Patriarchy Has Failed Us: Put Women in Charge!

Recently, Andrew Yang’s podcast (“Andrew & Zach”) had him and Zach Graumann discussing questions that should be of interest to everyone. They asked “Why are boys and men failing? Why so many weak men? Has women’s liberation unwittingly rendered males insignificant? And if so, what to do about it?”

Well, I thought, I for one know what to do about it.

Simply admit the obvious. Men have failed through their own inadequacy. Their “leadership” at all levels has been a disaster. Let’s face it: they’ve proven to be the weaker sex. In the aggregate, women and simply smarter and morally superior to men. So, as Keb Mo puts it, it’s well past time to “Put A Woman in Charge.” 

Let me try to make that case here by applauding the points made by Yang and Graumann about recent revelations concerning the changed situation between the sexes. The podcast hosts got that part right. Their description of the diminished status of men and masculinity is also undeniable. It’s simply a 21st century fact. Finally, I’ll suggest why I think Yang and Graumann’s approach doesn’t go far enough. Their concern to rehabilitate boys and men is misplaced. Instead, it’s time for all of us to work openly towards a Great Reversal where women are actually in charge of our country and world.

Women’s Superiority

To begin with, as Zach Graumann put it, women are proving smarter than men “across the board.” He said, “Men and women are so different, and the numbers are screaming off the page.” For instance:

  • Girls do better than boys all the way through school not only in the United States but throughout the world.
  • 58% of college graduates are women; 42% are men for whom admission standards are often “adjusted” to correct gender balance.
  • Currently, there are more women graduating from STEM programs than ever before, as well as more women succeeding in sports.
  • Their superior performance in those venues already equips them to replace men in leadership positions.
  • Significantly in the context of the worldwide COVID pandemic, women also deal with “free time” (idleness?) more creatively than men. Men who are idle typically start gambling, drinking, and doing drugs. Generally, they become anti-social. “There’s some part of each man,” Graumann pointed out, “that simply wants to go down into the basement, play video games and avoid the world.”
  • Women, on the other hand, prove “more adaptable than men” as job circumstances change. When unemployed, they are more likely, for example to return to school, go to church, or volunteer at a non-profit.
  • Women also show more wisdom in their tendencies to resist male corporate culture that places profits ahead of family welfare. Women are the ones most strongly pushing for generous programs of family leave. More than men, they also shy away from aberrations such as 80-hour workweeks as well as phone calls, texts, and e-mails outside of business hours because such practices interfere with family pursuits.
  • As Yang pointed out, women also make men live longer. Statistically, unmarried men will die about a decade sooner than their married counterparts. But marriage has no effect at all on women’s life spans.
  • And finally (I would add) let’s remember women don’t do mass shootings and are far less likely to rape (Ghislaine Maxwell notwithstanding), or to torture or commit atrocities in war.

Despite those blaring facts, men continue to dominate world politics. Industries, governments, police forces, and the military nonetheless remain male dominated in their leadership.

Women, of course, are aware of this and point out the need for “more female CEOs, partners and board members.”

Yang and Graumann agreed. But they also spent most of their discussion accounting for men’s fall from grace and wondering about saving men from reduction to second class status.

Men’s Failure Explained

As for explaining men’s decline, the podcast hosts offered predominantly economic explanations. They pointed out that:

  • Five million manufacturing jobs have been eliminated over the last 15-20 years.
  • Three quarters of those jobs were held by men.
  • According to Yahoo statistics, fully one-third of the male workforce is currently out of work or unemployed.
  • Job loss of this magnitude has led to massive increases in alcoholism, substance abuse, suicides, and overall despair.
  • Meanwhile women’s ascendancy has reduced men’s chances of assuming family leadership. Very often that’s because, disparity in college graduation rates means that an increasing number of college- educated women have difficulty finding similarly prepared marriage partners. So, many female graduates choose not to marry at all. And if they decide to have children, they frequently do so out-of-wedlock. The resulting female headed households often leave their growing boys without strong male role models. This causes the vicious cycle to continue.
  • Looking for explanations, disempowered men become susceptible to those offered by politicians and others who blame those with no responsibility at all such as immigrants, Muslims, liberals, and feminists.
  • All of this has had political consequences. Vote totals from 2020 show that Donald Trump won the votes of 66% of non-college-educated male voters who constitute 31% of voters in general. (This group represents the core of Trump’s base.)

A Pseudo-Solution

Despite their good intentions, the discussion between Yang and Graumann ended up sounding like many among liberal members of privileged classes whose hopelessly illusory goal is a “win/win” outcome where the oppressed class (in this case women) is able to advance without the privileged class (males) losing status or power.

The two hosts of “Andrew and Zach” even seemed to suggest that (while they considered themselves feminists) perhaps women should back off a little out of respect for men’s hurt feelings. 

As Graumann put it, while “the patriarchy has gone a little too far,” and “alpha men have gone a little too far,” the women’s movement seems to ignore the struggling and failures of male figures – unfairly blaming men (and not globalization) as the source of the problem.

This has the effect of sidelining men and boys is creating weak males out of touch with their masculinity. And with weak men we start to see more apathy and hatred, more destruction, more pornography, more alcohol, more “Me Too” incidents, more domestic violence, suicides, and drug overdoses. In primary schools and education where girls are dominating boys – “shellacking” them actually – there tragically remains the attitude that we have to do more for girls. And this even though boys are more likely to get suspended, more likely to drop out of school.

