National Commentary

Male Chauvinism In This Election

nfbenton-mugAs it has always been, so it has been as I’ve seen it since my emergence from graduate theological seminary as an adult political person in the height of the anti-war and civil rights ferment of the late 1960s, this U.S. presidential election and most of the critical issues facing the human race on this planet can be reduced to the problems of male chauvinism.

“Male chauvinist pigs,” as we called them back in the ‘60s, have not loosed their grip on power, attendant with all their swinishness, certainly since I began paying attention (and obviously dating back eons).

Of course, Donald Trump is the archetypal example, and he is almost cartoonish in his manifestation of this great social ill if it weren’t for the serious social consequences that his rise portends.

But the problem is far more pervasive, and will present one of the biggest challenges for the American electorate ever this November if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, no matter who she winds up running against.

There is something deeply, inwardly unsettling to the unenlightened male about a woman in power. This came into play against Clinton in the 2008 election, even if her rival in her own party has turned out to be extraordinary as president for two terms.

Fundamentally at its core, male chauvinism is a more intransigent problem even than those represented by all other forms of discrimination because its roots are so deeply personal. Every man, after all, spent the first nine months of his pre-birth gestation in the body of a woman.

No wonder there are issues for all the ones who grew up feeling wronged or neglected, and in the context of that, who were raised being told that to be worthy in this life, he had to bond with fellow males to subjugate the “opposite sex.”

Male chauvinism, or dominion, demands the internalization of racial and other forms of discrimination as a core element of male entitlement. It requires war-like games for its young males, and in our modern era, an entire culture based on adults playing, watching and obsessing over those games.

It is amazing how one of the most primitive forms of male dominion is played out on a football field, for example: The men are out on the field in pursuit of glory while on the sidelines in short dresses and pom-poms, the women cheer them on.

It is a horrible and regressive paradigm which holds true as an objective fact even if a number of women don’t happen to feel that way.

Do you see how essential it is to Donald Trump’s persona that he spent to much time crudely objectifying women on the air with Howard Stern, that he said horrible things about his one female GOP rival because of her “looks,” that he’s focused so much national attention on the size of his male organ, and so much more?

No wonder all this plays so well to the unenlightened, to those who’ve for decades, since the days when William S. Buckley invented the “Southern Strategy” for Nixon, have been played for suckers based on their racist proclivities.

As much as Christian fundamentalism was used as a battering ram against racial justice, so it has against the entitlement of women, and in its uglier manifestations forms the entire basis, astonishing at it may seem, for the Republican political agenda. No wonder it is so easy for Trump to consider himself as “Christian”!

Few have connected the horrors of the First World War to the post-war success of the Suffragette movement in the U.S. to achieve the right of women to the vote. It came in a brief time after that war’s unspeakable horrors when society caught a glimpse of the need for something truly profound to prevent such a travesty from happening again.

It was men who launched that war, who sent their own sons to die in it by the tens of millions. They, men, were the problem.

Needless to say, that sentiment didn’t last. Men worked overtime to denigrate “independent” women into silliness and eventually, after World War II, back to the hearth.