[I speak only one language - that of toxic masculinity. It isn’t mine.]
HETERO-MISOGYNY: FROM PENIS TO PHALLUS (AND BACK AGAIN?)
Being tough/stiff mean that, at its limits, phallus/penis will inflict pain. The more direct the need (not desire) to prove manself to woman, to prove manself using 'woman', the more it betrays our weakness, like a politically frail country authorizes an exceedingly violent border-police; it is an obsessive assertion of phallic contours, phallic de-finition. I will make sure to inflict pain, and thus be assured of my masculinity at least making an impression.
But should we really aim for this pathetic "least"? Is it not beneath our dignity?
The more insecure the masculinity, the more it needs this violence and pain to assure it of its presence and right. To assure its erection. It’s like being insecure about a girl, and solving it by making her jealous, thus becoming assured of her attraction to you: it is a torture device designed to yield reassuring signs (for my frail masculinity), but it does not communicate with this attraction at all, just parasitically ambushing it.
Hence, simply pointing to de facto women’s desire of “real men” (let’s say), to the fact that a kind of force or a kind of aggression are necessary on the part of the man in this dance of heterosexual desire, does not excuse, much less justify, its aforementioned, perverse form.
This force could operate, could still find avenues for action, in far more subtle ways.
Many heterosexual men today, if they stop to think about it, feel torn between these two shitty poles: the one, avoiding this force completely, resentfully unable or unknowing how to use it (so, a fortiori, they cannot and do not experiment with it); and the other is the aforementioned compulsion for “arousing pain” let’s say, which smells a lot like vengeance against women (which, power-wise, is reactive, not active; already admitting defeat).
In other words, we heterosexual men today feel torn between the stupidities of ‘incel’ and ‘alpha’.
The incel sees alpha entering into heterosexual relations from the outside, by definition. Not only an outside to the alpha as another person, but also the outside of masculine force/aggression altogether, which they are convinced is illegitimate tout court. Thus, they are incapable of assessing the character of these relations, their judgments devolving to the brute fact of alpha's "success" without asking if the couple is really happy together, can stand one another, can grow together, etc. The incel just remains in this traumatic/tragic position, blaming women for desiring "only alphas", while the incel's frail phallus becomes progressively poisoned by this cul-de-sac, slowly leading them to cultivate exceedingly violent fantasies (rape, usually), like the aforementioned border police violence. That is why they are so sensitive to women's rights movements - for they can only see this discourse as further delegitimizing and persecuting any aggressive energy on the man's side, thus sticking them deeper in the hole they are already in, and already resent.
The “alphas” are in the equally emotionally-indigent position of being the flipcoin of the incel. They share the same conflict surrounding the role of aggression - which, being an active force, will always has its blind-spots (but who said heterosexual desire should be completely "Enlightened"?) - and use it, consciously or unconsciously, to justify their own obsessive-aggressive “re-proving” of their masculinity. Usually, this forces them to forms of emotional self-lobotomy, which they feel, and also resent. And again, consciously or unconsciously, they blame this indigence on women.
This is not simply an ignorance to be resolved with better education; it is an impasse, a "stupidity" (to refer to Avital Ronnel's book/concept). What we, impoverished 21st Century women-desiring men need is a way to mature, to see where we can use this force to, say, lead her in a dance of seduction (that could lead to sexual intimacy): smaller capillaries of power-dynamics that are less visible and showable, less concerned with phallic definition than with the pleasure of heterosexual relation; rather than the clonk her (or all the other "competitor men" around) on the head and drag her to your rape-cave.
The fact that “alphas get laid and nice guys don’t” may be incontestable, maybe. I've had my share of having such observations myself (this stupidity is not limited to men alone, by the way). But even so, it can not be considered “women’s fault”. UNLESS you want to eliminate all possible roles of force/power - big and small, reciprocal and non-reciprocal - from heterosexual desire. It is not their fault for being attracted to the penis and its necessity of im-pressing, of acting, of entering into the relation. It is especially absurd when “nice guys” retract it completely, for their immature lack of understanding what to do with it, where and when their intimate experience with women might have deem it legitimate (but with no assurance; seduction is not an insurance racket).
And so, my sweet incel, you can’t use the alpha’s “success” as an excuse (for contemptuous/resentful treatment of heterosexual women) before being critical towards your own need for this success (as opposed to, say, the need for real intimacy, which must have a masculine form, somewhere…).
The paradox we face here, today, is that, for centuries upon centuries, masculinity was itself jailed in its privilege/duty to incarcerate women, to take and hold them, trade them as commodities (another insurance racket), by virtue of society’s patriarchal structures/conditions. These structures contorted masculine pride, which is not in itself illegitimate (far from it), to revolve around this – their own system – and not the actual man-woman interaction.
It feels to me that now, when heterosexual women possess more political power than before - when their "possession" is no longer assured/insured, can no longer be taken for granite (sic) - we have to transition, reorient, cultivate masculine pride. Being emotionally limited/autistic – which, in the past, was a common sign of patriarchal standing (the “Don Juans” used to be looked down upon by “gentlemen” precisely for their effeminate morals, speaking the language of women, thus sharing in their ‘honorless’ position) – no longer works as an appropriate metonym of our (oh-so-elusive) masculinity. It is no longer guaranteed by society, and so men begin to feel this self-violence more and more (which is why misogyny is on the rise - we still blame women for it).
The problem here, the deep impasse, is that this kind of contorted pride is hard to let go of, like an addiction. An addiction, except it is an addiction to a kind of “privilege” (though if you ask me everyone suffered from this structure); and it is (understandably and legitimately) hard to garner any sympathy for it, especially by its victims (i.e. heterosexual women). Like any addiction, it is toxic, it is killing the addict as well as hollowing-out his surrounding relations. And women, who are perhaps even bigger victims of this addiction, should not be resented their anger, and/or inability to sympathize with our predicament.
Any addict needs a supportive environment to heal, but can the victims of this addiction really be expected to support him? And can these victims really be blamed for wanting their own pain recognized and treated? ('Feminist' heterosexual women today are too easily blamed for the brutality and "hate" of their discourse; but the discursive poverty on this problem - which is another site of their victimization - necessitates they yelp and shout to at least get something across).
To paraphrase good ol' Ludwig W.: What we cannot speak (about), we must yell and stutter.
The trick is to find a way to attend this pain, and the other. That is the therapeutic paradox or ethical impasse I see in ‘heterosexuality’ today. I don’t think we need better role-models, or to be exposed to different examples of masculinity so as to direct ourselves there. The "metrosexual", castrated male is not a solution, just a sleeker, more normalized lobotomy of something that, I believe, is essential in heterosexual desire. If incel and alpha are the ugly grimaces of misogyny, then the metrosexual is surely its (toothless) smile.
Addicts do not have this luxury. Their way out is always only the way through.
What we need is some way of treating this addiction, rather than ignoring it, or vilifying the addicts. I truly believe that if we, heterosexual men, dedicate ourselves to attending this, our own pain, the pain of patriarchy's female victims will work itself out as well (women have been conscious of the minute details of this oppression for far longer).
Maybe it needs a couple of centuries as well - provided we didn't toxify the world so much that it can still support life.
In Part II, I will try to approach my incel's view on phallic definition in the context of proving manself to other men, and the role of aggression/pain rituals therein.
Opening frame composed of:
<Silhouette by mohamed mohamed mahmoud hassan (publicdomainpictures.net)>