the clothing and the dust and the cursing. Enough already.