Democrats, #metoo, and women as honorary men
I’ll let Wendy Lynne Lee explain.
[T]he notion “equality” is itself tethered to a view of human nature which so privileges attributes traditionally associated with men, such as aggression, hierarchical forms of organization, rugged individualism, competition, and ethical systems that strongly favor impersonal rule-following over relationality, that women are only able to be included within such conceptual frameworks as honorary men . . . examples offered to young women as role models and heroines are modeled after male heroes. The accomplishments of . . . movie heroines like those found in Terminator II, Aliens, Femme Nikita, The Hunger Games, or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo . . . are valued according to a standard that rewards domination over domesticity, conquest over caring, and militarism over mothering, in short, masculinity over femininity . . . to reinforce a male-centered or masculinist vision of the good [rather than] a vision centered around values identified as feminine such as cooperation, compromise, collective decision-making, or compassion . . . such programs . . . succeed . . . only at the cost of continuing to devalue qualities associated with femininity, and hence with women.
Capitalism is entering its sixth (and final) consecutive century, and for over ninety percent of that period, male power was absolute and barely contested. In fact, capitalism is not merely capitalism but patriarchal capitalism, or if we put the horse in front the historical cart, capitalist patriarchy.
Real women, by and large, are not faced with the option to become
powerful honorary males. Nonetheless, they continue to be casualties of the
very power structures and practices that are historically male, even when
some women who become honorary males are at the helm of institutions. Those institutions operate through agonal competition, authoritarian control, and the threat or use of violence — all associated with a foundational form of “masculinity” which, when opened up to a few women, remains un-critiqued, unchanged, and lacking in all moral intelligence. (Tough Gynes, p. 116)
That would include Congress, as one example.
Male power — and the forms of force and fraud that underwrote that power — is baked into our traditions, our ideologies, and our institutional practices. (White power is baked in, too, which means this is analogous to a few folks of color occupying high-powered positions so long as these “honorary white people” conform to pre-existing institutional practices and bow to existing institutional power.)
The point is, practices designed during long periods of male power are inherently bent toward the reproduction of male power. The only philosophy that successfully conceals this is liberalism — quite possibly the most dishonest philosophical perspective in human history. Liberalism is the philosophical face of white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy.
I am reading a Jacobin article by Branko Marcetic, a Biden biographer, in which he details how Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) have all gone silent on Tara Reade’s credible allegation that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her when she was on his staff in 1993. Marcetic counts these female elected officials among those who called for Al Franken’s resignation when he was confronted with a picture of him feigning a breast-grope on a sleeping female soldier. (Masto didn’t call for resignation, but denounced the action in strong terms.)
Additionally, Elizabeth Warren (the “Bloomberg is a misogynist” slay queen) is again revealing the depths of her cynical, manipulative ambition with her utter silence on Reade’s allegations, many left to conclude that she — as well as Harris and Masto — may be on Biden’s VP short list. And let’s not forget Hillary Clinton, who is telling us to ignore these allegations . . . but then again, she attacked her own husband’s accusers, too. “Feminism” . . . tastes like chicken.
Powerful women do not get to be powerful women in this still-male-dominated society unless they abandon any solidarity with women-in-general (except when it is politically advantageous, a calculation that has survived from the days of purer patriarchal power) and demonstrate absolute fealty to patriarchally-established institutional and political practices. These women in office are marching in lockstep — in absolute conformity — with the power structures established by powerful white capitalist men for powerful white capitalist men — men who have accommodated socio-cultural movements by co-opting their rebellious language and selling it back to us as a lifestyle commodity. Part of that accommodation has been the allowance of women who are willing to become “honorary men” and good soldiers to occupy positions of power.
[A]n African American President did not substantially improve the lot of most African Americans, a few female CEOs have not substantially improved the lot of most women, and the violent power structures that preceded the incorporation — literally — of female persons and persons of color into those same power structures has not changed the fundamentally violent and unjust character of these structures. In fact, these symbolic victories can actually stunt our ability to effectively recognize and criticize the violence, injustice, and historic “masculinity” of those structures. (Tough Gynes, p. xi)