No, the two bro-discussants seemed to agree, balance needs to be restored; men need some affirmative action too – again in consideration for their hurt feelings and diminished status.

Hmm.

Conclusion

But what if patriarchy and alpha males have not gone “a little too far,” but A LOT TOO FAR – for thousands of years? Even more basically, what if the real problem is men themselves and their natural inferiority to women? Then, it would be a good thing that men are losing power – or in Graumann’s description, becoming “weaker?”

Once again, men have had their turn at leadership in the family, in politics, and in the world of work. And they’ve failed miserably. They’ve proven themselves weaker than women in fact. They’ve set the planet ablaze. They and the few women they allow to join them in imitating their ways actually see war and the risk of nuclear conflict as somehow acceptable solutions even to minor problems such as border disputes (e.g., in Ukraine) and economic competition (e.g., with China).

(By the way, that normalization of atomic warfare and planetary destruction, is proof enough of the general failure and stupidity of the male-dominated order. It’s unarguably criminal.)

What if it’s time to recognize thankfully (as Yang and Graumann showed) that girls and women usually don’t act like men? They have more of what our planet needs now. They’re generally smarter than men. They’re more empathetic. They’re more family oriented. They typically resist corporate culture with its emphasis on overwork. They’re naturally more in tune with the cycles of nature. They’re more generous with their free time. They’re less prone to resort to violence as a solution to problems.

In other words, it’s time for restitution. Except in some spiritual sense, win/win is impossible here. It’s time for men to recognize the truth and humbly assume subordinate positions. That’s because in the real world, reparations to women (or non-whites, indigenous peoples, or Mother Earth Herself) necessarily entail surrender by the privileged of their unearned status and benefits.

For men, this will often mean restitution and even subordination in the home and workplace, as well as in school, politics, church, and elsewhere. Put otherwise, restitution necessarily involves return of ill-gotten gains including in the realms of power, prestige, and profit.

As I said at the outset, and as Keb Mo put it so eloquently in his prophetic song, it’s time to “Put A Woman in Charge!”

That Gun in Men’s Pockets: Sexual Assault & Our Militarized Culture

Mae West

Recent furor around the sexual harassment of women by famous men has reminded me of the old Mae West tag, “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

It’s made me wish that all of us were as perceptive as Ms. West in implicitly connecting aggressive male sexuality and gun violence – especially in our militarized culture. Such sensitivity might help rid us of danger posed by real guns, which is far greater than “the boss” flashing or fondling his metaphorical counterpart in front of understandably shocked and repulsed female underlings.

In other words, I’m waiting for the day when the female-led sea-change we’re now witnessing around the gun in men’s pockets might attach itself to the weapons in their holsters and on missile launch pads. It would revolutionize our world. There mostly white misogynists currently shape not only Hollywood stories, news reporting, music, and comedy, but also our country’s domestic and foreign policy. There the male solution to everything seems to involve guns, bombing, and threats of violence.

Think about it: Both the gun referenced by Mae West and real guns are pretty strictly male things. Anatomically, women simply can’t exhibit the pocket gun. And strutting about with a Glock on their hips or an AK 47 on their shoulders seems fairly distant from most women’s reality. I find it hard to even imagine a mass shooting perpetrated by a woman. Has one ever occurred? (In fact, mass shooters tend to be white middle aged men with actual records of domestic abuse.)

Why this male fixation?

Feminist commentators as far back as the ‘70s had It figured out. They said that male exhibitionism and aggressiveness with that gun in their pockets isn’t really about sex. No: it’s about power.

After World War II, men resented the entry of women into the public sphere. Harassing them sexually was one way of putting them back in their place. “You don’t belong here; get out” was one message. Another was, “Unless you ‘put out’ for me, you won’t be hired or advanced.”

Both messages drove many women away or into jobs like teaching or nursing where female community was easier to find.

In other words, sexual harassment represented male response to female threat to their traditional territory and power.

Might something similar be said for men’s love affair with real guns – for their fascination with their size and power and capacity for multiple bursts? Is it a response to a world where women and other outsiders have entered white male bastions?

Consider the evidence provided by the most testosterone-soaked bastion of all, the U.S. military. There at least 25% of women report having been sexually assaulted; 80% say they have been sexually harassed. And, of course, rape of “enemy” women has long represented one of the spoils of war – including for U.S. servicemen. If they are so willing to sexually assault their colleagues, what do you think our soldiers do with enemy women?

The answer for all of this is a profound change of patriarchal systems designed to denigrate, harass, intimidate, silence, devalue and assault not only women, but anyone who threatens male privilege. The answer is for men to take the lead in betraying our fondest ideas of masculinity and our reliance on weapons to solve political problems. It is to deconstruct completely our misogynist culture.

That means imagining and crafting a world run by women – or at least where without harassment or assault, women are allowed to achieve proportional representation in national assemblies. In such a world, diplomacy, dialog, and compromise, would predictably represent the default diplomatic position rather than immediate resort to military hardware.

Simply put, our militarized patriarchy isn’t working on any level. Predatory masculinity has been exposed in the workplace. For those willing to see, the harmful failure of its martial equivalent also stands evident in the world at large.

Acknowledging that exposition and countering it with female energy would change everything.