Saturday, January 19, 2019
The Club #282 - Masculinity -Toxic and Otherwise
“I do not believe in using women in combat, because females are too fierce.” - Margaret Mead
Hello all. Welcome back to The Disciplinary Couple’s Club. Our weekly meeting of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, Domestic Discipline relationships.
I hope you had a great week. It sure didn’t take long for me to break all those resolutions around health and reducing my consumption of politics, social media, etc. The changes I referenced at work continue to play out and have provided an unusually high number of temptations to over-indulge, though I have to own that the opportunities are just that – opportunities. The result in sinking back into 2018 behavioral patterns only when I rise to the occasion and take the opportunities when given. But, there still are several days in this opening month of 2019 for me to get my personal behavior under better control.
I had also hoped to de-emphasize my consumption of political content this year, if for no other reason that it just becomes too much. And, kind of a pointless too much. You look at the current government funding debate. I spend hours reading about something that I don’t have the slightest ability to influence, let alone control. Is that really a good use of time? It did, however, at least yield one interesting spanking reference in the popular press, which I would encourage you to take a look at. It isn’t often that you see an adult spanking reference in the headline of a piece in a major newspaper: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/opinion/sunday/dowd-nancy-pelosi-donald-trump.html.
Another media-driven distraction this week from a very unexpected source – Gillette’s television ad targeting “toxic masculinity.” From an advertising perspective, it seems like an incredibly dumb move. Lecturing and scolding your customers doesn’t seem like a really wise move if your goal is to make new sales, particularly when the people who are mostly likely to give you kudos for your approach likely already buy your product (men who support the Me/Too movement) or don’t have any need for your product (women who support the Me/Too movement). Alienating substantial portions of your entrenched customer base without doing much to appeal to a group you don’t already sell to just seems like a pretty stupid marketing move. Interestingly, the commenters are all over the map. One I found the most interesting was actually from the right, characterizing the ad as conveying an essentially conservative message. https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/gillette-ad-conservative-message-on-masculinity/.
I don’t quite buy that, but I will say that what I do personally find more than a little annoying about the advertisement is it characterizes a lot of behavior that is just flat-out bad as inherently male. I don’t buy that. Take the references to bullying. Is bullying really an inherently male phenomenon? Take a few minutes and google stories about teenage cyberbullying resulting in suicide. In many, many of the cases both the victim and perpetrators were girls. In fact, while girls are twice as likely to be the victim of cyberbullying, they also are twice as likely to be the perpetrator. https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/2336109/Marketing/Infographics/CyberbullyingAwarenessInfographic_Oct16.pdf. Think only men do bad or unethical things at work? One of the biggest corporate scandals of recent memory was the fraud perpetrated by the female founder of Theranos. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/health/theranos-elizabeth-holmes-fraud.html. Think only men are overly competitive in sports and other activities? Anyone remember Tonya Harding arranging for the kneecapping of Nancy Kerrigan? It’s true that men die earlier than women, often because of bad behavior, but the gap has closed as more and more women adopt those behaviors, including smoking and binge drinking. Part of the gap also is accounted for by men working more dangerous jobs with far higher mortality rates.
What does all this have to do with Domestic Discipline? A lot. Men who have a yearning to be disciplined may gravitate to this lifestyle specifically because they want help reining in their own bad behavior. Paradoxically, they may be afraid to ask their wives to help with that, specifically because they fear that admitting their desire will make them seem less masculine. And, they may be right in some cases. While I’m always surprised at how many otherwise vanilla women do seem open to DD when asked to do it and may quickly become downright enthusiastic about it, I also know women who stress that they “want a husband, not a little boy.” Conversely, something that changed my views on gender issues in DD was getting to know some women who are on the other side of the paddle. While some are natural submissives who are very into traditional gender roles, some are also more or less exactly like me: success oriented, driven people who stress themselves out precisely because they are so intense and driven and . . . well . . . Alpha or Type-A in their orientation.
What role do views on masculinity play in your DD relationship? Does being on the receiving end make you feel less masculine? For the wives, does being the “Top” in a DD relationship make you see your husband as any less (or perhaps more) masculine? Is polishing off some of his “toxic masculinity” a goal?